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Your Environment. Your Health.

Air Pollution Monitoring Turns Students into Citizen Scientists

Partnerships for Environmental Public Education (PEPH)

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Smiling young students walking with their monitors in hand

Air Pollution Monitoring Turns Students into Citizen Scientists

February 15, 2022

Interviewee: Jessa Ellenburg

In this episode, we’ll hear from Jessa Ellenburg, director of educational outreach at 2B Technologies. Ellenburg talks about why it’s important to get students and communities involved in citizen science and shares lessons learned from her more than 10 years in science education and outreach.

(Photo courtesy of Lisa Patchem)

Air Pollution Monitoring Turns Students into Citizen Scientists

New tools make it easier for students and community members to become citizen scientists by collecting and analyzing meaningful data about what's in their environment. Learning about environmental issues through citizen science can spur student interest in scientific careers, strengthen their environmental health literacy, and help communities identify and act on environmental justice issues. Researchers also benefit from the data and local knowledge that citizen scientists contribute to the research process.

Funded through the NIEHS Small Business Program, 2B Technologies developed a citizen science and education program called AQTreks. Through the program, students and other community members air pollutants in their neighborhoods using personal air monitors. Students can view their measurements in real-time and analyze the data back in the classroom.

In this episode we’ll hear from Jessa Ellenburg, director of educational outreach at 2B Technologies. Ellenburg talks about why it’s important to get students and communities involved in citizen science and shares lessons learned from her more than 10 years in science education and outreach.

Interviewee: Jessa Ellenburg

Jessa Ellenburg

Jessa Ellenburg is the director of educational outreach at 2B Technologies where she develops and refines projects to get students involved in air pollution monitoring and data sharing. Before joining 2B Technologies in 2009, Ellenburg earned a degree in civil engineering at the University of Colorado, Boulder and spent several years as a bridge engineer. Ellenburg is a registered Professional Engineer.

Resources:

  • Read a February 2021 Environmental Factor article highlighting AQTreks and other programs developed by 2B Technologies.
  • Check out slides from a 2017 PEPH webinar featuring Ellenburg in which speakers discussed approaches to engage students in environmental health.
  • Learn how NIEHS supports small businesses developing technologies to detect, test, and remove pollutants in the environment and improve understanding of environmental health science concepts.

Relevant References:

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