This December I had the opportunity to present my research at the Society of Risk Analysis (SRA) Annual meeting, held this year in New Orleans, LA. SRA is an international society that serves as an interdisciplinary forum to discuss risk analysis and communication. Speakers came from public, private, and academic backgrounds and presented work on a wide range of topics; from climate change to infrastructure challenges to food availability for underrepresented groups. Each talk discussed different risks from varying perspectives. I found the diversity of the presentations interesting and engaging.
My work as a PhD student investigates the impacts of water conservation and water age on water quality within homes. I had the opportunity to present both a poster and an oral presentation at the conference. My talk described a preliminary model I created that estimates water age in a home based on data collected from several flowmeters in the home. My poster presentation summarized a case study comparing health risks of conventional and low‑flow showers and toilets. This case study followed a Quantitative Microbial Risk Assessment (QMRA) framework, which I learned at the QMRA Interdisciplinary Instructional Institute last summer.
It was exciting to share work I’ve become so passionate about. Everyone at the conference seemed genuinely interested in each other’s work. I received some interesting questions and helpful feedback that I hope will help guide the next steps of my research.
After the conference, I spent two days exploring New Orleans. I saw a few parades, a serene sculpture garden, an amazing light show, and ate the best po’ boy in NOLA (at least according to my Lyft driver). I was surprised to see that the city is still coping with rebuilding efforts after Hurricane Katrina.
This trip was a great experience for me, both personally and professionally. Presenting my work to peers is intimidating, but I’m feeling much more confident in myself and my work after all the helpful feedback and encouragement I received at SRA.
Thanks to the ESPP conference travel program for helping to make this trip a reality!
Ryan Julien is a doctoral student in Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering with a Dual Major in Environmental Science and Policy. For information on the ESPP Interdisciplinary Conference Travel Grants, please go to http://espp.msu.edu/education/travelfunds_2018_final.pdf