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University of Iowa News Release

June 22, 2006

Two Engineering Doctoral Candidates Receive NASA Earth Science Fellowships

Two graduate students in the University of Iowa College of Engineering have received three-year, $24,000 NASA Earth Systems Science Fellowships. Elliott Campbell of Santa Cruz, Calif., and Gabriele Villarini of Rome, Italy, are among 55 fellowship winners selected from a nationwide pool of 181 applicants.

Campbell (left) is a doctoral candidate in civil and environmental engineering. Using state-of-the-art computer models developed at the University of Iowa's Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research (CGRER), he studies the exchange of carbon dioxide between the Earth's surface and the atmosphere.

"If we can understand this exchange, then we can make effective plans for global warming," he said.

Campbell, who received the fellowship in part because he tunes the computer models with environmental data taken from NASA satellites and aircraft, said he is grateful for the fellowship award. "This is an opportunity to interact with NASA scientists at the NASA Research Center," he said. "But the main thing it means is recognition for me, the group I work with and the University of Iowa."

Campbell works closely with his co-advisers Charles Stanier, assistant professor of chemical and biochemical engineering, and Jerald Schnoor, professor of civil and environmental engineering, along with Greg Carmichael, associate dean of chemical and biochemical engineering. Schnoor and Carmichael co-direct CGRER.

Villarini (right), a doctoral candidate in civil and environmental engineering, researches rainfall estimates by using remote sensors, including radar and satellite sensors. He says that his estimates are affected by large uncertainties, phenomena that he is interested in investigation and modeling.

"My research is about the modeling and the propagation of these uncertainties in all of those models in which remotely-sensed rainfall estimates are used as input," Villarini said.

Villarini said he is fortunate and proud to receive the fellowship, since it is one of only a few available for international graduate students. Villarini is advised by Witold Krajewski, the Rose and Joseph Summers Chair in Water Resources Engineering, professor of civil and environmental engineering and research engineer at IIHR-Hydroscience & Engineering.

The NASA Earth Systems Science Fellowship targets students pursuing graduate degrees in fields supporting the study of the Earth as a system. Applications for research on climate and hydrologic systems, ecological systems and dynamics, biogeochemical dynamics, solid Earth processes, human interactions, solar influences and data and information systems are considered for the award.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Gary Galluzzo, 319-384-0009,; Writer: Kelli Andresen