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Gianna O’Connor ’21 Selected to Present at “Posters on the Hill”

  • Gianna O’Connor ’21
Gianna O’Connor ’21, a senior double-major in Urban & Environmental Sustainability and Politics & Human Rights, was selected as one of 60 undergraduates from across the nation to present her research on the links between Covid-19 outcomes and environmental racism in New York City.

Posters on the Hill is a highly selective national conference sponsored by the Council for Undergraduate Research. This conference is attended by members of Congress, congressional staff members, and federal government officials on Capitol Hill.

At the conference, Gianna will present her research on “Quantitative Correlations of Severe Covid-19 Effects and Markers of Environmental Racism by New York City Neighborhood,” which she conducted in collaboration with Professor of Chemistry Alessandra Leri. Using publicly available environmental health and Covid-19 data, Gianna carried out a detailed statistical analysis of the correlations (and anti-correlations) between air pollution measurements and Covid-19 case and death rates in New York City. The result is a dataset that shows strong positive correlations of respiratory disease (asthma, COPD, etc.) and ozone pollution with Covid-19 cases and deaths. Gianna also uncovered a fascinating anti-correlation of an array of noxious air pollutants (nitrogen and sulfur oxides, particulate matter, and black carbon) with Covid-19 outcomes.

The Posters on the Hill conference will give Gianna the opportunity to interface with her congressional representatives and their staff to discuss the importance of federal funding for undergraduate student-faculty collaborative research in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). Congratulations, Gianna!