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Coming to us from Chanhassen, Minnesota, Lauren Deanes was a sophomore at the University of Wisconsin-Madison studying Atmospheric and Ocean Sciences. Her research interests are atmospheric chemistry, radar meteorology and climate.

Lauren worked under the guidance of Professor Jeff Collett to identify potentially harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the Fort Collins, Colorado area.

Lauren notes that air quality is important because of its direct effect on people's quality of life. Specifically, VOCs are a point of focus in the discussion of air quality. VOCs are compounds which contain carbon and are found as gases due to their low boiling points. VOCs also have the potential to be very harmful. For example, Benzene, Toluene, Ethylbenzene, and Xylenes (BTEX compounds) have been shown to increase rates of cancer with excessive exposure to these compounds.

According to the EPA, "[n]o standards have been set for VOCs in non industrial settings". For this reason, it is imperative that outdoor VOC levels be investigated. The purpose of Lauren's study was to determine the amounts of some harmful VOCs in outdoor settings in and around Fort Collins, CO.



Lauren's summer research poster is here: Potentially harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the Fort Collins, Colorado area.

Outside of school, Lauren enjoys singing, dancing and running. She, along with her fellow CMMAP summer interns, had a great time hiking and exploring the Colorado outdoors while she was here.