Joe Schlosser is among the first University of Arizona undergraduates to double-major in chemical engineering and environmental engineering -- and he’ll be the first CHEE student in recent history to graduate with a first authorship, for a 2017 paper on wildfire emissions.
Joe Schlosser didn’t grow up planning a life where he would be published in a well-known scientific journal before he completed his undergraduate degree. Even as a high school graduate, Schlosser had no inkling that he would be involved in environmental studies. He trained to be a paramedic after high school and has continued to work as one for the past five years.
“You get to a point as a paramedic where you stop learning,” he said. “And I always want the knowledge gained from solving more problems.”
In search of that knowledge, Schlosser enrolled in fall 2014 as a student at the UA, where he will earn bachelor’s degrees in both chemical engineering and the new environmental engineering program in May 2018. He joined a team of graduate students advised by professor Armin Sorooshian, and began to study the various aerosols caused by the burning of different types of wood, such as those that might get caught in wildfires.
Schlosser became the lead author on an article published in the Journal of Geophysical Research on Aug. 11, 2017, titled Analysis of Aerosol Composition Data for Western United States Wildfires Between 2005-2015: Dust Emissions, Chloride Depletion, and Most Enhanced Aerosol Constituents. The authors believe the results of this study will be useful for forecasting the transport pathways of biomass-burning emissions and their effects on regional climate, air quality and public health.
“I found out it was officially going to be published when I was driving,” Schlosser said. He managed to contain his excitement and keep his focus on the road.
Balancing work and school schedules sometimes leads him to forget little things such as eating, so he tries his best to focus on maintaining a healthy lifestyle when not in a lab or on the job.
“I like being outdoors and exercising,” Schlosser said. “I recently took up salsa dancing, but it’s really difficult and I’m not very good.”
He hopes being published as an undergraduate will help him get into a good graduate school, but is also proud of the fact that his research will be useful for further investigation into the growing problem of wildfires.
“I just want to help people,” he said. “I’ve wanted to help people for as long as I can remember.”
This article was contributed by Kennedy Munter.