Amrita Punnavajhala, recipient of the 2021 Mehta-Jenner Climate Change Mitigation Graduate scholarship, plans to research coupled social climate models – math models that describe two-way relationships between human behaviour and climate change trajectories.
The Mehta-Jenner Climate Change Mitigation Graduate scholarship was established by graduates Adarsh Mehta (BMath ’98) and Jeffrey Jenner (BMath ’84) to recognize and support female students with a passion for the environment. The scholarship is awarded to those whose research inspires positive change, benefiting communities and the planet. Amrita won $10,000, which will allow her to carry out her research on climate change and inspire societal change.
“Climate change to me, is important and relevant. Before COVID-19, climate change was the one thing that really worried me, and I wanted to be able to do something about it through my research.”
With the use of differential equations, Amrita, an applied mathematics master's student, will create new social-climate models that consider the changes and influences of human behaviour. Amrita's models differ from current social-climate models in that they account for variations in human behaviour due to demographic and cultural differences.
Amrita’s passion for climate change stems from her mother, who works in the environment and sustainability field. She hopes to discover useful information that could influence policy changes while conducting her research. Amrita urges readers to “do something about climate change, don’t ignore it.” Amrita is excited to start her research and see what she discovers. Hoping to spark sustainable environmental changes.