Molly O’Connor receives thesis prize

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Graduating CEE major and long-time group member Molly O’Connor has been awarded the 2011 Christine Traml Prize.

Congratulations, Molly!

Molly in a tree The 2011 Christine Trmal Prize has been awarded to group member Molly O’Connor. This award goes to the student in each year’s graduating class who has demonstrated excellence in academic studies and who has also written an outstanding thesis in Environmental Engineering. Molly’s thesis was titled “Wind Induced Tree Sways in a Sparse Acacia drepanolobiumCanopy”. The thesis explored the interactions between wind, herbivores, Acacias, and their host ant mutualists. Molly also graduated with High Honors and was elected into Sigma Xi, the international honor society which recognizes excellence in research in science and engineering.




Though unofficial, we also believe Molly would win the award for having the highest number of her pictures in Princeton University promotional literature regarding undergraduate internships and international research experiences.


Finally – and the best news of all from the perspective of the group – Molly is joining us for a year internship in Kenya, where she will continue to explore issues related to turbulence and vegetation while taking leadership on the operation and maintenance of our flux tower at the Mpala Research Center.


Oh, and here’s a figure from Molly’s thesis where she demonstrates how the total peak energy and amplitude of branch and stem vibrations depend on mean horizontal wind speed incident on an individual tree canopy… Good stuff!

Thesis Figure