william julstrom

“My role at the Iowa Technology Institute has opened up many unexpected career opportunities so quickly.”

Hometown: Johnston, Iowa

Year: Junior

Program: Chemical Engineering

Mission Areas: Environment and EnergySystems and Sensors

Lab: Atmospheric and Environmental Research Lab

Advisor: Jun Wang, James E. Ashton Professorship in Engineering, professor of chemical and biochemical engineering

What do you do at the University of Iowa? 
I am a chemical engineering major at the University of Iowa, and within the Iowa Technology Institute, I work as an undergraduate researcher. I am currently doing research on pyrocumulonimbus clouds with Dr. David Peterson at the Naval Research Lab (NRL).

What do you work on and what do you enjoy most about your work? 

Currently my work is with the NRL and involves pyrocumulonimbus events, or fire-driven thunderstorms. These events can sometimes inject smoke aerosols to extreme heights, all the way into the stratosphere. My job is to use satellite data to figure out whether a given pyrocumulonimbus in 2017 injected these aerosols into the stratosphere or not. My favorite part about this is that it is the first time any real comprehensive study has been done on these events' stratospheric injection. Since I have not had prior research experience, it is fulfilling to uncover data that no one has ever looked at before.

What are your goals for the future? What do you hope to be doing professionally in 10 years?

I hope to pursue a master’s degree, if not a PhD, in the future. In 10 years, I hope to be an atmospheric researcher at NASA. A pipe dream of mine is to someday do remote sensing work with NASA on other planets or moons like Mars or Titan.