Honors College Junior Maxim Coulliard Wins Presidential Award for Undergraduate Research

Maxim Coulliard holds a weather balloon outside beside two other researchers
Maxim Coulliard holds a weather balloon outside beside two other researchers.

Honors College junior Maxim Coulliard has been selected as a recipient of the 2020-2021 Presidential Award for Undergraduate Research at the University at Albany, for his research paper, Vertical Profiles of Ozone Concentrations in the Lower Troposphere Downwind of New York City during LISTOS 2018-2019.

This important University-wide competitive award is established to recognize undergraduate research and scholarship. Recipients receive a certificate and plaque to commemorate this honor.

Maxim is an Atmospheric Science major and Mathematics minor.

He participated in the Long Island Sound Tropospheric Ozone Study (LISTOS) from 2019 to 2021, analyzing a multi-year data set of balloon launches on Long Island with the goal of better understanding air pollution transport around the New York City metropolitan area. His research paper was supervised by Janie Schwab and Dr. James Schwab of the Atmospheric Science Research Center (ASRC).

Ground-level ozone pollution is a persistent threat to public health in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic United States. Ozone formation is a complicated chemical process and understanding the meteorology behind high impact events is important in forecasting and studying unhealthy air quality days.

The study identified general patterns that led to high ozone events as well as specific case studies. Maxim analyzed case studies where unusually high levels of pollution were measured to deduce the meteorology that led to these events. He used data from plane flights, balloon launches, LiDARs (radar with lasers) and back trajectory models. Interesting small-scale circulations were discovered that are not picked up on in current models.

The end goal of the study was to help scientists, regulators and policymakers understand and “control” the conditions that lead to hazardous breathing conditions around NYC. Maxim will present his award-winning research project at the 18th Annual Student Conference on Friday, April 23, 2021.

Aside from being an atmospheric science scholar, Maxim is also an avid musician. You can see videos of Maxim's musical performances on his YouTube Channel, MoviesbyMaxim.