Meet Tasnim Zaman

Tasnim Zaman is a fourth-year Ph.D. candidate in Environmental Engineering and the Public Relations Director of the John Lof Leadership Academy. She informs members about the workshops and does public outreach for John Lof. She also keeps meeting minutes.

Zaman has a unique background suited for her position at John Lof. After BUET, she worked as a sector specialist at the nonprofit organization BRAC. BRAC offers assistance to the poor and those ravaged by climate disasters through micro-loans among other things. 

“We go to very rural areas like the coast and talk to people about how they’re suffering due to storm salinity, flooding, etc. You have to utilize each penny of the donations for the benefit of those people who actually need those donations and properly manage resources,” said Zaman.

As part of her research, Zaman is looking to improve the effectiveness of renewable wind farms using high-quality weather data and prediction.

If the air models have detailed information about factors playing into weather like atmospheric stability and temperature changes, then weather patterns can be better explained. In the long term, climate change may decrease wind in the Northeast. That can have a broad impact on wind farms.

Zaman’s advocacy for climate change research stems from her home country, Bangladesh. Extreme weather like floods and hurricanes ravage communities there. Her father also worked at a nonprofit gathering donation for those impacted by storms on the coast.

This inspired her to choose to pursue Water Resources Engineering at the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology. In the program, they were taught about structures made over bodies of water and flood management.

She also used this time to look for a Ph.D. program, wanting to continue her research on weather prediction. Zaman had attended a program at the University of Queensland on predicting weather calamities before they strike. 

After this, she came into contact with Civil and Environmental Engineering Professor Marina Astitha. Zaman became part of the Atmospheric and Air Quality Modeling Group and started to present at conferences like WISER and the Clean Energy Conference.

“Since these conferences had people from industry, labs, and other professions, I don’t use much scientific jargon. We usually focus more on the methodology like how we are doing the research or fixing errors, but in these conferences, you really want to focus on the results and its applicability to the real world,” said Zaman.

At UConn, she heard about John Lof through her roommate and email advertisements. It was during the peak of the pandemic. Zaman wanted to push herself to network more. It turns out that her favorite workshop was related to networking.

By joining John Lof, she also got to know how other people go about their PhDs and what programs they apply to. 

“That motivated me to apply for the graduate visiting program in the National Center for Atmospheric. Last week, I got their confirmation email that I was selected. When I was applying for that position, they asked me about my leadership perspective, and how I interact with the public. I could explain it based on my experience from John Lof,” said Zaman.