Megan Coffer




Awards and Recognition




I am a postdoctoral ORISE fellow at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Office of Research and Development. I work under the guidance of Dr. Blake Schaeffer. My research uses satellite remote sensing data to assess water quality. Part of this work focuses on tracking the status of cyanobacterial blooms in inland waterbodies across the continental United States. This research is part of the Cyanobacteria Assessment Network, or CyAN, which is an interagency research effort between the U.S. EPA, USGS, NASA, and NOAA. My contributions to this research project include analyzing the frequency of cyanobacterial blooms, quantifying their impacts on drinking water intakes, and assessing the regional timing of peak cyanobacterial blooms. I also use high spatial resolution commercial satellite imagery to identify seagrass extent and estimate carbon storage in these ecosystems in collaboration with Old Dominion University.

I received my PhD in Geospatial Analytics from North Carolina State University in Spring 2021 under the guidance of Dr. Helena Mitasova. During my time as a PhD student, I worked as a post-Master’s ORISE fellow in the same research lab at the U.S. EPA. My research focused on leveraged various satellite remote sensing technologies for studying inland and coastal aquatic environments. This work has been published in Remote Sensing of Environment and Ecological Indicators.

Before beginning as an ORISE fellow, I received my Master’s of Science in Atmoshperic Science from NC State University under the guidance of Dr. Erin Hestir. My Master’s thesis used micrometeorological flux tower data coupled with climate data and satellite remote sensing data to investigate variability in carbon dioxide exchange across Arctic wetlands. This work was published in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences.

In 2015, I received my Bachelor’s of Science in Mathematics with minors in Statistics and Psychology from Meredith College. During my junior and senior years at Meredith College, I worked as an undergraduate research assistant in the Department of Marine, Earth and Atmospheric Science at NC State University. Our research project used remotely operated weather radars to track thunderstorms in the Colorado foothills in an effort to develop a more informative model of thunderstorm structure.

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