During the COVID-19 pandemic, Ileana Callejas ’18, M.S. ’19 kept busy studying how the sudden drop in tourism was affecting the waters off the coast of Belize. Callejas is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in environmental engineering at the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering.

“Ironically, the pandemic provided a rare opportunity to study the environment without the effects of human travel,” said Callejas, whose advisor is Jennifer Jay, a professor and vice chair of graduate education in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department. “Belize’s coral reefs bring lots of tourism to the country, but their citizens also have to consider how much travel and development affect the clear water that corals need to survive. Without tourists coming after Belize’s shutdown, there was an opportunity to study how less boat activity affects the clarity of their coastal waters.”

Read the full article: First-Gen Latinx Engineering Ph.D. Student Leads Research on Water Quality in Belize