As his plane descended on Beijing, where he spent six months as an undergraduate, Brian McDonald was shocked by the palpable layer of smog. Concerned about pollution and climate change, the Virginia native decided to pursue a doctorate in environmental engineering. An ARCS Foundation Scholar, Brian is combining his Ph.D. studies in engineering with a master’s program through the Goldman School of Public Policy. In his research at the university’s Transportation Sustainability Research Center, Brian is examining ways to measure and curb emissions in the movement of freight on California’s highways and evaluating the impact of state legislation on reducing greenhouse gases and improving air quality.
Now in his third year, Brian says the joint program in engineering and public policy ”is challenging, but I’m glad I’m in an environment where I can pull the two together. … Without the ARCS scholarship, I don’t know if I would have been able to add the public policy degree.”
Whether he teaches or goes into governmental service, Brian will examine “how engineering can inform public policy and environmental policy.”
— Janet Silver Ghent (Originally published in The Graduate, Spring 2011)