My name is Alysa Gauci. I'm from Foley, Alabama. I go to Auburn University where I am a BS Biosystems Engineering candidate.
What sustainability, energy, and community issues are important to you?
Being from Foley, Alabama, I had both the beach and the countryside very close to home. Constant passing of tractors on the way to school and cow pastures on the way home allowed my passion for agriculture to start at a young age. Before too long, I was questioning if there was a "better" way to do all the stuff I was seeing. Could we use less water? Why is there so much run off? I was interested in sustainability before I even knew the word. Specifically, there is much improvement within the agricultural industry including irrigation practices, waste management, and improvement in technology. With a growing population, there is an increasing stress on this industry to provide the materials that we need. Overall, it would be my dream to give back to an industry that has given so much to each of us daily while doing so using sustainable practices. When it comes to energy, my interest is in biofuels. This comes from partly my passion about agriculture but also from working around biofuels an processing at Auburn. It amazes me that we can take wood chips or other biomass and construct fuel out of a renewable resource. When it comes to the community, I would love to see more walkable communities. Being from a small town, there is typically a great amount of distance between the grocery store and the outskirts of town. Walkable communities support local business, lower emissions from traveling, and promote the true community feel which is why I feel they area great addition when possible!
What exciting projects/research are you working on now?
In August of 2016, I received the opportunity to be a student worker through the BSEN department. Mainly, I work alongside two research engineers while also working with others, such as agronomists, foresters, and extension agents on different projects. I have had numerous opportunities through this job. Currently, I am in the publication stages of my first research project: "Assessing the Geospatial Accuracy of Aerial Imagery Collected with Various UAS Platforms." In this study, we assessed the accuracy of four different drones, including a very common drone and a more research grade one. The results were interesting, yielding that if one using ground control points (points used to reference location when processing) that it showed little difference in error among all platforms. We are hoping to hear back soon from the reviewers. Our next study starting this summer will focus on the number of these ground control points needed to obtain accurate results.
What are your plans for the next five years?
Within the next year, I will be graduating with my B.S. degree in Biosystems Engineering with a minor of Sustainability Studies. After that is honestly in the air as of now. I plan to continue my education, either achieving a Masters or PhD after graduation. I would like to start my ideal career with the USDA as a research engineer in sustainable agricultural practices and improvements during the next five years as well.
What made you want to apply to SISE?
I love to travel, learn, and meet new people. When I heard about the opportunity to do all these AND travel to somewhere I have never been before, engage with people of similar interests, and learn more about sustainability, I could not resist applying!
What are you most looking forward to doing in Chicago?
Honestly, I am most looking forward to trying the pizza - deep dish, yum! Also, as someone who has not traveled much out of southern Alabama, I am excited to explore the city and see what Chicago has to offer!
Do you like Cats? If not, are you willing to learn to like cats?
I love cats! I am a huge animal lover.