Fulbright Visiting Student joins Appalachian Laboratory

October 18, 2023

Mihaela Borota, a Fulbright Visiting Student Researcher from Romania, recently joined the research team led by Dr. Keith Eshleman at the Appalachian Laboratory of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science.

Administered by the US Department of State, Fulbright programs provide opportunities for Americans to teach, study or research abroad and for participants from other countries to do the same in the United States.

Fulbright Visiting Student Researchers like Borota are doctoral students who spend six to ten months in the United States engaging in full-time research with a faculty member they select. In Borota’s case, she identified Eshleman as a faculty member of interest after reading some of his published journal articles as part of her master’s work.

“After reading his work, I’m very excited to have the chance to be working with Dr. Eshleman in person,” said Borota.

“As an undergraduate, I found that I did not really enjoy lab work, but I did like mathematical modeling. While working on my masters I helped calibrate a model used in a river project and discovered I really liked ecological modeling,” she added.

Ecological modeling involves the use of data and mathematics to build models that analyze or simulate complex ecological processes. Such models help researchers understand these complex processes and enable them to make predictions about how such processes may function under different conditions in the natural world.  

During her time at the Laboratory, Borota, who is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from Babes-Bolyai University in Romania, will be assisting Eshleman in the use of ecological modeling to improve our understanding of watershed processes related to stormwater runoff and to test the efficiency of current stormwater management practices.

 “We’re thrilled to have Mihaela as part of the team. Her experience with data modeling brings a new dimension to our work in the watershed and allows us to explore watershed processes in a much deeper way,” said Eshleman. “It was an honor to be selected as her faculty mentor during her Fulbright year.”

Since joining the Laboratory in September, Borota has adjusted quickly to her new home in the United States.

“The geography here is very similar to home, and I grew up in a very similarly sized town,” said Borota. “I really love and enjoy the nature here, too.”

Borota will be working with Eshleman until May 2024. To learn more about Dr. Keith Eshleman’s research visit www.umces.edu/keith-eshleman.