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Amgen Scholars: Announcements of Opportunity

Below are Announcements of Opportunity posted by Caltech faculty for the Amgen Scholars program.

Announcements of Opportunity are posted as they are received. Please check back regularly for new AO submissions! Remember: This is just one way that you can go about identifying a suitable project and/or mentor. For additional tips on identifying a mentor click here.

Please remember:

  • Students pursuing Amgen must be U.S. citizens, U.S. permanent residents, or students with DACA status.
  • Students pursuing Amgen must complete the 10-week program from June 18 - August 23, 2024. Students must commit to these dates. No exceptions will be made.
  • Accepted students must live in provided Caltech housing.

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Project:  Effects of alpine terrain on diurnal, monthly, and seasonally varying reservoir surface winds in Lake Arrowhead, California as a case study
Disciplines:  Engineering and Applied Science, Physics, CS, Mathematics
Mentor:  David James, Professor, (EAS),, Phone: 702-895-5804
Mentor URL:  (opens in new window)
Background:  NOTE: This project is being offered by a Caltech alum and is open only to Caltech students. The project will be conducted at University of Nevada, Las Vegas, in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Estimation of mixing of hypothetical trace contaminants is of increased importance in lakes and reservoirs as managers consider augmentation of their supplies with alternative water sources, including recycled water, a process called surface water augmentation via indirect potable reuse (SWA-IPR). UNLV in 2021 completed a Bureau of Reclamation-funded tracer and hydrodynamic modeling SWA-IPR guidance manual for lake and utility operators using Lake Arrowhead in the San Bernardino mountains as a hypothetical case study.

UNLV’s current Reclamation follow-on project at Lake Arrowhead addresses effects of alpine terrain on measured and computed wind fields that affect reservoir water velocities. UNLV operates 10 lakeshore weather stations intended to provide data inputs to two wind field computational models and two wind field interpolation models. Of particular interest is determining which of the four modeling methods provides the greatest accuracy in wind field prediction compared to input effort and cost (number of wind stations needed).
Description:  Work with Dr. James and the two co-mentors, (a graduate student and a post-doc) to:
(1) learn how to operate both commercial wind terrain models (Meteodyn WT and WindSim 12) and the two intepolation methods (inverse square distance and kriging) then
(2) incorporate new input data in the models for different months and weather types then
(3) run the models to obtain new output,
(4) graphically plot contour maps using ArcMap or ArcGIS
and if time allows
(5) set up gridded lake surface wind field files that can serve as input to the existing hydrodynamic model for the lake

Work environment: From an 8-core 3.6 GHz Xeon desktop workstation in SEB office 3250 student would remote log in to the two servers to access the data and operate the models, generate data and then plot results. Student is invited to also visit the Lake Arrowhead field project site once in the summer to participate in data download and station maintenance.
Student Requirements:  Preferred but can teach
1. Computational background in numerical methods
2. Completion of one fluid mechanics course or
3. Prior experience in plotting large numerical data sets. Computer language skills not required, but logical thinking about effects of inputs on computer outputs helpful
Programs:  This AO can be done under the following programs:

  Program    Available To
       SURF    Caltech students only 

Click on a program name for program info and application requirements.

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