Symposium continues with May’s presentation on improving air quality measurements

01/17/2020 ASHLAND, Ohio -- Dr. Andrew May, assistant professor in the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geodetic Engineering at The Ohio State University, will present details about his work in improving the measurements of local air quality on Thursday, Jan. 23 at 7:30 p.m. in Ronk Lecture Hall of the Ashland University Schar College of Education.

The event is presented as part of the Environmental Lecture Series and the College of Arts & Sciences' biennial Symposium Against Indifference, both of which are focusing on the theme of "Liberty and Responsibility." The event is free and open to the public.

Across the U.S., air pollutants regulated under the Clean Air Act are monitoring at fixed-location sites and based on these measurements, the majority of the country does not experience air quality issues. However, these measurement sites may be sparsely distributed through space. May will discuss two of his projects that seek to address this issue by providing data with improved spatial resolution using low-cost sensors in areas where people live, work and play. 

These projects include deploying sensors on a transit bus to provide regular, repeated measurements in an urban environment and collaborating with high schools near Columbus to establish a network of sensors throughout the local community. Improved spatial resolution can provide better estimates of localized air pollutant concentrations and better protect children, the elderly and other groups who may be more sensitive to poor air quality.

May holds a doctorate in mechanical engineering from Carnegie Mellon University, an master of science in civil and environmental engineering from Clarkson University, and a bachelor’s of engineering in chemical engineering from the University of Delaware. Subsequent to his Ph.D, he was a post-doctoral researcher in the Department of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University. May’s research has two main focus areas: emission, fate, and transport of atmospheric pollutants and indoor environmental quality. These efforts include both laboratory and field studies, as well as computational approaches. He also has on-going collaborations with three high schools in central Ohio that enable students to collect localized air quality data using low-cost sensors.

The College of Arts and Sciences at Ashland University inaugurated the Symposium Against Indifference in 2001 as a biennial series of events and lectures dedicated to overcoming apathy in the face of human concerns by raising awareness and promoting compassionate engagement. The Symposium seeks to challenge the University community — as well as the wider Ashland community — toward a deeper understanding of difficult issues and toward creative personal and corporate responses.

The University's Environmental Lecture Series specifically focused this year's programming to complement the Symposium Against Indifference's "Liberty and Responsibility" theme by organizing a series of events encompassing a diverse set of discussions across disciplines to focus on "Environmental laws and Ohio wildlife, natural resources and quality of life."  The goal of this year’s Environmental Lecture Series is to engage with this theme through examples of the
application of Ohio’s environmental laws and policies.  

Fifty years ago on Jan. 1, 1970, President Nixon signed into law the National Environmental Policy Act. Later that year, Nixon ordered the establishment of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, with responsibility for maintaining and enforcing national standards under a variety of environmental laws. Nixon signed other laws focused on environmental health, including the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, and the Endangered Species Act. This began a nearly six-decade period in which U.S. citizens were expected to take more responsibility for their actions in the natural environment. Over this same time period, some individuals and communities objected to new restrictions on liberty with respect to use of natural areas. This tension remains for many examples of both national laws and local policies.  

Support for the Environmental Lecture Series is provided by a grant from the National Science Foundation, donations from individuals and additional support from Ashland University.

For more information about these two programs, visit,, or contact Tricia Applegate, coordinator of CAS communications at or 419.289.5950.

Ashland University is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University (www.ashland.eduvalues the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong, applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students.###