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Mary Kang

RELP Cohort: 2015

Mary Kang is a postdoctoral researcher investigating water, climate, and energy problems in Environmental Earth System Science with Robert Jackson. She is studying methane emissions from abandoned oil and gas wells and working on strategies for mitigating greenhouse gas emissions from faults and abandoned wells.

Her Ph.D. dissertation, CO2, methane, and brine leakage through subsurface pathways: Exploring modeling, measurement, and policy options, presents research applicable to geologic storage of CO2 and fluid leakage through faults and abandoned oil and gas wells. She developed a multi-scale modeling framework for two-phase leakage through faults combining analytical and numerical methods. She then expanded her research to include analysis of environment, climate, and policy implications of oil and gas development. She investigated policies related to methane emissions in China for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and initiated a field program to determine methane emissions from abandoned oil and gas wells. Her measurements of abandoned oil and gas wells, an unaccounted source of methane emissions, show that methane emissions from these wells may be 4-7% of annual anthropogenic methane emissions in Pennsylvania.

Mary has been actively involved in numerous extracurricular activities and served as: Academic Affairs Committee Chairperson and executive member of the Graduate Student Government at Princeton Univeresity, student committee chairperson of the Princeton Energy and Climate Scholars, selected participant for the Future Leaders Conference by the South Korean Embassy, selected delegate speaker at OneYoungWorld (an international forum for young leaders), co-organizer for a side event at Rio+20 (UN Conference on Sustainable Development), and co-founder of the Inter-university Student Initiative in Carbon Sequestration.

Mary received a Ph.D. in Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) from Princeton University funded through a scholarship from the National Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and a fellowship from the Princeton Environmental Institute. She also received a certificate from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs as a Perkins Fellow. During her Ph.D., she also spent a semester in Applied Mathematics at the University of Bergen. She holds a M.A.Sc. and a B.A.Sc. in CEE from the University of Waterloo and was awarded numerous scholarships including another NSERC scholarship, the University of Waterloos Presidents Graduate Scholarship and Faculty of Engineering Scholarship. Between her time at Waterloo and Princeton, she worked as a water resources engineer based out of Reston, VA.