Iyonsi Gained Summer Intense Lab Experience and Mentorship

EPSCoR Update - December 2023 


Iyonsi Gained Summer Intense Lab Experience and Mentorship

Eddy Iyonsi, a junior and major in Geology with a minor in Geospatial Information Science at Oklahoma State University (OSU), was one of the four undergraduate students awarded with an Intense Laboratory Experience and Mentorship grant through the Oklahoma NSF EPSCoR program Track-1 project “Socially Sustainable Solutions for Water, Carbon, and Infrastructure Resilience in Oklahoma (S3OK)” this past summer. The award provided a research opportunity for Mr. Iyonsi to work in the lab of Dr. Yuting Zhou, who is an assistant professor in the Department of Geography at OSU and is a researcher of the current S3OK project.

Iyonsi together with his research mentor, Dr. Zhou, investigated to understand people’s awareness of drought in the U.S. using the Google Trends data and the U.S. Drought Monitor (USDM) data. Researchers determined a) how severe/long the drought must be before people start paying attention to it?, b) when will people stop paying attention to drought and why?, and c) what are the spatial variations of people’s attention to drought and the driving factors?

“We downloaded Daily Google Trends data using the Pytrends API and aggravated the daily to weekly scale in R to reduce noises to match the temporal resolution of USDM data. We used the distributed lag non-linear models (DLNMs) to analyze the relationships between drought awareness as reflected by Google Trends data and the physical impacts of drought as reflected by areas and population affected by droughts,” Zhou said.

“We found that population other than areas affected by droughts is playing a more significant role in correlating with drought awareness. There is a one-month lag in people's attention to extreme droughts and their awareness surged once the population affected by severe drought exceeded 3%,” Iyonsi said.

“We also found that there are clear spatial variations in people's perceptions of drought such as in CA and TX. We plan to do more statistical analysis to explain these variations,” Zhou added.

“Initially, we designed the project to focus on large areas. Several factors could affect the relationships between drought awareness and the physical impacts of drought. So, we started thinking about surveying people’s perception about drought in different regions in Oklahoma. We have designed a questionnaire using Survey123 and are waiting for the IRB approval for the survey. A more localized and detailed analysis will help us better understand the drivers for people’s perception about drought,” Zhou said.

“The summer research internship was an invaluable opportunity for me to do hands-on research. I gained proficiency in data analysis using R, learned how to conduct literature review, and learned to develop a survey using Survey123. My research experience did not only expand my appreciation of research, but also motivated me to pursue research opportunities in this field,” Iyonsi said.


Funding for the ILEM project was provided by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. OIA-1946093 through OK NSF EPSCoR.