Lavanya Upadhyaya

Lavanya Upadhyaya is a junior pursuing a dual degree in Engineering Physics, with a concentration in Nuclear Engineering, and Statistics. She is also pursuing a minor in Mathematics and a certificate in Data Science and Analytics. She is particularly interested in clean energy, its implementation, and its impact. In the past, Lavanya has been involved in NASA robotics and multiple environmental-related efforts.

Lavanya is one of the leads of the Hopkins Park wastewater system project team of Engineers Without Borders – UIUC, studying how to repair their wastewater system so that it better fits the needs of the community. She is also the Co-President of the EWB-UIUC Chapter, where she has worked on major projects such as establishing a network of external contacts for the chapter (consisting of University officials, company sponsors, and organizational directors), improving communication between projects and the Executive Board, revamping organization and relay of information within the chapter, and applying for chapter-wide grants.

Lavanya’s research originally focused on the Decision-Making and Ethics of Environmental Engineering and Design, where the intent was to establish the meaning of environmental ethics based on situation, intent of design, and stakeholder motivations. She initially started by comparing economics, policies, and ethics codes on projects relating to different clean energy sources, particularly renewable energy (solar and wind specifically) and nuclear energy. Her research attempted to look at the implications of international engineering, first focusing on rural ecological projects, backed up by data analysis and case studies, and the importance of thinking about the consumer market in engineering.

However, while Lavanya is still basing her research on this fundamental idea, she has taken a more focused approach to defining ethics in environmentalism. Instead of purely attempting to explain ethics in a qualitative manner, she is attempting to supplement this contextual analysis with engineering economics. This project attempts to model a quantitative economic analysis of various clean energy sources, combined with a qualitative analysis of unidentified ethical issues in environmentalism.

Research topics:

  • Implementation of renewable energy in rural areas (particularly Guatemala case study)
  • Societal input in Contextual Engineering