July 23, 2020
After months of researching and analyzing China’s notorious air pollution for her Princeton senior thesis, Naomi Cohen-Shields stepped off a plane in Beijing in December 2019 to a shockingly clear sky. Her gaze fell across the unencumbered skyline of the city where the term “airpocalypse” had been coined in 2013 to describe the thick, toxic smog that enveloped China’s capital and most of the eastern half of the country.
What Cohen-Shields — who received her bachelor’s degree June 2 in civil and environmental engineering — didn’t know was that wind and periodic snowstorms whisk away the smoke and exhaust. But these were exactly the kinds of details she went to China to look for.