Student Spotlights

Janelle Wong

Delta Growth Research

photo of Janelle Wong and friends

Janelle (sixth student from the left) is researching a Louisiana delta.

Janelle is a senior in civil engineering with a focus in water resources. She is currently working with Assistant Professor Paola Passalacqua on documenting and investigating the morphology of the Wax Lake Delta region in Louisiana. The research provides insight into delta land preservation and growth.

Deltas are complex, rich in nutrients, and affected by factors such as stream-flows, natural disasters, and human activity. The Wax Lake Delta region, which consists of about 12,000 acres of marshland near Atchalafaya Bay, is unique in that its wetlands are growing. Many other wetlands, such as the Mississippi River Bird’s-Foot Delta, are being lost more rapidly than they are created. Janelle’s research utilizes ArcGIS to study USGS satellite images from 1984-2014.

Janelle has been interested in water resources engineering since she was eight years old, when she first visited China and was forbidden to drink non-bottled water without thoroughly boiling it. Also, when visiting rural Shanghai years later, she observed how infrastructure and development are linked and how essential infrastructure is, forming the backbone of society.

Janelle is a first generation Asian-American, born and raised in Texas. She is the third engineer in the family, though the first to study civil engineering. Her future plans include earning a Master’s of Engineering before working in industry. Her ultimate goal is to earn her Professional Engineering license and serve the public.

Janelle greatly appreciates the department’s wide range of opportunities that are provided for self-development and even travel. She says the professional, friendly faculty are always willing to take the extra step for students and are inspirational as experts striving in their fields.

Advice Janelle has to incoming undergraduates is to take advantage of all the opportunities present. Study abroad, undergraduate research and involvement in student organizations has allowed her to focus on what she would like to do in the future.