Meet ORAU Employee John Eastman. John is an ORAU contractor working at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as an Environmental GIS Analyst. He supports the Watershed Exposure Branch (WEB) in the Computational Exposure Division (CED) of the National Environmental Research Laboratory (NERL).
As part of an EPA effort to develop innovative software tools for evaluating water quantity and quality, the WEB is conducting a project focused on a component-based watershed modeling system which can be used to compose workflows to assess water quality and quality as they relate to exposure. Alongside EPA staff, John provides technical support for collection and analysis of environmental data leading to the development of microbial exposure assessment in various geographical areas.
“I am making a difference by assisting the EPA with its watershed tools,” John said. “My efforts go toward making the software run better so that people can use it easily.”
Recently, John created a web tool for a Regionally Applied Research Effort (RARE) project. Once completed, the tool will allow users to visualize the location and spread of potential sources of dangerous bacteria. As these tools become user friendly, more people will have access to resources to protect both their personal health and the health of the environment. So far, John’s experience at EPA has allowed him to improve his coding skills and introduced him to new languages, such as TypeScript.
At age 14, John, who grew up in the Chicago suburbs, enrolled in his first coding course. He has always been interested in how technology can improve the environment and was drawn to the creative aspects of coding. Nearly 10 years later, he recognizes the profound impact this education had on his life. In 2019, he earned dual bachelor’s degrees in GIS and Environmental Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. John would like to empower youth to embrace coding at an early age, as he was able to, and contribute to the development of resources to introduce students to software.