- Dori Mermelstein
Take advantage of all the resources around you and get involved.
Dori Mermelstein excels in activities inside and outside of the classroom. Her hard work earned her a Leaders and Honors Distinguished Achievement Award from the College this year.
She encourages others to make time for extracurricular activities because they can be just as important as academics. Mermelstein has served as a co-president for the American Meteorological Society Student Chapter and acted as a student leader for incoming transfer students. She also earned an International Engineering minor while spending a semester in Spain.
“Take advantage of all the resources around you and get involved,” Mermelstein says. “It is a great way to meet new people who have similar interests as you, help others that might need it and build your communication and leadership skills.”
Research experience is also a key part of education and Mermelstein is grateful to the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP) for providing her with the opportunity to study the effects of atmospheric aerosols on surface energy balance.
One of her favorite experiences in class was her final project for the Meteorological Analysis Laboratory course. She was able to study a severe thunderstorm from May 18, 2000 - the storm that sparked her interest in studying meteorology years ago.
“It felt so rewarding being able to understand why the storm formed, how it was able to intensify and produce the damage it did on my hometown and what caused it to weaken as well.”
Next year Mermelstein will earn her Master’s degree in Atmospheric Science, continuing her education in the Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences department.
- Guangxing Lin
Once you set up a goal, try to break it down to several manageable tasks or many little milestones to keep you motivated.
Graduate student Guangxing Lin earned the 2013 Towner Prize for Distinguished Academic Achievement from the College. “Once you set up a goal, try to break it down to several manageable tasks or many little milestones to keep you motivated,” Lin advises those working towards achievement.
Lin says he enjoys being an AOSS student because of the excellent atmospheric program and thriving community. “One of my favorite experiences in AOSS was having a barbecue in Gallup Park and later playing Frisbee with fellow students…students are closely connected with each other in AOSS.”
Lin says after he earns his PhD he plans to find a post doctorate position to “refine and expand the skills I have learned in AOSS.”
- Colin Zarzycki
There are still significant opportunities to help save lives and property by better understanding these devastating storms.
Doctoral student Colin Zarzycki won the Best Oral Presentation Award at this year’s American Meteorological Society Weather Analysis and Forecasting Symposium. His presentation was titled: “Assessing the Ability of Variable-Resolution Global Models to Forecast Tropical Cyclones.”
Zarzycki says researching tropical cyclones is important because of the impact storms have on society. “These last few years have shown that there are still significant opportunities to help save lives and property by better understanding these devastating storms from both short-term forecasting and long-term climate change perspectives.”
Zarzycki says his next step in the research is to conduct a rigorous quantitative analysis to analyze the effect of using variable-resolution global models, in particular CAM-SE, on short-term hurricane forecasting. “This is high on our priority list and will hopefully prove the fidelity of these models as highly useful tools as the community moves towards the next generation of atmospheric models.”
As for the award, Zarzycki says, “There were numerous exciting presentations from students who have different ideas which will all help move weather analysis and forecasting forward, so I'm honored to be singled out.”
- Alex Bryan
UMBS is a truly unique environment for graduate students to work and gain field experience.
Doctoral student Alex Bryan is a leader for GUStO, the Graduate and Undergraduate Student Organization for AOSS. “Joining GUStO allowed me to get the most of out of my experience as a student as well as give back to the department,” Bryan says.
Joining the leadership team gives students the opportunity to shape their own academic experience and the experience of fellow students. “Students gain invaluable leadership experience by coordinating faculty-lead career development workshops, department tours, recruitment events, and social events.”
Bryan says he was motivated to attend graduate school at AOSS because of the abundant research opportunities in atmospheric science. “My advisor's research, in particular, motivated me to join the AOSS department. Upon my visit, the friendly and supportive faculty, staff, and students made me feel very welcome.”
His favorite experience at AOSS has been participating in three summer-long visits to the University of Michigan Biological Station (UMBS) in Pellston, MI. “UMBS is a truly unique environment for graduate students to work and gain field experience. Students sleep in tin cabins, eat healthy and delicious home-cooked food, and work outdoors in the beautiful forests of northern Michigan.”
- Yuei-An Liou
Don’t feel shy to speak out.
Alumnus Dr. Yuei-An Liou is a professor at the National Central University in Taiwan and is President of the Taiwan Group on Earth Observations. Liou is recognized internationally for his work in leading remote sensing research.
Liou says his favorite memory from AOSS is the kindness of the community. “The staff members are always there to provide administrative assistance. The graduate students frequently get together not only for course learning, but also for happy hours.”
Liou’s advice to international students is “Don’t feel shy to speak out if assistance is needed… You will essentially be the one who benefits the most if you are willing to open your mind.”
Liou earned his Masters and PhD in the Geoscience and Remote Sensing program under the guidance of Professors Tony England and Bill Kuhn.
Liou says he found Professor Bill Kuhn’s Radiative Transfer Theory course and Professor Sushil Atreya’s thermodynamics course to be some of the most beneficial for his academic career.
Liou earned the Distinguished Professor Award from National Central University in 2010. In 2008, he earned the Outstanding Alumni Award from the University of Michigan Alumni Association in Taiwan.
- Caroline Kinstle
Reaching out to younger girls and introducing them to women in science makes a big impact.
Caroline Kinstle is an MEng Applied Climate student. In her free time, she stays involved with her undergraduate engineering sorority, doing philanthropic work such as science projects with Girl Scouts. “Reaching out to younger girls and introducing them to women in science makes a big impact,” she says.
Kinstle also helped out with science projects for kids at the American Meteorological Society (AMS) WeatherFest, a series of interactive science exhibits designed to instill a love of math and science in children. WeatherFest was part of the AMS annual meeting in early January.
Kinstle says her favorite part of the meeting was the student conference. “This year they did a good job finding speakers that were interesting to everybody. As a graduate student, I found the speakers helpful.”
The MEng in Applied Climate program is great because it gives students the skills they need to see how the latest in-demand technology is affecting the earth. “It’s important to know how technologies affect earth processes so we can understand how to adapt or mitigate,” Kinstle says.
- Gina DiBraccio
It's an honor to be a part of it.
Gina DiBraccio, a fourth year PhD candidate, is one of the youngest members of the MESSENGER Science team. “It’s an honor to be a part of it,” she says.
On the team, DiBraccio uses both magnetometer and plasma data in an attempt to understand the dynamics of Mercury's magnetosphere, and how this relates back to Earth.
Her work has not gone unnoticed. Her paper, “MESSENGER Observations of magnetopause structure at Mercury” earned an American Geophysical Union Outstanding Student Paper Award.
At the annual AGU Meeting in December 2012, DiBraccio was recognized for her award. One of her favorite experiences at the conference was “meeting some of the well-known people in the field and having the opportunity to discuss research with them.”
When asked why she came to AOSS for graduate school, DiBraccio says it was an obvious choice. “It’s one of the best programs.”
Aside from her research, Gina keeps her life balanced by running, playing volleyball, and coaching a middle school volleyball team.
- Steve Boland
It’s exciting. I’m hoping to be successful and help the program be a success - something other students want to get into.
Congratulations to Steve Boland, the first graduate of the Applied Climate Master of Engineering program.
Boland says one of his favorite experiences in the program was “going to the Glenn Research Center. It was exciting. Growing up, I always associated engineering with NASA.”
Boland says he was drawn to the program because “I’ve always had an interest in environmental science and climate change.”
Boland grew up outside of New York City and hopes to return to the East Coast.
- Andrew Nagy
He demonstrates that one person can make a big, big difference.
In 1944, Professor Emeritus Andrew Nagy lived in one of Raoul Wallenberg’s holocaust safe houses in Budapest. This year, Nagy participated in The Wallenberg Lecture and Medal at U-M, which honors Wallenberg’s commitment to selfless work.
"His story needs to be continuously told and remembered. He demonstrates that one person can make a big, big difference," Nagy says.
Nagy is a longtime member of the Wallenberg Executive Committee, which recently created the Wallenberg Fellowship for undergraduates.
"Wallenberg went to places and pulled people off the trains, he was negotiating with the head of the German SS, he did everything he could possibly do, ignoring his personal safety,” Nagy says.
Wallenberg, a U-M alumnus and Swedish diplomat, is credited with saving 100,000 lives during the Holocaust. This year is the centennial of Wallenberg's birth.
- Gavin Chensue
I think I have the most exciting job in the world.
Alumnus Gavin Chensue is an officer in the NOAA Commissioned Officer Corps, which operates research vessels and acts as a liaison between physical research and station laboratories. Over the next two years he will be working from San Diego up to the Arctic Circle conducting ocean bottom research in a hydrographic survey vessel.
He says he was inspired to join NOAA after Professor Tony England said, “Follow the interesting problem of the day.” For Chensue, the most interesting problem is the earth's resources, the ocean and the atmospheric environment.
He says studying at AOSS prepared him for his career because it gave him “a very complete picture about the environment in both practical and theoretical aspects which, while my job is very practical in nature, allows me to connect what I see every day with the physics behind.”
While time on the vessel is interesting, Chensue’s favorite experience at AOSS was on land.
“I think the best singular experience I had was working on VORTEX II with Professor Samson and the Texas Tech tornado research team. We spent 46 days in 2010, saw 6 tornados and put 15,000 miles on a university van.”
Chensue is currently on the NOAA Ship Fairweather, which you can learn more about here.
- Harvey Elliott
The important lesson from both MEng and I-Corps is to hold the bar high and push yourself and others. You’ll be amazed with the results.
Doctoral student Harvey Elliott knew the electrostatic shock warning system he developed with Professor Nilton Renno was a good idea, but he didn’t have answers for the business model.
To find answers, he participated in the National Science Foundation's Innovation Corps, an eight-week program designed to foster entrepreneurship.
“After day three we knew we had to change something because we were getting negative feedback,” Elliott says.
They changed the design from a hand-held wand to a bench-top unit. Now the company, Electric Field Solutions, plans to have a unit ready to sell within 3 months. Elliott says the MEng program with Darren McKague led him to an interest in business, and I-Corps further reinforced his confidence.
“I am definitely more interested in starting my own company,” Elliott says.
One of his favorite MEng experiences was participating in a symposium with Professor Thomas Zurbuchen. He was able to meet venture capitalists and see MEng graduates 5 years down the road, which helped him picture where he could go in a few years.
Elliott will give a presentation on his experience with I-Corps at the annual American Geological Union fall meeting. Elliott says it is crucial for other graduate students learn about this opportunity.
“The important lesson from both MEng and I-Corps is to hold the bar high and push yourself and others. You’ll be amazed with the results,” Elliott says.
- Emily Potter
MEng is the reason I have my career right now.
Grabbing lunch between classes often means waiting in line for fast food or munching on a granola bar. AOSS MEng alumna Emily Potter is creating a third option: Yo Mama Packed It.
Yo Mama Packed It will use bicycles to deliver wholesome, budget-friendly meals to campus locations. Students can order online and expect their meal within 30 minutes.
The business plan won the top $2,500 prize in the Michigan Business Model Competition last December, as well as the Organizer’s Award at the Ross School of Business Entrepreneur & Venture Club Business Model Competition.
Potter credits her business skills to Professor Thomas Zurbuchen, associate dean for entrepreneurship.
“He really pushed [us] to understand the in-depth of what goes into forming a business.”
Potter says MEng prepared her for working with fellow Yo Mama Packed It team members, public health students Jessica Lai and Ta-Wei Lin.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s an engineering project or a public health project, you still need the same budgeting and team skills.”
Potter says her favorite MEng experience was the research. Her team designed a communication system for disaster relief that launched high altitude balloons. To test the system, they launched a balloon and chased after it.
“Driving down the road, peering out the window on the highway trying to chase after that balloon was pretty exhilarating.”
Outside of Yo Mama Packed It, Potter is a systems engineer with startup Spider9, Inc. Potter says working in a startup can be stressful and fast paced, but MEng prepared her for that. “MEng is the reason I have my career right now.”
- Nilton Renno
My biggest hope is to find evidence for liquid water.
Professor Nilton Renno taught a course in 2009 in which students performed the first tests to determine how much ground erosion the MSL’s landing process could cause, and how that could affect the rover.
Renno’s students discovered that the supersonic rocket jets used to cushion the Curiosity landing could kick up dust and particles in the process. NASA took this information into account when planning Curiosity’s unprecedented landing technique.
Renno will be watching Curiosity land on August 5 from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory as the team prepares to operate the rover. Renno says, “My biggest hope is to find evidence for liquid water.”
- Sue Lepri
It's an exciting adventure and there's always something new and challenging.
Associate Research Scientist Sue Lepri is the first female AOSS space flight instrument Principal Investigator (PI). Lepri is the PI for the Solar Orbiter Heavy Ion Sensor (HIS).
HIS is a NASA-sponsored space instrument project that aims to study how the Sun creates and influences the heliosphere. "It's an exciting adventure and there's always something new and challenging," Lepri says.
Lepri has been part of AOSS since her undergraduate days. "I've had amazing access to opportunities and good support from people around me. It made me feel like this was a place where I could really excel," Lepri says.
One of the things Lepri enjoys at AOSS is teaching heliophysics. "I can bring in my research, my colleagues research, and what we do is we focus a lot on unsolved problems in the field. We try to have the students think about them, so while they're in the class they're doing real research that could be published if they take it far enough."
Lepri encourages undergraduates to seek out research opportunities early. As an undergraduate, Lepri spent two years researching with the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP). "I think that as a student you shouldn't be shy in seeking out the opportunities that you want."
Now Lepri is part of the groundbreaking heavy ion measurements of HIS. AOSS looks forward to the launch of HIS, scheduled for 2017.
- Christopher Ruf
The system will allow us to probe the inner core of hurricanes in greater detail to understand their rapid intensification for the first time.
Professor Christopher Ruf is principal investigator on a new NASA satellite project aimed to improve hurricane and extreme weather prediction.
The $151.7-million Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS) will make accurate measurements of ocean surface winds throughout the life cycle of tropical storms and hurricanes. It’s a constellation of small satellites that will be carried to orbit on a single launch vehicle.
“The system will allow us to probe the inner core of hurricanes in greater detail to understand their rapid intensification for the first time,” said Ruf. “This will allow us to observe and understand the complete life cycle of storms and, thereby, understand the thermodynamics and radiation that drive their evolution. Our goal is a fundamental improvement in hurricane forecasting.”
The CYGNSS data will enable scientists, for the first time, to probe key air-sea interaction processes that take place near the core of the storms, which are rapidly changing and play large roles in the genesis and intensification of hurricanes.
- Allison Steiner
Students get this full experience of data collection to analysis.
Assistant Professor Allison Steiner earned a 2013 Henry Russel Award, the highest honor bestowed upon early-career faculty by U-M. Steiner earned the award because of her excellent work in teaching, research and the community.
When it comes to her classes, Steiner says one of her most effective teaching tools is “incorporating data analysis into my courses.”
For example, Steiner and her students in a meteorology course set up a flux tower to see what the instrumentation looked like. “Then we spend time in the data laboratory where we actually analyze the data so students get this full experience of data collection to analysis.”
Steiner says the data experience shows students, “they’re not just programming for the sake of programming; they’re programming for the sake of trying to understand something scientifically.”
For students who plan to start their career with a consulting firm or government lab, data analysis skills and data visualization software experience are helpful.
“Working after undergraduate can be a really valuable experience, and I encourage a lot of our undergraduates to do that,” Steiner says.
In addition to her work as a teacher, Steiner co-founded the professional peer-mentoring Earth Science Women's Network. “Often times the best advice comes from people within your field,” Steiner says.
Steiner is also actively involved in the United Nations funded Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ITPC), which trains scientists from developing nations. “I think that program is really unique because it really does try to reach out to people in countries where they may not have the resources to do the kinds of model simulations that we have the resources to do here in the U.S.”
Steiner says the ITPC helps scientists set up model domains and develop the skills they need.
AOSS looks forward to recognizing Dr. Steiner at the Henry Russel Award ceremony.
- Joyce Penner
Go with your heart. I think you've got to do the stuff you find interesting.
Dr. Joyce Penner is a professor and associate chair at AOSS, and a review editor for the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) upcoming report. For the IPCC, she read over a thousand reader comments and used them to provide authors with helpful feedback.
She says her role is to make sure the document maintains a good outside view.” As a professor, Penner specializes in climate change, studying factors such as gas and aerosol interactions in the atmosphere, and the effects of pollutants from fossil fuel burning on aerosols and clouds. Penner says she is drawn to study climate because it is “important socially”.
As associate chair, she aims to recruit more undergraduate students. She says the AOSS undergraduate program is great for preparing for graduate school, and it can also prepare students for careers. One of her goals is to “identify the jobs available for people trained in environmental work."One resource is the Earth Science Women's Network, started by AOSS associate professor Allison Steiner. It has a number of career opportunities for undergraduate and master's level students.
- Kevin Reed
AOSS Alumnus Kevin Reed is the first University of Michigan student to be selected for the American Geophysical Union (AGU) Congressional Science Fellowship.
Reed says his year-long fellowship, located in Washington, D.C., is “completely open ended. There, I won't be doing research at all. I'll be a typical staffer with science as my specialty.
Although there are no guarantees, Reed says he hopes to get into an office that’s interested in climate change.
Reed received his B.S. in physics from the Univeristy of Michigan. He says he was attracted to AOSS for graduate school because of his “interest in studying atmospheric science. I wanted something policy relevant.”He says one of the benefits of being an AOSS student was the ability to travel often. “It broadened my view of the field,” Reed says.
During his travels, Reed was happy to come from a school everyone knew.“It’s huge, it’s well-known around the world. Even in Peru – when I traveled there – people knew about the University of Michigan.”When he’s not studying, Reed follows University of Michigan sports.“I like football. I'm an avid Michigan sports fanatic. I host a tailgate before every football game in the fall.When he completes his fellowship, Reed says he plans to return to research. To learn more about American Geophysical Union Congressional Science Fellowship, please visit http://www.agu.org/sci_pol/cong_fellowship/
- Jessica Parker
“The programs in the department were well rounded and allowed students to study both the science and engineering sides of Earth Sciences with world renowned faculty,” she says. “The program also offered just enough flexibility and hands-on experience to really make studies unique to each student. “I love U-M because it’s a diverse school with amazing students, faculty, and research opportunities.”
When Jessica Parker, a meteorologist with the Weather Underground in San Francisco, set her sights on attending the University of Michigan, it was the AOSS department that attracted her to the maize and blue. “The programs in the department were well rounded and allowed students to study both the science and engineering sides of Earth Sciences with world renowned faculty,” she says. “The program also offered just enough flexibility and hands-on experience to really make studies unique to each student. “I love U-M because it’s a diverse school with amazing students, faculty, and research opportunities.” Parker completed her Earth Systems Science and Engineering studies at U-M, concentrating on Meteorology/Atmospheric Science, and “dabbling” in Climate Change Studies.
Some of her favorite adventures as a Wolverine included learning about instrumentation and data sampling in Greenland with Professor Perry Samson, and learning about smokestack sampling in Pensacola, Florida, with the late Professor Gerald Keeler.
After U-M, Parker turned down an opportunity to be a tornado chaser on reality TV, and headed to California where she joined the Weather Underground in San Francisco. “I wanted to join the Weather Underground team of meteorologists because the company allows ‘mets’ to indulge in the many facets of meteorology, similar to the AOSS dept. – programming, research, outreach, broadcast, and more – and encourages continued education conferences and workshops,” she says. “While I enjoy working with new data sets and programming, forecasting storms, and making recent storm assessments, I have the most fun participating in various outreach projects, including weather talks with students, radio and broadcast about weather and travel, and national and international conferences and events.”
In her leisure time, Parker enjoys exploring the many districts of San Francisco and the cities of the Bay Area. “There’s always some new and exciting restaurant, shop, or event.” For a quick escape from the city, she hikes in the Marin Headlands or the nearby National Parks. Her newest hobby is learning how to snowboard and she is looking forward to visiting Lake Tahoe in the Sierra Nevada this winter. She also enjoys kickboxing and traveling. “My favorite places to visit in the states include New York, Miami, and back home to Chicago to visit family – and my favorite international city is London.”
- Zahid Hasan
I have an enormous respect for the intelligence and dedication from everyone at the University of Michigan. I don’t think people realize how much I value what I learn and absorb from my daily interactions with them.
Zahid Hasan's passion and zeal for robotics and technology, along with his entrepreneurial spirit, have served him well over the years, from earning him the distinction of being the first university student to be published in Aviation Week magazine’s editorial page, to being named having the Most Social Impact Award - Student Showcase 2011. Other honors and awards include the Dare to Dream grant 2010, Startup-onomics Summit 2011, and the TechArb Tenancy 2010.
Zahid credits inspiring and amazing mentors for helping him parlay his passions and focus his research interests in the area of Cooperative Unmanned Systems. Zahid chose to pursue a MEng in Space System Engineering because of the practical focus on teamwork and solving impact-driven problems through technical excellence. In addition, Zahid's interest in figuring out how to harness technical ability into reality to positively affect lives has led to the creation of his own company.
After graduation, Zahid's concentration will be on his company Medicron, whose mission is enabling developing nations to track and manage real-time health information for improved health of its citizens. During his "down-time," Zahid enjoys martial arts, hacking, programming, and cooking.
- Robert Alexander
I'm always on the lookout for new data sets to audify! I think we can learn a lot if we open our ears to the sounds of science. Also, people should know that the Design Science PhD program at the University of Michigan is one of the few programs in the world through which this research would be possible.
Robert Alexander's research lies at the intersection of technology and creativity. As a Design Science Ph.D pre-candidate, he's working to construct software interfaces for exploring scientific data in new ways. The core of his research lies in data sonfication with the Solar Heliospheric Research Group. Sonification is a process through which any kind of non-auditory data is translated as sound. They're transforming space data into the sonic realm such that they can gain a new perspective, and begin to ask new questions. Robert related that “as a media artist and electroacoustic composer, I've pushed for over a decade to create new tools for self expression. This has generated a keen awareness of the extent to which the creative process can be colored by technological tools. I was contacted by the Solar Heliospheric Research group (SHRG) due to my expertise in interface design and knowledge of algorithmic music composition methods. The SHRG is very innovative and forward thinking. This group is extremely inspiring to work with.”
Robert's advisors include Dr. Thomas Zurbuchen (Professor, Space Science, Associate Dean for Entrepreneurship); Dr. Jason Gilbert (Assistant Research Scientist); and Dr. Mary Simoni (Associate Dean for Research and Community Engagement, Professor of Performing Arts Technology, School of Music Theatre and Dance).
Honors and achievement awards include the 2011 NASA-Harriett G. Jenkins Pre-doctoral Fellowship Project (JPFP) Award; International Community for Auditory Display: Outstanding Achievement Award; Yahoo! Boost Award; University of Michigan Dean's Named Fellowship 2010-2011; and securing a Rackham Summer Research Grant.
In his “spare” time, Robert enjoys writing music, playing chess, and reading. He also plays piano, guitar, cello, and drums, and even sings. He's even found time to teach computer music at the Interlochen Center for the Arts for the past two summers! Visit Robert's website at www.robertalexandermusic.com to learn more.
After graduation, Robert is interested in advancing the field of auditory data analysis, and envisions this work will ultimately lead to a full-time position with NASA. He also hopes to build a larger bridge between the arts and sciences, and to continue rigorously exploring his own creative capabilities.
- Dara Fisher
As the daughter of a Michigan alumnus (class of ’73), Dara knew about Michigan, but it was the three days spent on campus as a part of the Shipman Scholar recruitment program that sold Dara on attending U-M. “I knew Michigan was the place for me.”
- Julie Feldt
“Being a part of the REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates) at the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics made me completely change my graduate school plans.”
After her 2008 REU experience, Julie applied to and was accepted into the AOSS PhD program in the Fall of 2009. She is a graduate student working with Professor Mark Moldwin, studying the ionosphere, plasmasphere and magnetosphere. Julie received a BS in astronomy and one in physics from the University of Kansas, where, interestingly, she worked for Professor Thomas Cravens, who was formerly at U-M and has been a longtime friend of AOSS and SPRL.
Asked what people would least suspect of her, she said, “Most people are pretty shocked that I have a tattoo, it’s the symbol for Pluto. In the third grade I wrote a report on Pluto, and I've hooked ever since!”
- Mark Flanner
“As seasonal snow and sea-ice evolve in response to climate change, they drive amplifying feedbacks, illuminating the importance of understanding the physics of cryosphere-climate interactions. U-M is an ideal place to pursue this research because of its breadth of academic expertise and recent establishment of the AOSS/GS Cryospheric Science Cluster. ”
Professor Flanner came to AOSS from Boulder where he had been a postdoctoral fellow in the Advanced Study Program at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). He received his PhD in Earth System Science from UC-Irvine and brings an interdisciplinary approach to researching climate processes. He is the author and maintainer of the Snow, Ice, and Aerosol Radiative (SNICAR) model (http://snow.engin.umich.edu/), a tool used to study the influence of aerosols on cryospheric processes.
- Xianglei Huang
Professor Huang is mainly interested in understanding the entangled interactions between the atmospheric radiation, water vapor and clouds, and the atmospheric dynamics by diagnosis analysis of satellite observations and climate model simulations. Closely related to the main focus, he is interested and actively involved in the research of infrared radiative transfer and remote sensing as well as climate diagnostics. He also has published articles about planetary atmospheres, in which he still keeps tangential interest. In 2008, Geophysical Research Letter, the premium letter journal of the American Geophysical Union, highlighted one of his studies on the radiative impact of cirrus on the troposphere-to-stratosphere transport. Professor Huang currently serves as associate editor of the Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology.
- Michael Liemohn
Professor Liemohn has been a researcher in AOSS since 1998. Prior to that he was a National Research Council Resident Research Associate at Marshall Space Flight Center. His research interests include physics of geomagnetic storms, storm-time inner magnetospheric plasma dynamics and evolution, planetary plasma environments, energetic-thermal particle interactions, mid- and high-latitude ionospheric precipitation and outflow, and wave-particle interaction theory and plasma instabilities. He is a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Geophysical Union. In 2002 he received the U-M Research Scientist Recognition Award.
- Martin G. Mlynczak
“We need to get measurements of energy as a function of wavelength -- to look at the entire amount of infrared and solar radiation -- to get into measuring spectra radiation very accurately in order to study climate and climate change in the long range.”
In 2004 AOSS honored alumni Martin G. Mlynczak with the College of Engineering Alumni Society Merit Award for his many contributions to the field of atmospheric science. Dr. Mlynczak’s research interests include calculation, modeling and observation of atmospheric thermodynamics, energy budgets and structure from satellite, aircraft, balloon and ground-based instruments. Much of his research to develop and mature instruments used to measure infrared and solar radiation in the atmosphere has put him in the debate over climate warming.
Dr. Mlynczak is an Affiliate Scientist at the High Altitude Observatory, National Center for Atmospheric Research, and a member of the Observatory's Scientific Advisory Committee.
- Mark Moldwin
“ My goal as a professor is to successfully integrate my research and teaching so that undergraduates get a sense of what space scientists do, and graduate students and post-docs get a sense of how they most effectively think, learn and communicate their science. ”
Professor Moldwin is an active and highly recognized member of the space science community and one of the best educators in space science. His recent textbook, Introduction to Space Weather, is the first textbook for space science non-major service courses. He was among the “ten top Professors at UCLA” (as rated by the UCLA Student Association) and has developed a number of successful local, national and international K-12 outreach programs. Professor Moldwin was the Research Corporation Cotrell Scholar in 1996 and received the NSF CAREER Award in 1997. His research spans heliophysics from studying the magnetic structure of the Sun to energy coupling between the magnetosphere and ionosphere. He is a member of the American Geophysical Union and is the Editor-in-Chief of Reviews of Geophysics.
- Catherine Walker
“The main thing that drew me here was the sheer amount of research that comes out of Michigan, and the opportunity to do such neat inter-disciplinary projects was a big deal ”
Catherine joined AOSS in the Fall ’08 after double-majoring in astrophysics and geological sciences at Mount Holyoke College (one of the Seven Sisters). This past summer, Catherine was selected as a NASA Student Ambassador — this follows six other stints at NASA either as an intern or a student in “NASA Boot Camp”. How did she do it? “I just kept applying and making contacts.” The perseverance expected of someone whose goal is to be an astronaut, is a certified diamond buyer by the Gemological Institute of America and watches NASCAR every Sunday.
Now that Catherine is in her second year, she says that AOSS, with its “diversity of interests and inherent possibilities for research experiences,” gives her the freedom to try new things. “AOSS is definitely one of the more diverse groups of ‘space’ science departments that I found — in one hallway, you can talk to an atmospheric chemist, the next, a physicist, and in the next, hear all about the Sun or one of the planets.
Catherine has recently taken up baking and decorating cakes and she has a twin who is pursuing an MA at the Cooperstown Graduate Program in New York (a premier program for History/Museum Studies).
- Jordan Feight
“Weather has always peaked my interest, and being part of the engineering school at U‑M has opened many doors for me. The opportunities that I have here is astounding”
AOSS sophomore Jordan Feight had no idea what to expect when he came to U-M in the fall of 2009. He just knew that meteorology was what he wanted to study. That decision led him to connecting with the Solar Car Team and to spending a week on the road from Broken Arrow, Oklahoma to Naperville, Illinois, doing daily forecasts and having critical input into the team’s winning strategy.
“The coolest thing of being on the team was to watch the team evolve. Business students became mechanical engineers, industrial operation majors learned the electrical systems, and math majors broadened their knowledge of weather.”
Jordan who used “fantastic equipment such as a WeatherHawk weather station, weather balloons, and pyranometers” says plans are underway for new weather tools, models and equipment for the next World Solar Challenge in 2011.
Jordan will be following AOSS alumni Matt Trantham who was the meteorologist on the 2005 U-M Solar Car Team and Brad Charboneau who was meteorologist on the 2007 U‑M team. All three teams won the American Solar Challenge — a great AOSS tradition has begun!
- Jeffrey Thayer
Since receiving the 2005 College of Engineering AOSS Alumni Society Merit Award, Jeffrey Thayer has continued his extensive research in remote sensing of the atmosphere and ionosphere using lidar and radar techniques; optical systems and design; atmospheric and space physics; geophysical fluid dynamics, electrodynamics, and plasma physics. He was the Chair of the NSF Coupling, Energetics, and Dynamics of Atmospheric Regions (CEDAR) Program Science Steering Committee, 2007-2009 and co-chair of the Greenland Space Science Symposium, which resulted in a web site comprised of science resources for teachers K-12. (http://www.nortellearnit.org/nia_nasa/greenland_symposium)
View interview with Professor Thayer:
“How do changes in Earth's lower atmosphere affect us?”