A row of Easter Island heads facing right

Are you an ESS alum and want to be included here? Please email studentaffairs@ess.uci.edu!

 

Kathe Todd-Brown
MS Earth System Science, 2010
PhD Earth System Science, 2013

I’m an Assistant Professor at the University of Florida in the Department of Environmental Engineering Sciences. My research focuses on computational biogeochemistry, which means I use math and computers to understand how soil breaths. My work translates our understanding of the soil system into mathematics, evaluates that mathematics for long term trends and drivers, aggregates data to develop models, and benchmarks models with data. ESS helped give me a broad background interdisciplinary background that is essential to understand soils in the context of climate.

 

 

Forrest Hoffman
MS Earth System Science, 2012
PhD Earth System Science, 2015

I am a Distinguished Computational Earth System Scientist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Group Leader for the Computational Earth Sciences Group. My research focuses on global biogeochemistry, terrestrial ecosystem science, and hydrology, employing advanced computational methods and high performance computing. My experience at ESS engendered an appreciation and understanding of the integrated Earth system and prepared me to lead multi-disciplinary research aimed at reconciling uncertainties in feedbacks between biogeochemical cycles and the climate system. I am currently engaged in evaluating Earth system models through comparison with all sorts of observational data and designing metrics for the International Land Model Benchmarking (ILAMB) package.

 

 

Yuhao Zou
MS Earth System Science, 2012
PhD Earth System Science, 2015

I graduated as a PhD from Prof Jin-Yi Yu's research group. I am currently a team lead in the banking industry. The statistical courses ESS offered help me build a strong statistical background. The programming (in Matlab), modeling and analytical techniques I gained at ESS has been helping me in financial and credit risk modeling for my current work. The discussion and presentation skills I enhanced at ESS also facilitate my communication and collaboration in my work today.

 

 

Ashley Payne
MS Earth System Science, 2012
PhD Earth System Science, 2016

I am an Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan in the Department of Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering. I am interested in using observations, reanalysis, and numerical modeling to investigate extreme precipitation events' drivers and characteristics. I use process-based studies for model evaluation and employ simple experiments to develop a mechanistic understanding of weather extremes and their interaction with climate. ESS gave me an appreciation for the Earth system's complexity, and the welcoming community I experienced there was pivotal for my academic journey.

 

 

Gregory Britten
MS Earth System Science, 2016
PhD Earth System Science, 2018

I am currently a Simons Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow in the Program in Atmospheres, Oceans, and Climate, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. My research uses mathematical and statistical models to understand how the physical climate impacts marine populations and ecosystems. My time in ESS gave me a broad multidisciplinary background which allows me to connect physical and biological components of the earth system in my research. Connections among physical and biological scientists within the ESS department are among the strongest I have seen, which made a strong impact on me and continues to shape my career.

 

 

Adam (AJ) Purdy
MS Earth System Science, 2015
PhD Earth System Science, 2018

I am an Assistant Professor at University of San Francisco in the Department of Environmental Science and the Geospatial Analysis Lab. My research focuses on the water cycle including its relation to human activity, the environment, and the Earth system. I use a combination of satellite observations, in situ measurements, and land surface models to investigate changes and perturbations in the water cycle and water availability from basin to global scales. Additionally, I am dedicated to developing solutions to lower barriers to scientific data applications. ESS provided foundational knowledge of the Earth system and the computational training and resources necessary to ask big questions.

 

 

Meg Fowler
MS Earth System Science, 2017
PhD Earth System Science, 2019

I’m currently a project scientist at NCAR’s Climate and Global Dynamics lab, researching how to improve communication between model components of CESM to simulate more realistic land-atmosphere interactions. ESS was the perfect preparation for this kind of work; having classes and access to world-class researchers in almost every sub-discipline of earth science meant that I never had to squeeze into just one discipline. Instead, I was able to focus on the interactions between different spheres of the earth system as a graduate student, and I get to continue that work now.

 

 

Morgan Gorris
MS Earth System Science, 2016
PhD Earth System Science, 2019

I am now a Director's Postdoc Fellow at Los Alamos National Laboratory in the Information Systems and Modeling Group. My PhD focused on how climate and weather affect infectious diseases and I am happy to continue my work studying Valley fever (an infectious fungal disease) and West Nile virus (a mosquito-borne disease) at LANL. My time in ESS taught me how to identify gaps in our scientific knowledge for future areas of research, how to best define my science questions, and multiple ways of processing and analyzing data. This knowledge left me well-equipped to be assigned onto LANL's COVID-19 research team, where I am helping forecast COVID-19 related outcomes.

 

 

Mindy Nicewonger
MS Earth System Science, 2016
PhD Earth System Science, 2019

I am currently a National Research Council (NRC) Postdoctoral Fellow working at the NOAA Global Monitoring Laboratory in Boulder, CO. My research is focused on understanding how ozone-depleting trace gases in the atmosphere are changing through time due to natural processes, such as wildfires. ESS trained me to think about the Earth as a connected system, something that not all scientists are trained to do. This holistic approach has served me well and provided me with the background and skills to collaborate with a diverse group of scientists.

 

 

Dianne Sanchez
MS Earth System Science, 2016
PhD Earth System Science, 2019

I am an Air Quality Specialist at the South Coast Air Quality Management District. I develop environmental justice policies to help reduce air pollution in vulnerable communities. ESS prepared me for my career by giving me a strong understanding of atmospheric chemistry and the earth system, strengthening my scientific communication skills, and instilling in me the importance of outreach. I apply the skills I learned in ESS every day by writing plain-language air pollution policies that are accessible to all.

 

 

Zachary Labe
MS Earth System Science, 2017
PhD Earth System Science, 2020

After graduating from ESS, I started as a postdoctoral fellow at Colorado State University in the Department of Atmospheric Science. Using climate models and machine learning, my research is interested in a signal-to-noise problem. The signal is climate change. The noise is weather and natural variability. The transdisciplinary research approach at UCI ESS provided me with the training, skills, and tools to improve our understanding of the climate system in addition to fostering my growth as an early career scientist.