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Graduate Students 2017-2018

Student Publication Page

Jennifer Alspach

Atmospheric Sciences: M.S. (R. Collins)

I was born and raised in Yuma, Arizona and graduated with a B.S. in earth and ocean sciences from Duke University in May of 2017. During my four years at Duke, I enjoyed several unique, hands-on experiences such as studying the geology of Ireland during a ten-day trip around the coast. I joined UAF in the fall of 2017 and under the guidance of Dr. Collins, I am pursuing my M.S. in atmospheric sciences while using lidar to research and explore the Arctic atmosphere. Along with environmental science, my other passion is creative writing, and I’m interested in methods of blending science and storytelling to effectively reach people.

Jon Allen

Interdisciplinary with home in Atmospheric Sciences: Ph.D (U. Bhatt)

Following completion of the MS Ocean Engineering program at Texas A&M University, in which we studied the dissipative effect of emergent wetland vegetation on storm surge, my wife and I travelled to Alaska to pursue a summer project to characterize North Slope coastal block failure. Shortly thereafter and several years ago, however, the focus of research shifted to storm surge on the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta. Within the framework of an interdisciplinary PhD program on climate-change science and engineering, we seek to not only develop a validated hydrodynamic model of the YK Delta and define a spatial index estimating inundation potential but also to apply this index to predict inundation potential under IPCC sea-level-rise scenarios. Combined with a projections of future atmospheric conditions, future inundation indices forecast changes in vegetation and wildlife capacity, as well as identify vulnerable civil infrastructure.

Till Baumann

Atmospheric Sciences: Ph.D (I.Polyakov)

During my M.Sc. in "Climate Physics" at GEOMAR in Kiel (Germany), I became interested in the North Atlantic Ocean circulation. In my master's thesis I analyzed thermohaline variability of the Deep Western Boundary Current in the Labrador Sea from long term moored measurements. This work and the associated research-cruises in that area further enhanced my fascination for the high latitude climate system. Just after my graduation in summer 2015, I received the OK from UAF and after an exciting research-cruise in the Arctic Ocean I am now working with my supervisor Prof. Polyakov on the data we retrieved. Key feature is the inflow of relatively warm Atlantic Water (AW) into the Eurasian Basin. As main source of heat for the Arctic Ocean, the AW plays a crucial role in the climate system. My research is focused on the ocean dynamics associated to that inflow and related interactions with sea-ice and the atmosphere.

Apart from work, I am looking forward to explore the "Last Frontier" with its incredible nature!


Maryam Bu khader

Atmospheric Sciences: Ph.D (U.Bhatt)

I'm originally from Al Ahsa, located in the east of Saudi Arabia. I completed my M.A degree in Geography of Environment and Nature at King Saud University (2011), my research was about surface winds and dust storms in Al-Hafouf city represented in Al-Ahsa region and its impact in spreading asthma which was based on the daily climatic data during 24 years from the year 1985-2008. I joined UAF in the fall of 2014 to pursue my Ph.D  in Atmospheric Science with focus on climate change.
I'm interested in what is going on in the world. 


Lei Cai

Atmospheric Sciences: Ph.D (V. Alexeev)

Atmospheric Sciences: Climate Modeling (Ph. D.) (V. Alexeev)

I graduated and gained B.S. degree in Atmospheric Science from Nanjing University of Information Science & Technology in 2011. Then I went to University of Kansas and got M.S. degree from there in Atmospheric Science in 2014. I have been doing research on extreme climatic events by dynamical downscaling simulation products. I came to UAF in fall 2014 pursuing Ph. D degree and working with Prof. Alexeev on projects focusing on the north slope of Alaska, including the climatic impact and the land-atmospheric interaction changes under global warming. Also, I have been excited for all the amazingness in Alaska.

Stanley Edwin
Atmospheric Sciences: Cold Air Funnels (MS) (N. Mölders)

My name is Stanley Gene Edwin. I started my graduate studies in the fall of 2014, and am fortuitous to study and research under the tutelage of Dr. Nicole Molders. My research is centered on an atmospheric phenomenon that has become more noticed and observed in Alaska, namely Funnel Clouds. The primary goal is to understand if this is a new atmospheric occurrence in Alaska or one that has always occurred, and then why are they occurring.
I am Gwich’in, an Alaskan Indian, from the Yukon Flats, Fort Yukon and Chalkyitsik. My father and mother is Paul Ben Thomas, Bessie Elisabeth Biederman. The region of my ancestral homeland and hunting grounds is the Yukon Flats and the head waters of the Salmon River and The Black River. I am the youngest of seven children, but the last of two.
I am Veteran, US Army, a 16 year veteran forest fire fighter, 3rd generation. My undergraduate study was in Applied Physics: BS, and I also have two other degrees, one a AAS and other a AS degrees. I was raised as my ancestor were, hunting and gathering within my culture, and this is what I bring to physics and atmospheric science.

Amy Hendricks


Atmospheric Sciences: "“Past, Present and Future States and Variations of the late Quaternary Permafrost Subsystem"
(MS) John Walsh/Kazuyuki Saito

I was raised in Minnesota and received my B.S. in Meteorology from the University of Oklahoma School of Meteorology (tornado country!). With Dr. John Walsh as my advisor, we are working in a group under Dr. Kazuyuki Saito on a project titled “Past, Present and Future States and Variations of the late Quaternary Permafrost Subsystem”. We will work to validate simulated permafrost distributions against proxy data, understand how permafrost might change under different climate conditions, as well as understand the consequences of those changes. My interests include polar and tropical climates, atmosphere-ocean interactions, and climate change.

Rick Lader

Atmospheric Sciences: Extreme Events (Ph.D.) (J. Walsh)

I came to Fairbanks in 2011 having completed a B.S. degree at both Cornell University (Communication - 2008), and the State University of New York at Oswego (Meteorology - 2011). At UAF, I completed my M.S. degree (Atmospheric Sciences - 2014) under the guidance of Dr. Uma Bhatt, during which I evaluated the performance of reanalysis models for Alaska. Related to this study, my current research as a Ph.D. student involves extreme events assessment for Alaska using dynamically downscaled regional climate model simulations. The dynamical downscaling (historical and future simulations) makes available a full suite of model variables, allowing broad expansion of extreme events analysis for Alaska (e.g., inclusion of snow, wind, and icing events). Outside of UAF, I am actively involved in the vibrant running community that Fairbanks offers.

Jintai Li

Atmospheric Sciences: PhD (Richard Collins)

I am a graduate student from Hebei, China. I got my Bachelor’s degree in Geophysics at the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC), one of the best universities in China. During my undergraduate education, I did research about the Temperature, Dust and Water-ice in the Martin Atmosphere in the group of Professor Tao Li. Besides, I attended a few meetings about space physics during my undergraduate years. I joined UAF in the fall of 2013 to purse my Ph. D in Atmospheric Science. My current research includes operating the Sodium Lidar and analyzing data of the Lidar to achieve the structure and dynamics of the atmosphere.

Ipshita Majhi

Atmospheric Sciences: (Ph.D.) (U. Bhatt)

I have enrolled in the atmospheric science program from the spring semester of 2013. I grew up in India, and through the course of childhood moved to various places in India and finally have a home in the city of Pune. I finished my undergrad in Chemical engineering from Pune University, and joined UAF to pursue my master’s in environmental engineering where I studied release of sequestered metal (Cd) under warming climate. I augmented it with another master’s degree in atmospheric science where I, evaluated a Hydro-thermodynamic Soil Vegetation Scheme using observations in Alaska and the Baltic Region. I started my PhD working on discharge analysis of various Siberian rivers, investigated uncertainties in arctic precipitation and will work under the able guidance of Dr. Uma Bhatt on analyzing extreme precipitation events using downscaled data. I enjoy playing with daughter, who is presently 4, like to read books and try various sports on and off.


Liran Peng

Atmospheric Sciences: Ph.D. (X. Zhang)

I was born and raised in Beijing (P. R. China). I received my bachelor degree in meteorology from the Nanjing University. Later, I received my M.S degree in the University of Wyoming. I analyzed airborne measurements to study ice nucleation process in middle-tropospheric wave clouds. In the fall 2014, I started my Ph.D. study at UAF working with Dr. Xiangdong Zhang at the International Arctic Research Center. My current research is to investigate the sea ice change by using the Community Earth System Model. I enjoy playing violin, traveling, camping, cycling, and outdoor photography. 

Akila Sampath

Atmospheric Sciences (Ph.D) ( U. Bhatt)

My current research at UAF focuses on seasonal fire weather forecast and influence of wildfire within the Alaska region by applying the Canadian forest fire indices. My academic interest also includes physical and dynamical processes strengthening the Arctic wildfire.

Alexander Semenov

Atmospheric Sciences (Ph.D) ( X. Zhang)

I joined UAF in fall 2011 after graduating from Lomonosov Moscow State University (MSU), Russia majoring in meteorology and climatology. While studying at MSU, I had four summer internships both in field doing meteorological measurements and in laboratory. For my third and fourth year course work I was doing research at Hydrometeological Centre of Russia on verification of ensemble modeling. In my last year at MSU in collaboration with researchers of Institute of Geography Russian Academy of Sciences I was working within the scientific project regarding climate change in Antarctic: the interdependence between sea ice in Antarctic and snow accumulation based on ice core data. At UAF under the supervision of Dr. Xiangdong Zhang, I’ll be researching the sea ice – atmosphere –ocean interactions in Arctic, different aspects of climate change that have become reasons for the decrease of sea ice in the Arctic ocean.My hobbies are swimming, downhill skiing, travelling, listening to music, kayaking and watching basketball.

Yang Yang     

Atmospheric Sciences: Arctic climate change (Ph.D.) (X. Zhang)

I graduated in Atmospheric Sciences from Nanjing Institute of Meteorology and got my M.Sc. from University of Wyoming. I have done research in boundary layer turbulence and wintertime orographic precipitation. I started my Ph.D. study in UAF in Spring 2015 under the supervision of Dr. Xiangdong Zhang. My current research topic is about the connection between Arctic climate change and Mid-latitude cyclones. I was born and raised in Shenyang, a large industrial city in northeast China. In my spare time, I enjoy mountain biking and cooking.


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