Senior Leadership Team
Dr. Amy Mcgovern
Dr. McGovern is the PI for AI2ES. She is a Lloyd G. and Joyce Austin Presidential Professor at the University of Oklahoma where she has a dual-appointment in the School of Computer Science and the School of Meteorology. Dr. McGovern’s research focuses on developing and applying AI techniques to a variety of real-world applications, with a special focus on severe weather. Dr. McGovern earned her PhD. in Computer Science from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and her B.S. (honors) in Math/Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University.
Dr. Chris Thorncroft
Dr. Thorncroft is a co-PI for AI2ES. He is Director of the Atmospheric Sciences Research Center at the University at Albany. His research is concerned with weather and climate in the tropics and extratropics. Emphasis is given to improving knowledge and understanding of the dynamics of high-impact weather systems through analysis of observations and modeling. He also directs the NYS Mesonet as well as the UAlbany Center of Excellence in Weather and Climate Analytics which is devoted to establishing applied research partnerships with the private sector.
Dr. Imme Ebert-Uphoff
Dr. Ebert-Uphoff is a co-PI for AI2ES. She is a Research Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the Machine Learning Lead at the Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere (CIRA), both at Colorado State University. Her research focuses on the use of data science methods, including causal discovery and machine learning, to applications in climate and weather. Dr. Ebert-Uphoff received M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD, and the equivalent of B.S. and M.S. degrees in mathematics from the University of Karlsruhe, Germany (now known as KIT).
Dr. Ruoying “Roy” He
Dr. He is a co-PI for AI2ES. He is a Goodnight Innovation Distinguished Professor in the Department of Marine, Earth, and Atmospheric Sciences at North Carolina State University. His research expertise spans from coastal circulation dynamics and air-sea interaction to biophysical interactions. As the director of the Ocean Observing and Modeling Group, he conducts coastal ocean observations, remote sensing data analyses, and leads the development of prediction models of ocean circulation, air-sea-wave interactions, physical-biogeochemical couplings, as well as data assimilation. Dr. He earned his PhD. in Physical Oceanography from the University of South Florida. Prior to joining the NC State, he was a research scientist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.
Dr. Philippe Tissot
Dr. Tissot is a co-PI for AI2ES. He is the Conrad Blucher Institute Chair for Coastal Artificial Intelligence and an Associate Research Professor at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. Dr. Tissot’s research focuses on the development and operational application of AI methods for analysis and prediction of coastal processes. Projects include developing operational predictions for navigation, contributions to coastal conservation and emergency management, and work on relative sea level rise and coastal flooding. Dr. Tissot earned a Ph.D. in Nuclear Engineering from Texas A&M University, College Station, and a Diploma in Physics Engineering from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Lausanne.
Dr. ann bostrom
Dr. Bostrom is the Weyerhaeuser endowed Professor of Environmental Policy at the Daniel J. Evans School of Public Policy and Governance, University of Washington. She researches risk perception, risk communication, and decision-making under uncertainty, with a focus on mental models of hazardous processes. Projects include interview, survey and experimental research on perceptions, communication and decision making about climate change, earthquake early warning, and extreme weather forecasts and warnings. Dr. Bostrom earned her PhD. in Policy Analysis from Carnegie Mellon University, her M.B.A from Western Washington University, and her B.A. in English from the University of Washington.
Dr. Phillip davis
Dr. Davis serves a lead curriculum developer for the AI2ES project developing the AI is GIS certificate and courses. Dr. Davis is a professor of computer science at partner school Del Mar College in Corpus Christi Texas. He is part of a team of four educators at Del Mar College responsible for promoting the AI2ES project with the nation’s two year college community. Phillip will lead the new AI2ES curriculum development during year 1 and then build the new certificate program in years 2 and 3 with the plan to expand the program adoption by other two year colleges nationwide in years 4 and 5.
Dr. Julie Demuth
Dr. Demuth is a Research Scientist at NCAR in the Mesoscale and Microscale Meteorology (MMM) Lab with the Weather Risks and Decisions in Society (WRaDS) research group. Her research focuses on hazardous weather risk communication, risk perception, and decision-making with expert groups (forecasters, emergency managers, etc.) and members of the public. Her BS and MS are in Atmospheric Science, and her PhD is in Communication.
Dr. David John Gagne
Dr. Gagne is a Machine Learning Scientist and head of the Analytics and Integrative Machine Learning group at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. His research focuses on developing explainable AI systems for a wide range of Earth System Science challenges, including predicting high impact weather and emulating computationally demanding physical models. He has led the development of multiple interactive short courses on machine learning for atmospheric science. Dr. Gagne received his Ph.D., M.S., and B.S. in meteorology from the University of Oklahoma.
Dr. nathan snook
Dr. John Williams
Dr. Hamed Alemohammad
Dr. Hamed Alemohammad is the Chief Data Scientist and Executive Director at Radiant Earth Foundation, leading the development of Radiant MLHub- the open repository for geospatial training data and models. He has extensive expertise in machine learning, remote sensing and imagery techniques particularly in developing new algorithms for multi-spectral and passive/active microwave observations. He serves on the Technical Advisory Boards of Lacuna Fund and Enabling Crop Analytics At Scale (a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation initiative). Prior to joining Radiant Earth, he was a Research Scientist at Columbia University. Hamed received his PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering from MIT in 2014. Member of the AI2ES Industrial Advisory Board.
Dr. John Allen
Dr. Allen is an Associate Professor of Meteorology in the Department of Earth Sciences, and Director of the Earth and Ecosystem Ph.D. program at Central Michigan University. His research spans the mesoscale to climate scales, particularly through the use of observational, reanalysis and climate model datasets together with statistical modeling frameworks, including work providing fundamental understanding the mechanisms through which climate variability influences severe thunderstorms. His interest in AI/ML has derived through the need for ways to manage the challenges of big data for end users, and efficient approaches to filter such datasets to discover processes. Dr. Allen completed his education at the University of Melbourne, Australia, receiving a Bachelor of Science with a double major in Applied Mathematics and Meteorology, First Class Honors Meteorology Research, and a Ph.D. in Climate Science in 2013.
Dr. chuck anderson
Dr. Anderson is a professor in the Department of Computer Science at Colorado State University. His research and teaching is focused on artificial intelligence and neural network algorithms for reinforcement learning, brain-computer interfaces and high-dimensional data. Prof. Anderson earned M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Computer Science from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
Dr. Elizabeth “Libby” Barnes
Dr. Nick Bassill
Dr. Bassill is the Director of Research & Development at UAlbany’s Center of Excellence. Dr. Bassill applies his background in numerical weather prediction, forecasting, and data analysis to “real-world” weather problems in and near the state of New York. These are often complex problems which require a synthesis of weather data and domain-specific data such as utility outages, road salt, or school closures. This work requires extensive outreach to non-meteorologists, and necessitates easily digestible information tailored for these decision makers. Through his affiliation with the NYS Mesonet, Dr. Bassill also creates a wealth of products and tools for use by operational forecasters and domain experts to maximize this resource. Finally, Dr. Bassill conducts original research on challenging forecast topics with both undergraduates and graduates at UAlbany.
Charlie is an Associate Scientist on the Analytic and Integrative Machine Learning (AIML) team at NCAR. He earned a B.S. in Meteorology from MSU Denver and completed his Master’s in Hydrology from Boise State with research interests focused on the intersection of food, water, and energy. Ongoing research projects include using ML to emulate computationally expensive physical models and using semi-supervised learning approaches for prediction of high impact weather.
Ms. Betz is the Director of Workforce Programs for Corporate Services and oversees Institutional Strategic Accreditations at Del Mar College. In collaboration with institutional, government, and industry partners, she leads in the development of workforce initiatives creating career pathways for secondary and post-secondary students. In addition, she holds the rank of Major currently serving in the United States Army Reserves specializing in Imagery and Geospatial analysis. Dara received her MBA from University of Phoenix and B.A. in Criminal Justice from Temple University.
Don Berchoff is the CEO of TruWeather Solutions, a micro-weather analytics company that is building weather resiliency into UAS and e-VTOLs operations. A highly successful military leader, meteorologist, technologist and business entrepreneur, Don has 40 years-experience in weather, aviation and logistics, during which he designed and led regional and global aviation weather operations centers, co-authored the FAA NEXGEN Weather CONOPS and led all ground operations at Manas Air Base, Kyrgyzstan (2007-2008.) As a Senior Executive Service member, he led the NWS Science and Technology Directorate (2008-2012) and was responsible for the transition of over $500M in new S&T infrastructure and software applications into NOAA operations. Don and the TruWeather team are delivering on a 3-year promise to reduce micro-weather uncertainty for Beyond Visual Line of Sight operations, with a focus on over-the-horizon” hard-to-detect weather hazards. TruWeather’s efforts seek to replace the loss of the “human sensor”, the pilot, on board the aircraft and increase airframe revenue generation and effectiveness when weather is marginal for operations. TruWeather is accelerating the deployment of novel low-altitude weather sensing technology through two NASA “urban weather sensor testbed” projects in Hampton, VA and deployment of the regular operations of the first ever commercial weather drone in Grand Forks, ND. These sensors, coupled with TruWeather’s micro-weather services, are already improving the quality of low altitude micro-weather hazard detection and alert notifications to enhance operator and airspace management safety. Don leads the ASTM F38 Weather Supplemental Data Service Provider group developing weather specifications for UAS Traffic Management and Advanced Air Mobility systems.
Dr. Jerald “Jerry” Brotzge
Dr. Brotzge is a Research Scientist and Program Manager of the New York State Mesonet at the University at Albany. Dr. Brotzge brings decades of experience working with data networks and research-to-operations (R2O). Dr. Brotzge leads a team focused on the collection, quality control, archival and dissemination of high-quality environmental data for the state of New York. Collecting over one million observations per day, the NYSM system includes innovative atmospheric, snow, and vertical profiling sensors, and efforts are now underway with local NWS and national NOAA research centers to integrate these new data into operations. Dr. Brotzge’s research has concentrated on the development and improvement of weather observing systems, forecast products, and R2O applications
Matthew Cappucci is an atmospheric scientist and meteorologist who works in TV, radio, print and digital media. He was born on Cape Cod, Massachusetts and attended Sturgis Charter Public School in Hyannis, where he earned an International Baccalaureates diploma. Thereafter, he matriculated into Harvard University, where he designed his own atmospheric sciences major through cross-enrollment at MIT. He’s been with MyRadar since August of 2021. Matthew is an avid storm chaser, world traveler and adventurer. He has chased more than a dozen tornadoes, stood in the eye of a hurricane, flown beneath the northern lights and drive a UHaul van through the Arctic tundra. He’s also an “umbraphile,” traveling thousands of miles every few years to stand in the shadow of the moon during total solar eclipses. His truck looks like a dimpled golf ball from all the times it’s been pelted by softball-sized hail.
In addition to working at MyRadar, Matthew delivers forecasts on FOX5 in Washington D.C.. He also works for The Washington Post and WAMU, the local NPR affiliate. Outside of weather, he is a college admissions consultant and also teaches public speaking classes. His book “Looking Up” will be published and released in August. He makes frequent appearances on international television outlets. In his free time, Matthew can usually be found working. He doesn’t have free time, nor does he want it. He is a devout Waffle House supporter.
Ms. Caruso is currently an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Del Mar College. Prior to this she was an adjunct instructor and the Engineering Program Coordinator II for Engineering Recruitment and STEM Outreach at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi (TAMUCC). She holds a BS degree in Control Systems Engineering Technology, an MS in Education and an MS in Computer Science all from TAMUCC. Caruso’s experience includes coordinating outreach activities in the STEM fields to remove the stigma of the sciences in the community.
Waylon Collins is a Senior Meteorologist with the National Weather Service (NWS) Weather Forecast Office in Corpus Christi, Texas. During Mr. Collins’ 30 year tenure with the NWS, he has developed expertise in the operational forecasting of meteorological, hydrological, marine, and coastal conditions, events, and phenomena to benefit aviation, marine, coastal, and fire weather interests, and to benefit the general public. In addition, Mr. Collins has issued warnings for rapidly-developing hazardous and potentially life-threatening events, and has provided decision support services to local emergency management officials in connection with forecasts of hazardous meteorological, hydrological, marine, and coastal events. Waylon has conducted research and co-authored peer-reviewed Journal articles in the areas of tornadogenesis and lightning climatology, and has collaborated with Dr. Philippe Tissot at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi for over 15 years, which resulted in the co-authorship of peer-reviewed Journal articles on the application of machine learning to thunderstorm prediction, and now fog prediction in connection with AI2ES. Waylon is a member of the American Meteorological Society Artificial Intelligence Applications to Environmental Science Committee. He obtained a MS in Atmospheric Science from the University of California-Los Angeles in 1991, and a BS in Meteorology from Texas A&M University (College Station) in 1987.
Laura Craven, Research Associate at Horizon Research, Inc. (HRI), received her Bachelor’s Degree in Statistics from North Carolina State University. At HRI, Ms. Craven develops surveys, conducts data analyses, and is also involved in the evaluations of several research projects.
Dr. dimitris diochnos
Dr. Diochnos is an Assistant Professor in the School of Computer Science at the University of Oklahoma. Dr Diochnos works in artificial intelligence and is particularly interested in provable guarantees of machine learning classifiers, especially in situations where the data has been adversarially altered. Dr Diochnos earned his PhD in Mathematical Computer Science from the University of Illinois at Chicago, his Master’s in Mathematics from the University of Athens (Greece) and his B.S. in Informatics and Telecommunications from the University of Athens (Greece).
Ms. Jessica Dula
Jessica A. Dula, Research Associate at Horizon Research, Inc. (HRI), received her Bachelor’s Degree in Middle Grade Mathematics Education from Florida State University. Prior to joining HRI in 2016, Mrs. Dula taught seventh grade mathematics in Chapel Hill, NC and sixth through ninth grade mathematics in Tallahassee, FL. At HRI, Mrs. Dula is a member of various research teams, and she is also involved in the evaluations of several research projects.
Dr. Andrew Fagg
Dr. Christopher A. Fiebrich
Dr. Fiebrich is the Executive Director of the Oklahoma Mesonet and Associate Director of the Oklahoma Climatological Survey at the University of Oklahoma. He is also Adjunct Faculty with the School of Meteorology at OU. His areas of expertise are in mesoscale meteorology and climatology, meteorological instrumentation, and applied meteorology and climatology. He oversees all activities of the Oklahoma Mesonet, including sensor calibrations, field operations, technology and software development, data and climate services, research, and outreach to emergency managers, fire fighters, farmers, and K-20 educators. He earned his B.S. in 1998, M.S. in 2000, and Ph.D. in Meteorology in 2007 from the University of Oklahoma. He is a Steering Committee member of the AASC Mesonet committee and a Certified Consulting Meteorologist of the American Meteorological Society.
Mr. Griffin is founder and Chief Executive Officer of Disaster Tech. Sean served as Director for Incident Management Integration Policy on the US National Security Council, and is an active duty veteran of the U.S. Navy and Naval Nuclear Power Program. During his White House term under President Obama and President Trump, Sean led the Executive Office of the President and inter- agency policy coordination for major disasters and incidents. Additionally, Sean led emergency management training and exercise programs at the U.S. Department of State, Defense Logistics Agency, and National Institute of Health. He also volunteered time to Chair the Federal Sector Emergency Managers Caucus for the International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM), and is a leading member of the Private Sector Committee for the National Emergency Management Association (NEMA). Member of the AI2ES Industrial Advisory Board.
Dr. Eric Grimit
Technology Manager, Applied Meteorology at Vaisala.
Member of the AI2ES Industrial Advisory Board.
Bio coming soon.
Mr. Hatcher is a Research Associate at Horizon Research, Inc. (HRI), where he assists with research and the evaluation of research related to math and science education. He received his Bachelor’s degrees in Astrophysics and Religious Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and taught high school physics for two years before joining HRI in 2021.
Dr. David Hall
Dr. Hall is Data Scientist at NVIDIA. His research focuses on applications of Artificial Intelligence and Deep Learning for the Earth and Space sciences. Previously, Dr. Hall held positions as an Assistant Professor of Research in the Computer Science Department at CU Boulder, and as a Research Scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. He has a broad technical background in theoretical physics, computational fluid dynamics, remote sensing, numerical methods, weather and climate modeling, and artificial intelligence. Before joining NVIDIA, Dr. Hall spent much of the previous decade developing numerical techniques to improve the atmospheric components of the CESM and E3SM global climate models. Dr. Hall earned a PhD in Soft Condensed-Matter Physics from the University of Santa Barbara, CA and a BA in Physics from CU Boulder. Member of the AI2ES Industrial Advisory Board.
Dr. katherine haynes
Dr. Haynes is a Research Scientist at the Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere (CIRA) at Colorado State University. Her research focuses on applying machine learning techniques to atmospheric science-related topics, with a current emphasis on tropical cyclone problems. Dr. Haynes received Ph.D. and M.S. degrees in Atmospheric Science from Colorado State University, a Master of Computer Science degree from Colorado State University, and B.S. degrees in Mathematics and Music Performance/Computer Science from Indiana University.
Dr. Jason Hickey
Dr. Hickey is a senior member of the technical staff in Google. He leads the AI for Weather team in Google Research, focusing on the use of machine learning to improve weather forecasting. Jason holds the Ph.D. and M.S. degrees in Computer Science from Cornell University, and the B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Caltech. He has worked at Google since 2008, in areas including artificial intelligence, internet of things, and global computing infrastructure. He was Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Caltech from 1999-2008, research focusing on programming languages and distributed and scientific computing. Member of the AI2ES Industrial Advisory Board.
Kyle Hilburn is a Research Associate at the Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere (CIRA) at Colorado State University (CSU). His research focuses on using machine learning for quantitative applications of satellite imagery to improve forecasts of high-impact weather and wildfire events. He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University and has received a M.S. in Meteorology from Florida State University and a B.S. in Atmospheric Science from the University of North Dakota.
Dr. cameron homeyer
Dr. Homeyer is an Associate Professor, the Associate Director for Graduate Programs, and the Chesapeake Energy Professor of Climate Systems Science in the School of Meteorology at the University of Oklahoma. His research focuses on radar and satellite meteorology (especially that related to severe and non-severe convective storms), physics and dynamics of the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere, and climate variability and change. He is a primary developer of the Gridded NEXRAD WSR-88D Radar (GridRad; gridrad.org) data set, one of only two widely available 3D multi-radar mosaics over the United States. Dr. Homeyer earned all three of his degrees from Texas A&M University: B.S., Meteorology; M.S., PhD., Atmospheric Sciences.
Dr. Scott King
Ms. Kumler is a scientist working for the Corporative Institute of Environmental Sciences CIRES at NOAA’s Global System’s Laboratory (GSL) in Boulder. She comes from an applied mathematics and atmospheric/oceanic background. She enjoys a variety of projects and public outreach. Most recently, her work has included using deep learning for detection of cyclonic Regions of Interest (ROI) as well as deriving Fire Radiative Power (FRP) with random forests. In her spare time, she’s either playing in the mountains or in the kitchen and enjoys taking semi-professional photos as well as competing in triathlons.
Dr. Ryan Lagerquist
Dr. Ryan Lagerquist is a postdoc at the Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere (CIRA) and NOAA. He received his B.Sc. Honours in Atmospheric Science from the University of Alberta and M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Meteorology from the University of Oklahoma. He has been working at the nexus of machine learning and atmospheric science since 2012. His research has focused mainly on severe-weather prediction. More recently, Ryan’s research has also focused on interpretable deep learning, novel methods for image-to-image translation, and emulating/accelerating physical models.
Dr. Yoonjin Lee
Dr. Yoonjin Lee is a postdoc at the Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere (CIRA). She received her Ph.D. and M.S. degree in Atmospheric Science from Colorado State University and B.S. degree in Environmental Engineering from Ewha Womans University in South Korea. Her research area focuses on applying machine learning techniques to use geostationary satellite data in weather forecasting.
Erica is a bilingual meteorologist. Since graduating from the University of Oklahoma, she’s experienced a wide array of weather in her broadcast meteorology adventures. She’s held previous positions in Oklahoma City, Central California, and The Weather Channel in Atlanta, Georgia. She now brings her skillset to MyRadar providing national forecasts in English and Spanish.
Dr. Antonio Medrano
Dr. Medrano is an Assistant Professor in the Conrad Blucher Institute and the Department of Computing Sciences at Texas A&M University–Corpus Christi. Dr. Medrano works on spatial optimization, and is interested in using artificial intelligence to solve computationally demanding location problems. Dr. Medrano earned his PhD in Computational Geography from the University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB), his Master’s in Multimedia Engineering also from UCSB, and his B.S. in Engineering from Harvey Mudd College.
Dr. Kate Musgrave
Dr. Musgrave is a Research Scientist and the Tropical Cyclone Group Lead at the Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere (CIRA) at Colorado State University. Her research focuses on tropical cyclone structure and evolution and the representation of tropical cyclones in dynamical and statistical models. Dr. Musgrave earned Ph.D. and M.S. degrees in Atmospheric Science from Colorado State University and B.S. degrees in Computer Engineering and Interdisciplinary Studies (Quantitative Sciences) from the University of Florida.
Dr. henry neeman
Dr. Neeman is the Director of the OU Supercomputing Center for Education & Research, Associate Professor in the College of Engineering and Adjunct Associate Professor in the School of Computer Science at the University of Oklahoma, as well as the joint co-manager of the XSEDE Campus Engagement program with Dr. Dana Bruson of Internet2. He also founded and co-leads the Research Computing Facilitators Virtual Residency workforce development program. He received his BS in computer science and his BA in statistics with a minor in mathematics from the University at Buffalo, State University of New York in 1987, his MS in CS from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) in 1990 and his PhD in CS from UIUC in 1996, where he served as a postdoctoral and graduate researcher at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications and the Center for Supercomputing Research & Development.
John J. Nelson
Mr. Nelson is Faculty at Del Mar College in Geospatial Technologies. He is Co-Project Director for the Unmanned Aircraft System Education Technology Consortium (NSF). Mr Nelson completed his M.S EDTech, M.S.GS ABD in Geographic Information Science, Geospatial Surveying and Engineering and Educational Technology at Texas A&M University Corpus Christi and earned a Post Baccalaureate Certification in Secondary Education at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, a BA degree double major History & PolSci at University of Minnesota Duluth and an AAS in Micro Computers and Geographic Information Systems at Del Mar College. He currently holds internationally recognized Geographic Information Science Institutes Professional Certification (GISP) and the US FAA 107 Remote Pilot Authorization License, plus other geospatial technology related industry and academic awards and certificates. He is also a 2019 Hi Tech NSF Educator of the Year Award.
Mr. Nguyen leads the IT division of the Conrad Blucher Institute at the Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi (TAMUCC). His works include designing, developing, and maintaining operational software systems at the Institute. Nguyen also helps the AI2ES team at TAMUCC on processing weather data and mentoring students on programming skills. Some of Nguyen’s area of interests are system designs, ETL, containerization, DevOps, project management, and Agile methodology. He graduated with a M.S in Computer Science at TAMUCC in 2017.
Dr. Corey Potvin
Dr. Potvin is a Research Meteorologist at the NOAA National Severe Storms Laboratory. Dr. Potvin specializes in ensemble prediction of high-impact thunderstorms and is a senior member of the NOAA Warn-on-Forecast research program. Dr. Potvin earned Ph.D and M.S. degrees in Meteorology from the University of Oklahoma and B.S. degrees in Meteorology and Mathematics from Lyndon State College (now Northern Vermont University).
Ms. Brean Prefontaine
Ms. Prefontaine, a Research Associate at Horizon Research, Inc. (HRI), received her Bachelor’s Degree in Physics from Drexel University and her Master’s Degree in Physics from Michigan State University. Her personal research is focused on physics identity development within informal education environments. At HRI, Ms. Prefontaine assists with several evaluations and research projects.
Dr. Jacob Radford
Jacob is a research associate working with AI2ES and CIRA on AI uncertainty visualization. Jacob’s research is always applied and highly interdisciplinary, using AI methods to improve mesoscale winter weather forecasts and developing novel ensemble visualization strategies to communicate snowfall risk and uncertainty. He received a B.S. degree from the University of North Carolina Asheville and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from North Carolina State University.
Dr. Kalai Ramea
Dr. Kalai Ramea manages the Data Science area at Palo Alto Research Center (PARC). Her research interests include applying large-scale data analytics, statistical reasoning, and domain-informed machine learning models to climate and energy sectors. Before PARC, Kalai worked as a researcher at the University of California, Davis, where she developed numerical models in energy, transportation, and climate domains to assess long-term policy impacts of energy-efficient technologies and human behavior. Kalai also worked as a research fellow at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Austria, where she developed an energy systems model that incorporated consumer purchase behavior to analyze long-term climate impacts. She also has over five years of experience as an engineering consultant, where she led and managed systems engineering and design projects. Member of the AI2ES Industrial Advisory Board.
Dr. Matt Rogers
Andrea is a Research Associate at the Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere (CIRA) at Colorado State University (CSU) and a visitor at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) Weather Risks and Decisions in Society (WRaDS) program . Her research focuses on tropical cyclone product development, building datasets for interdisciplinary societal impacts research, improving the R2O(2R) process, and risk communication. She received an MS in atmospheric science from CSU and a BA in mathematics/chemistry from New College of Florida.
Dr. Sean Smith
Dr. Smith, President of Horizon Research, Inc. (HRI), received a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry, a Master’s Degree in Science Teaching, and a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Before joining HRI in 1991, Dr. Smith taught high school chemistry and physics. Dr. Smith leads the evaluations of several projects funded by NSF and the US Department of Education. In addition, he conducts research on science teacher knowledge.
Dr. Michael Starek
Dr. Michael J. Starek is an Associate Professor in Geospatial Systems Engineering at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi (TAMU-CC), Chief Scientist and Director of the Measurement Analytics (MANTIS) Lab with the Conrad Blucher Institute for Surveying and Science. Dr. Starek holds a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from the University of Florida and was formerly a National Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow of the U.S. Army Research Office in affiliation with North Carolina State University. His research focuses on the merging of geomatics, remote sensing, and geospatial computing for precise measurement and analysis of natural and built systems. Dr. Starek is contributing his experience of precise spatial measurements of the coastal environment and his experience in applying AI to such problems to the Coastal AI research component of the institute.
Mr. Stewart is the lead of the Informatics and Visualization Branch with the NOAA Global System Laboratory in Boulder, Colorado. With a unique background in both Meteorology and Computer Science, he has over 20 years of experience in software development for visualizing, processing, distributing, and interacting with geophysical data. Over the last couple of years, his work has expanded to machine learning applications for object identification and improving data processing capabilities along with leveraging commercial cloud capabilities to provide tools and services to efficiently explore the ever growing volumes of data.
Dr. kara sulia
Dr. Sulia is a research associate at the Atmospheric Sciences Research Center (ASRC) at the University at Albany. Her research focuses on parameterization development, particularly in the field of ice microphysics. Further, and importantly for AI2ES, Dr. Sulia serves as the Director of the xCITE Laboratory, a high-end machine learning, data analytics, and scientific visualization facility located at ASRC. Through the implementation of innovative technologies, the xCITE Lab provides resources to the University, public, and private partners with specific climate and weather needs.
Dr. Ryan Torn
Mr. Tyle is the Manager of Departmental Computing for the Department of Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences at the University at Albany, at which he received his M.S. in Atmospheric Science in 1995. He also has a B.A. in Psychology, with emphases on Neuroscience and Cognitive Science, from the University of Rochester. His main interest is promoting the use of free- and open-source software packages, mostly using Python, for the analysis, visualization and sharing of geoscientific datasets. One of UAlbany’s NSF XSEDE Program Campus Champions (along with AI2ES collaborator Dr. Nicholas Schiraldi), Kevin presently serves on the AMS Board on Data Stewardship and on the Strategic Advisory Committee of Unidata.
Dr. Joseph B. Zambon
Dr. Zambon is a Research Assistant Professor in the Ocean Observing and Modeling group within the Department of Marine, Earth, and Atmospheric Sciences at North Carolina State University. His research expertise is in numerical modeling of coupled coastal environmental systems, air-sea interaction, high performance cloud computing, and IT infrastructure. Prior to his faculty position, Dr. Zambon earned his BS in Atmospheric Science from the University at Albany in 2007, MS and PhD from NC State University in 2009 and 2014, and completed postdoctoral research in 2017.
Postdoctoral Researchers and Graduate Students
Undergraduate Research Assistants
Charlotte Cabrera is an undergraduate student at the University of Oklahoma studying Computer Science, with a minor in Math and Sociology. Charlotte works on using machine learning to predict visibility in an area from monocular Mesonet images.
Chris Cepin is an undergraduate student studying meteorology at NC State University. She plans to attend graduate school and afterwards work with the National Weather Service as a Warning Coordination Meteorologist. Her main area of interest is information dissemination to the public, but she is motivated to work in a variety of topic areas depending on where she can be of help. She is working on developing a model that can interpret input images of roadways and other sites in New York as having types of precipitation and amounts of visibility using Machine Learning.
Katie Colburn is an undergraduate research assistant at the Conrad Blucher Institute at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, where she is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology. Katie works on drawing wet/ dry lines on images of the beach which will be used to program an AI to predict beach inundation. She also does work with historical images including scanning and cataloging coastal imagery. In the winter you can find her volunteering with Padre Island National Seashore to help cold-stunned turtles as another part of her job at CBI.
Christian Duff is an undergraduate research assistant at the Conrad Blucher Institute at Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi, pursuing a bachelor degree in Computer Science.
His research focuses on the prediction of water temperature using artificial neural networks for cold stunning events.
Beto Estrada Jr.
Beto Estrada Jr is an undergraduate research assistant at the Conrad Blucher Institute at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, where he is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in computer science with a focus on information systems. He also has a minor in atmospheric science. His research focuses on manipulating real-time Coastal Bend ocean conditions and prediction data and visualizing them through interactive charts for stakeholders to utilize.
Vincent Ferrera is a rising senior undergraduate student at the University of Delaware. He is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Meteorology and Climate Science, with minors in physics and computer science. This summer, he is undertaking a group project as an intern with the AI2ES, which is taking part in the 2022 NWC REU program. The goal of this project is to evaluate and/or increase trust in automatically generated labels derived from visibility and precipitation data from Mesonet images, which will be used to improve winter storm prediction. Outside of his appetite for weather, he has a knack for music, performing in his college’s marching band, and likes to dive into sports analysis.
Kayla Hoffman is an undergraduate student at San Jose State University pursuing a B.S. degree in Meteorology with a concentration in Climate Science. She is currently in the REU program within the AI2ES division and will be starting her senior year at SJSU. Her project focuses on estimating convective updraft characteristics from radar using machine learning.
Matthew Kastl is an Undergraduate Research Assistant at the Conrad Blucher Insititute located at Texas A&M Corpus Christi. He is currently working towards a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science. Matthew’s contributions consist of helping to construct a camera array and data collection system. Using Sterio Vision Technology the array will be used to collect elevation information about a shoreline to later be used for AI training.
Noah Lang is an undergraduate student at Valparaiso University, where he is pursuing bachelor degrees in meteorology and mathematics. His research project focuses on utilizing machine learning to improve thunderstorm prediction in the Warn-on Forecast System.
Ashley Marines is an undergraduate research assistant at the Conrad Blucher Institute at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. She is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Physics, minor in Computer Science, and minor in Mathematics. A student at Del Mar College transferring to Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi in Fall 2022. This summer, she is undertaking a group project as an intern with the AI2ES, which is taking part in the 2022 NSF REU program on applied computing research. Her current focus is prediction of water levels using artificial neural networks.
Hector Marrero is an undergraduate research assistant at the Conrad Blucher Institute at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. He is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science. He works with new interactive touch screens that are being used in the hybrid work environment while learning about how to apply artificial intelligence methods to the environment through the AI2ES online content.
Alex Nozka is an Undergraduate at the University of Oklahoma studying meteorology and computer science. His research focuses on nowcasting tornados via machine learning. When not in school, Alex enjoys watching storms, playing water polo and frisbee golf, and hanging out with friends.
Raven Reese is an undergraduate research assistant specializing in media management for the AI2ES program at the Conrad Blucher Institute. Raven is a senior at Texas A&M University Corpus Christi finishing a B.A. in English, with minors in Creative Writing and Women and Gender Studies. She works to document events and research projects conducted by CBI AI2ES and then communicate important developments in their work across social media platforms. Outside of managing AI2ES outreach in the Gulf Coast, Raven is also an assistant managing editor for the Windward Review, a student-led South Texas literary journal.
Lydia Spychalla is an undergraduate physics student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and is participating in the 2021 AI2ES Research Experiences for Undergrads (REU) program. Her project focuses on using machine learning methods to create 0-3hr hail forecasts for model-forecasted storms. When Lydia isn’t studying the weather, she likes to run, climb trees, and make quilts.
Savannah Stephenson is an undergraduate research assistant at the Conrad Blucher Institute at Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi, pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science. Savannah has not found a focus for her research yet but has interests in machine learning. When not at school or work Savannah enjoys analyzing popular media and writing fiction stories.
Ms. Dubbs is the Program Administrator for AI2ES at the University of Oklahoma. She has worked at OU in varying capacities since moving to Oklahoma in 2006. Prior to her time with OU, she worked with non-profit organizations and a county government agency in Pennsylvania. She obtained her B.S. in Recreation Management from Arizona State University.
Webmaster, Lab Manager
External Advisory Board
Dr. Andrew Barto
University of Massachusetts Amherst (emeritus)
Discipline: Computer Science
Sector: Academia (retired)
Andrew Barto is Professor Emeritus of Computer Science, University of Massachusetts Amherst, having retired in 2012. He received a B.S. with distinction in mathematics from the University of Michigan in 1970, and a Ph.D. in Computer Science in 1975, also from the University of Michigan. He joined the UMass Computer Science Department in 1977 as a Postdoctoral Research Associate, became an Associate Professor in 1982, and a Full Professor in 1991. He served as Chair of the UMass Department of Computer Science from 2007 to 2011. Before retiring he co-directed the UMass Computer Science Autonomous Learning Laboratory, which produced many notable machine learning researchers. He is currently an Associate Member of the UMass Neuroscience and Behavior Program. He serves as an associate editor of Neural Computation, as a member of the Advisory Board of the Journal of Machine Learning Research, and as a member of the editorial board of Adaptive Behavior. Professor Barto is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a Fellow and Life Member of the IEEE. He received the 2004 IEEE Neural Network Society Pioneer Award, the IJCAI-17 Award for Research Excellence, and the University of Massachusetts Neurosciences Lifetime Achievement Award in 20019. He has published over one hundred papers or chapters in journals, books, and conference and workshop proceedings. He is co-author of the book “Reinforcement Learning: An Introduction,” MIT Press, 1998, 2018.
Ms. Mary Glackin
American Meteorological Society / Self-employed
Discipline: Computer Science and Atmospheric Science
Sector: Professional society / Self-employed
Ms. Glackin is the President of the American Meteorological Society. She also serves as Vice-Chair of the Board of Atmospheric Sciences and Climate, National Research Council. From 2015-2019 she was the senior vice president (SVP) for science and forecast operations for The Weather Company, an IBM Business. She is a member of the convening committee for the Science for Climate Action Network and also serves on the visiting committee of the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center providing advice to the director. Ms. Glackin has had a long and distinguished career in public service, including 20 years in the National Weather Service and a five-year tenure as Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration operations. Ms. Glackin has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland.
Dr. William Hsieh
University of British Columbia (retired)
Discipline: Oceanography, AI for oceanography
Sector: Academia (International, retired)
Dr. Hsieh is a professor emeritus in the Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences, at the University of British Columbia in Canada. His research has been primarily on the development of machine learning in the environmental sciences. He is the author of “Machine Learning Methods in the Environmental Sciences”, the first single-authored textbook on this topic.
Dr. Nicol Turner Lee
The Brookings Institution
Discipline: AI and Ethics
Dr. Nicol Turner Lee is a senior fellow in Governance Studies, the director of the Center for Technology Innovation, and serves as Co-Editor-In-Chief of TechTank. Dr. Turner Lee researches public policy designed to enable equitable access to technology across the U.S. and to harness its power to create change in communities across the world. Her work also explores global and domestic broadband deployment and internet governance issues. She is an expert on the intersection of race, wealth, and technology within the context of civic engagement, criminal justice, and economic development.
Dr. Diana Marinez
Texas A&M University Corpus Christi
Sector: Academia (retired)
Bio coming soon.
DR. LORI PEEK
University of Colorado, Natural Hazards Center and Department of Sociology
Discipline: Sociology, Natural Hazards and Risk
Dr. Peek is director of the Natural Hazards Center and professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Colorado Boulder. She is also the leader of the National Science Foundation-supported CONVERGE facility, the Social Science Extreme Events Research (SSEER) network, and the Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Extreme Events Research (ISEEER) network. Peek is co-author of Children of Katrina, author of Behind the Backlash: Muslim Americans after 9/11, and co-editor of Displaced: Life in the Katrina Diaspora. She helped develop FEMA P-1000, Safer, Stronger, Smarter: A Guide to Improving School Natural Hazard Safety, which is the first comprehensive natural hazards-focused school safety guidance for the nation.
Dr. Nick Pidgeon
Cardiff University (Wales, UK)
Discipline: Environmental Psychology and Risk
Sector: Academia (international)
Nick is Professor of Environmental Psychology and Risk at Cardiff University and Director of the Understanding Risk Research Group. His extensive interdisciplinary research portfolio looks at public engagement, communication and decision-making for environmental, energy, and emerging technology risks. He has been a science advisor to the UK Energy and Environment Departments and currently to the UK Department of Transport. He was awarded an MBE by the Queen in 2014 for services to climate change awareness and energy security policy. In 2006 Nick chaired the Cross-Party Parliamentary inquiry ‘Is a Cross-Party Consensus on Climate Change Possible – or Desirable?’ which recommended the setting up of the UK Climate Change Committee, an innovative climate governance mechanism which was the first of its kind in the world. He currently sits on the steering group for the UK Research and Innovation and UK Met Office joint climate resilience program.
Dr. Emilie Roth
Roth Cognitive Engineering
Discipline: Cognitive Psychology
Dr. Roth is owner and principal scientist of Roth Cognitive Engineering. She is a cognitive psychologist by training, and has over 30 years of experience in cognitive analysis and design in a variety of domains including nuclear power plant operations, railroad operations, military command and control, and healthcare. She has supported design of first-of-a-kind systems including next-generation nuclear power plant control rooms; design of collaborative automated systems for airlift planning and monitoring for USTRANSCOM and the Air Mobility Command; and cognitive analysis in support of the Army’s Future Vertical Lift program. She is an associate editor of the Journal of Cognitive Engineering and Decision Making; a fellow of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society; and currently serves as a member of the Board on Human-Systems Integration at the National Academies.
Dr. J. Marshall Shepherd
University of Georgia
Dr. Shepherd is the Georgia Athletic Association Distinguished Professor of Geography and Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Georgia and Director of its Atmospheric Sciences Program. Dr. Shepherd was the 2013 President of American Meteorological Society (AMS). Prior to academia, he spent 12 years as a scientist at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and was Deputy Project Scientist of the Global Precipitation Measurement Mission. Dr. Shepherd is the host of The Weather Channel’s Weather Geeks Podcast and a contributor to Forbes Magazine. He chairs the NASA Earth Science Advisory Committee and has previously served on NOAA’s Science Advisory Board. His research primarily centers around hydrometeorological extremes, urban climate, and the intersection of weather and society. He has received numerous awards including the 2004 White House PECASE Award, the Captain Planet Foundation Protector of the Earth Award, the 2019 AGU Climate Communication Prize, the 2020 Mani L. Bhaumik Award for Public Engagement with Science and the 2018 AMS Helmut Landsberg Award. He received his B.S., M.S. and PhD in meteorology from Florida State University. He has two TEDx talks on climate science and communication that collectively exceed two million viewers. He is routinely asked to brief the media, Congress, and the White House on weather-climate-science related topics.
Dr. Gordon Snyder
Holyoke Community College
Sector: Academia (two-year colleges)
Dr. Snyder is past PI and Director of the National Science Foundation Funded National Center for Information and Communications Technologies at Springfield Technical Community College in Massachusetts, CoPI and Co-Director of the National Center of Optics and Photonics Education at the University of Central Florida, past Visiting Professor at the University of Hartford and currently an Engineering Professor at Holyoke Community College in Massachusetts. He has written four engineering and engineering technology textbooks and have over 34 years of engineering, technology, communications and STEM teaching and grant experience.
In addition to his teaching and work with NSF Centers of Excellence, he have served as the Verizon Next Step New England telecommunications curriculum leader and on several technology boards around the United States including the Microsoft Community College Advisory Council, the Massachusetts Networking and Communications Council and the National Skill Standards Board. He is one of the co-founders of the Hi-Tec Conference, was selected in 2001 as one of the top 15 STEM faculty in the United States by Microsoft and the American Association of Community Colleges, and in 2004 selected as the Massachusetts Network and Communications Council Workforce Leader of the year. His work has always been and continues to be student success focused with a strong emphasis on underrepresented populations.
Dr. Jim Stear
Chevron Energy Technology Company
Discipline: Metocean, Ocean engineering
Bio coming soon.
DR. KIRI WAGSTAFF
Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Oregon State University
Discipline: Computer Science/AI
Sectors: Government and Academia
Dr. Wagstaff is a Principal Researcher in machine learning at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and an associate research professor at Oregon State University. Her research focuses on developing new machine learning methods for use onboard spacecraft and in data archives for planetary science, astronomy, cosmology, and more. She earned a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Cornell University followed by an M.S. in Geological Sciences and a Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS). She received the Lew Allen Award for Excellence in Research and two NASA Exceptional Technology Achievement Medals, and she is a Senior Member of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence. She is passionate about keeping machine learning relevant to real-world problems.
Dr. Laure Zanna
New York University Courant Institute
Discipline: Climate and Ocean Physics/AI
Laure Zanna is a Professor in Mathematics & Atmosphere/Ocean Science at the Courant Institute, New York University. Her research focuses on the dynamics of the climate system and the main emphasis of her work is to study the influence of the ocean on local and global scales. Prior to NYU, she was a faculty member at the University of Oxford in the Department of Physics until 2019, and obtained her PhD in 2009 in Climate Dynamics from Harvard University.
She is the lead principal investigator of the NSF-NOAA Climate Process Team on Ocean Transport and Eddy Energy aiming to improve ocean mesoscale parameterizations in the NCAR, GFDL and LANL numerical models. She is also the director of the project M2LInES: Multiscale Machine Learning In coupled Earth System Modeling to improve coupled climate models with machine learning.
She was the recipient of the 2020 Nicholas P. Fofonoff Award from the American Meteorological Society “For exceptional creativity in the development and application of new concepts in ocean and climate dynamics”. She currently serves as an editor for the Journal of Climate