Project Alumni


Personnel who have graduated, finished their programs, or completed their service to the project

Postdoctoral Researchers and Graduate Students

Lauriana Gaudet headshot

Lauriana Gaudet

Postdoctoral Researcher

Lauriana Gaudet will be a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Atmospheric Sciences Research Center starting in the late summer working under Dr. Kara Sulia and Dr. Chris Thorncroft. Her Ph.D. work focuses on identifying sensitivities of high-impact weather events to cloud microphysics through forecast ensembles. She is looking forward to combining her numerical weather prediction expertise with machine learning techniques to address AI2ES goals associated with winter weather prediction. Lauriana anticipates earning her Ph.D. in Atmospheric Sciences during the summer and earned her B.S. in Atmospheric Sciences at Lyndon State College.

Undergraduate Research Assistants

Grant Eckstein

Grant Eckstein

Undergraduate Researcher

Grant Eckstein is an undergraduate student at the University of Oklahoma pursuing a bachelor’s degree in computer science. His research focuses on convective initiation prediction using deep learning. His position is funded by Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies (CIMMS).

Nathan Erickson headshot

Nathan Erickson

Undergraduate Researcher

Nathan is a student at Iowa State University, where he is majoring in meteorology, with minors in economics and geographic information systems. This summer, he will be working on training, evaluation, and verification of machine learning models for the Warn-On Forecast System (WoFs), a high-resolution model for severe weather forecasting. Outside of meteorology, he greatly enjoys reading, playing video games, running, and spending time with friends and family.

Conner Flansburg

Conner Flansburg

Undergraduate Researcher

Conner Flansburg is a student at the University of Oklahoma, where he is studying computer science. This summer he is working with Dr. Diochnos, and together they are researching how current machine learning models are affected by poisoning attacks. They are particularly interested in examining how models meant to predict rare events (such as tornados) will perform when noise is introduced. 

Josh Friesen

Josh Friesen

Undergraduate Researcher

Joshua Friesen is an undergraduate student studying software engineering and mathematics at Fresno Pacific University. His work in the AI2ES program is focused on the research and development of XAI techniques that better understand models trained with multi-band data. In his free time he enjoys playing volleyball, tennis, and piano.

Andrew Justin

Andrew Justin

Undergraduate Researcher

Andrew Justin is a Research Assistant at the University of Oklahoma currently working on the automated detection of fronts via machine learning. He has a passion for coding, storm chasing, and severe weather forecasting. His position is funded by NOAA.

Kaelia Okamura

Kaelia Okamura

Undergraduate Researcher

Kaelia Okamura is an undergraduate senior at San Diego State University studying Applied Mathematics with a double minor in Statistics and Linguistics. Her work with AI2ES will focus on predicting winter weather using AI and ML. She is excited to be part of this diverse winter weather group and looks forward to learning more about and applying these AI and ML methods to her work with NYS Mesonet images in order to more accurately predict winter weather within this area. Her position is funded byNOAA Cooperative Science Center in Atmospheric Sciences and Meteorology (NCAS-M).

Joshua Pan headshot

Joshua Pan

Undergraduate Researcher

Joshua Pan is an undergraduate atmospheric science student at Cornell University, where he is conducting research with idealized atmospheric general circulation models. In the 2021 AI2ES REU program, he is applying machine learning methods to diagnose visibility and precipitation types from New York State Mesonet camera images. His leisure pursuits include cycling, skiing, and PC flight simulators.

Jordan Robinson

Jordan Robinson

Undergraduate Researcher

Jordan Robinson is an undergraduate student at Rhodes College majoring in Physics. He graduated the valedictorian at Memphis Catholic High School. He is currently working with AI2ES as a research student, focusing on using machine learning techniques to improve 0-3hr hail forecasts.

L. Spychalla head shot

Lydia Spychalla

Undergraduate Researcher

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.

Colin Willingham

Colin Willingham

Undergraduate Researcher

Colin Willingham is currently a participant in the REU program under the AI2ES division. He is starting his Senior year at OU and plan on getting his MBA in the dual degree program that OU sponsors with the Gene Rainbolt School of Business, so that he will finish in an additional year. His position is funded by NOAA.

External Advisory Board

Bill Gail head shot

Dr. Bill Gail

Global Weather Corporation

Discipline: Weather applications for business

Sector: Private industry

Dr. Gail is co-founder and Chief Technology Officer of Global Weather Corporation, a provider of precision forecasts for weather-sensitive business sectors, and was the 2014 President of the American Meteorological Society.  He was previously a Director in the Startup Business Group at Microsoft, Vice President of mapping products at Vexcel Corporation, and Director of Earth science programs at Ball Aerospace.  Dr. Gail received his undergraduate degree in Physics and his PhD in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University, where his research focused on physics of the Earth’s magnetosphere.  During this period, he spent a year as cosmic ray field scientist at South Pole Station.

Dr. Gail is a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society and a lifetime Associate of the US National Academy of Sciences.  He was the co-chair of their 2017 Earth Sciences Decadal Survey, served on their Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate, and has participated on many prior National Academies committees including the 2012 review of the National Weather Service and the 2007 Earth Sciences Decadal Survey.  He serves or has served on a variety of other editorial, corporate, and organizational boards including the US Commerce Data Advisory Council.  His book Climate Conundrums: What the Climate Debate Reveals About Us was released in 2014, and his opinion pieces have been published in The New York Times, USA Today, and elsewhere.

Team Members

Sid Boukabara headshot

Dr. SID BouKABARA

Government Collaborator

Dr. Boukabara is a principal scientist at the NESDIS’s Center for Satellite Applications and Research (STAR). His main scientific activities include leading technology maturation projects and in particular exploring new numerical approaches such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) to improve the Nation’s usage of satellite data in NOAA’s prediction systems. He is co-chair of the NOAA AI executive committee, helping establishing a NOAA-wide AI strategy and the NOAA AI Center. Dr. Boukabara received the Ingénieur degree in electronics and signal processing from the National School of Civil Aviation (ENAC), in Toulouse, France (1994), the M.S. degree from the National Polytechnic Institute of Toulouse, France the same year and the Ph.D. degree in remote sensing from the Denis Diderot University, Paris, France (1997).