Graduate Students


Jennifer  Alspach, Atmospheric Sciences: MS (R. Collins)
Jennifer Alspach  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: PhD (U. Bhatt)
Jon Allen
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 traveled 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 projection 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: PhD (I. Polyakov)
During my M.Sc. in "CTill Baumannlimate 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!


















Cece Borries-Strigle, Atmospheric Sciences: PhD (U. Bhatt)
I am currently working on two projects. The first is studying wildfire                                                                             Cece Borries-Strigle              predictability with the Alaska EPSCOR Boreal Fires team; the second is researching Arctic sea ice predictability in relation to oceanic heat transport as part of the SIPN2 project. Both projects focus on using climate models to improve the predictability of the Arctic climate.
Before beginning my PhD studies, I completed a MS in Atmospheric Sciences at UAF where I studied changes in precipitation in Alaska due to the Pacific Decadal Oscillation. My undergraduate degree is a BS in Physics from University of Illinois (UIUC) with a concentration in atmospheric sciences.
Additionally, I have worked as Chief Weather Observer at the Blue Hill Observatory outside of Boston, Massachusetts and have taught at the Challenger Learning Center in Kenai, Alaska. My hobbies include flying, distance running, and hiking throughout Alaska.













Hannah Brink, Atmospheric Sciences: MS (N. Mölders)


Maryam Bukhader, Atmospheric Sciences: PhD (U. Bhatt)
 I'm originally from Al Ahsa, located in the east of Saudi Arabia. I                                                                                        completed my M.A. degree in Geography of Maryam BukhaderEnvironment 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. (












Jonathan Chriest, Atmospheric Sciences: MS (U. Bhatt)
Jonathan ChriestI started at UAF in the Fall of 2019 as an M.S. student working with Dr. Uma Bhatt after completing a Bachelor’s degree in Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Washington in Seattle. While at the UW, I worked for the Northwest Avalanche Center on an outreach and research project studying the reach of avalanche forecasts and education. I first came to Fairbanks during the summer of 2018 as a Pathways Student with the National Weather Service and worked on a project on coastal flooding. I’ll be shifting gears yet again to study fire weather in Alaska, specifically examining the relationship between fire starts and lightning, convective precipitation, weather patterns, and fuel moisture on a seasonal scale and during fire outbreaks. I also continue to work for the National Weather Service through the NOAA Pathways Program. My hobbies include skiing, running, biking, and playing basketball.









 Satyaki Das, Atmospheric Sciences: PhD (R. Collins)





Stanley Edwin, Atmospheric Sciences: Fire Weather: PhD (N. Mölders)
Stanley EdwinMy 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: PhD (U. Bhatt)
I was raised in Minnesota and received my B.S. in Meteorology from the                                                                                          University of Oklahoma School of Amy HendricksMeteorology (tornado country!). With Dr. John Walsh as my advisor, on a MS with a group under Dr. Kazuyuki Saito on a project titled “Past, Present and Future States and Variations of the late Quaternary Permafrost Subsystem”. I am now working on climate drivers of tundra vegetation change in the Yukon Kuskokwim Delta. My interests include polar and tropical climates, atmosphere-ocean interactions, and climate change.













Joshua Hostler, Atmospheric Sciences: PhD (N. Mölders)





Michael Lundberg, Atmospheric Sciences: PhD (I. Polyakov)
I’m currently enjoying my nth career adjustment, after working in the oil,
mining, wool processing industries in various roles, in this and the last                  Michael Lundberg
century,  in various places, hot and cold.  I’ve also been a school teacher
and weather forecaster, and failed to become a pilot at one stage.  
 I like to tell people that I’m from New Zealand, which is mostly true. 
The highest degree I did was an MS in mechanical engineering (NC State),
 which was done after the last time I ever worked as an engineer. 
My undergraduate education was mostly mathematics.  Now, my focus is on
the Arctic ocean and scientific insights emerging from the NABOS data
(with Igor Polyakov’s group).




Dolly More, Atmospheric Sciences: MS (I. Polyakov)
 Dolly MoreI am Dolly More, and I am from Mumbai, India.  I did my bachelor’s in
physics from Mumbai University and masters in Atmospheric Sciences
from Pune University. For my thesis, I focused on air-sea interactions
in the Bay of Bengal at Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Pune.
After graduating, I worked on a project to study upper atmospheric
turbulence. Later, I worked on ‘Metropolitan Air Quality and Weather
Services’ (MAQWS) project, where I studied atmospheric pollutants of
various Indian cities. I am currently a UAF graduate student working with
Igor Polyakov on Arctic Oceanography. Besides work, I enjoy trekking and
stargazing, so I'm looking forward to hiking in the Alaskan Ranges and
doing some Aurora Hunting.








Akila Sampath, Atmospheric Sciences: PhD (N. Mölders)
My current research at UAF focuses on seasonal fire weather forecast                                                                                     and influence of wildfire within the Aklia SampathAlaska region by applying the Canadian forest fire indices. My academic interest also includes physical and dynamical processes strengthening the Arctic wildfire.











Tyler Summers, Atmospheric Sciences: MS (N. Mölders)





Han Tang, Space Physics: PhD (X. Zhang)
 I was born and raised in China and received my B.S. in physics from              Han Tang
New Mexico State University. I joined UAF in 2016 and awarded a M.S.
in space physics in 2020. Currently I am working with Dr. Xiangdong
Zhang on understanding the physical mechanism and processes that
drive generation and evolution of Arctic storms/cyclones in the
decreasing sea ice environment through comprehensive data analysis
and climate model simulations. In my spare time, I enjoy reading history
of the Six Dynasties and listening to impressionist music. 





Sarah Thunberg, Atmospheric Sciences: MS (J. Walsh)





Zak Tourville, Physics: MS (U. Bhatt)
Zak TourvilleI studied Physics at the University of California Santa Cruz then worked for several years as a high school science and math teacher. My current research interest is looking for predictability in Arctic sea ice extent using data analysis. I am also interested in science education and communication.
















James White, Atmospheric Sciences: MS (J. Walsh)





Yang Yang, Atmospheric Sciences, Arctic Climate Change: PhD (X. Zhang)
Yang YangI 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. (