Research Members of the LAOI Group


Note that Q & A for Prospective Graduate Students for Xubin Zeng's Group are provided at the end of this section.

1. Current members:

Prof. Xubin Zeng

Michael Brunke (Research Scientist)

Amir Ouyed Hernandez (Postdoc)


Bill Scheftic (Ph.D. student)

Jorge Arevalo Borquez (Ph.D. student)

Rodrigo Delgado (Ph.D. student)

Xueyan Zhang (Ph.D. student)

Brandon Mitchell (Ph.D. student)

Yike Xu (Ph.D. student)

Ellen Sanden (Ph.D. student)


Lauren Cutler (M.S. student)

Tianyi Hu (M.S. student)


Annalisa Minke (Undergraduate)

Sam Dahl (Undergraduate)


Human dynamics in the LAOI Group throughout the years via group pictures:Group Picture in February 2020

April 2022, November 2021, February 2020, February 2019, August 2017, December 2016 (Nick and Sarah absent), February 2015 (Kerrie and Bill absent), January 2014, March 2013, January 2012, January 2011, February 2009, January 2008, November 2006, August 2005, August 2004, June 2003


2. Previous research members:

Josh Welty                              Postdoctoral Associate, 2021

Ross Dixon                             Postdoctoral Associate, February 2020 - December 2020

Yingjun Wang                             Postdoctoral Visiting Scientist, October 2019 – November 2020

Yuanhao Fang                             Postdoctoral Associate, February 2020-August 2020

Luis Gustavo de Goncalves    Visiting scientist, August 2017-July 2018

Anton Beljaars                        Senior Visiting Scientist, January – February 2018      

Susan Stillman                        Postdoctoral Associate, 2016-Jan 2018

Pieter Hazenberg                    Postdoctoral Associate, 2012-2016

Patrick Broxton                       Postdoctoral Associate, 2014-2016

Koichi Sakaguchi                   Postdoctoral Associate, 2013

David Zeng                             Visiting Scientist, November 2013 – February 2014

Rafael Rosolem                      Postdoctoral Associate, 2011-2013

Paul Shao                                Postdoctoral Associate, November 2011 – October 2012

Zhuo Wang                             Research Scientist, 2006-2011

Cindy Wang                            Visiting Scientist, October 2010 - September 2011

Mike Barlage                          Research Scientist, 2001-2007

Shuwen Zhang                        Visiting Scientist, March 2006 - February 2007

Er Lu                                       Postdoctoral Associate, January 2006 - May 2006

David Zeng                             Research Associate, 2003-2006

Mingyu Zhou                          Visiting Scientist, a few months per year from 1998 to 2005

Yongjiu Dai                            Postdoctoral Associate, 1997-2000

Qiang Zhang                          Visiting Scientist, Fall 1998 – Spring 1999

Qingcun Zeng                         Senior Visiting Scientist, Spring-Summer 2006


3. Former students

For graduate students who received M.S. or Ph.D. with Prof. Zeng as the advisor, co-advisor, or committee member and undergraduate student interns under Prof. Zeng’s mentorship, the full list is available here


4. Q & A for Prospective Graduate Students

Q1: Which degree programs should I apply for?

Answer (A): If you have a B.S. degree, you would apply for M.S. If you have a M.S., you would apply for Ph.D. Our Department offers M.S. and Ph.D. in atmospheric science, hydrology, and hydrometeorology. You only need to choose one.

Q2: Who are your current and previous group members?

A: Check our group pictures (above) and the list of current and previous group members (above)

They work in a variety of fields: university teaching, research (at universities and national laboratories), private sector, higher-education administration, military weather support, science policy, and non-profit organization

Q3: What are your research areas?

A: Our interests are very broad. There are multiple ways to answer this question.

  • Land-atmosphere-ocean interface processes, weather and climate modeling, hydrometeorology, remote sensing, nonlinear dynamics, and big data analytics (e.g., machine learning)
  • check the title of our current grants
  • check the title of our publications
  • check the Program of our recent Research Showcase

Q4: What are the research style and highlights of your group?

A: The news media coverage and research highlights are provided here

Our research style is simply "Think Different" and "Just Do It". More specifically, it is to to address a particular issue using whatever datasets, models, and methods are available and needed along with our research insights. This also includes the big data analytics and artificial intelligence in combination with our physical insights. Everybody in our group is exploring different ideas each day until we have an innovative idea on a specific issue. As ideas don't come at the time and on the subject as we hope for, the topics of our publications have been very diverse.

Q5: What do you look for in my applications?

 A: Besides carefully reading the whole package, I pay particular attention to quantitative background (e.g., scores for math, physics, and statistics courses); any computer programing experience; and willingness to learn and explore new frontiers.

Q6: If I join your group, what will I work on?

A: Most M.S. students have some vague ideas of what they want to do (e.g., hurricanes, global warming, water resources, weather forecasting, climate modeling, satellite remote sensing, machine learning), but don't have the concrete ideas that can be pursued for a M.S. degree within a 2-year time frame. Therefore, I usually sit down with each new student at the beginning to design a thesis topic of mutual interest. With the broad projects we have, we can be quite flexible (see Q3). 

Q7: What types of programming does your group do?

A: Modeling is usually done in Fortran 90 or C. For data analysis, group members typically use Matlab, R, Python, or NCL. If you have any prior programming experience, you will be fine, as group members will help you become familiar with specific programs.   

Q8: What approach do you take to the student-advisor relationship?

A: I expect my students to be fairly independent, although my door is always open for questions and guidance. I also encourage my students to interact with other group members.  

Q9: What activities and meetings does the group participate in?

A: My group meets weekly when a few members, by rotation, present their research results and/or share their experiences (new graphics, datasets, softwares, and tools), and the remaining members of the group ask questions and offer discussion/critiques. We also hold an annual Research Showcase where each member of the group gives a conference-style presentation of their work, followed by questions or comments from the group. Furthermore, we hold occasional (and optional) happy hours and group lunch. 

Q10: How can I prepare myself ahead of time for the demands of my coursework and research?

A: It would be helpful to brush up on math (e.g., differential equations, multivariable calculus), physics (e.g., physics, thermodynamics, fluid mechanics), and computing (e.g., introduction to computing). If you have no programming experience, a powerful and fairly easy language to learn is Matlab.   

Q11: What does a research assistantship entail?

A: When funds are available, half-time research assistantships (including the coverage of tuitions) are awarded to group members during the academic year. Being a graduate student supported by half-time research assistantship to do coursework and research is akin to a full time training. I don't keep track of hours, but I do expect students to provide regular updates on their research progresses.