2021-2023 Fellows

Jacob Drucker - Committee on Evolutionary Biology

I am interested in how animals interact with tropical climates over ecological and evolutionary time. I use weather radars to study the aeroecology of Colombia, and behavioral and molecular data to study the ecological plasticity of birds in the tropical Andes. Sometimes I stop looking for birds in leu of tacos or dim sum.

Sophia Horigan - Ecology & Evolution

For my thesis, I am investigating how global change impacts disease dynamics across a range of systems by combining field data with computational models. In my DSEER project, I am working to build a machine learning model to predict how climate change will impact prevented planting of maize in the midwestern United States. In my free time I like to cook, do yoga, and go on outdoor adventures with my partner.

Samantha Lapp - Physics

My research focuses on climate impacts, particularly on the impacts of extreme heat. As part of this program, I use machine learning methods to understand how prevented maize acres, i.e. the number of flooded corn fields, will change under current climate projections. In my free time I like to boulder, bike, and explore Chicago!

2020-2022 Fellows

Ander Feistritzer - Statistics

I’m a first-year MS student in statistics, and I study large-scale modelling and dynamical systems. For the DSEER program, I plan to do research in environmental engineering, with a focus on ecological modeling and restoration strategies in light of the climate crisis.

In my free time, I have been fostering cats. I also love to bake for my friends, garden, and in pre-COVID times, explore the coffee shops all around Chicago.

Raphael Rossellini - Statistics

I am a first year Statistics M.S. student interested in researching methods of interpreting deep learning models, particularly ones within climate science.

In my spare time I enjoy playing tennis and Italian cooking.

Giorgio Sarro - Geophysical Sciences

My research focuses on the study of Extratropical Cyclones – the storms that bring much of the weather we experience in the midlatitudes, including Chicago. I am interested in exploring how these cyclones are impacted by variation in their environment (including changes in season, climate, or region of the globe), and vice-versa how cyclones impact the environment and our society.

I am originally from Italy, but I have lived in France, Germany, and now the US. I enjoy learning about new cultures, foods, and taking long walks in nature.

2019-2021 Fellows

Katie Dixon - Ecology & Evolution

As part of DSEER, I’m working with an interdisciplinary team to understand how well statistical models can use historical variability in weather to predict impacts to agricultural yields under climate change. My thesis project looks at how climate and host diet influences disease ecology in the Douglas-fir tussock moth- baculovirus system.

In my spare time, I like to identify species and look for cool bugs.
Amanda Farah - Physics

I’m a third-year PhD student in the physics department studying gravitational wave astrophysics, and for the DSEER program I am doing a project on cold airmass movement in the mid-latitude regions under climate change.

I’m from the Philadelphia area and am a proud parent of many many plants.

Maria Hernandez Limon – Geophysical Sciences

I am currently working on the crop yields project to explore how well statistical models predict changes in crop yields.

I like spending time by the lake and collecting cool rocks!

Harshil Sahai - Economics

As a part of the DSEER program, I am working with a team to understand how statistical models predict the future climate impacts on agricultural yields, and how we can test the efficacy of these popular methods. Outside of this, I work on a variety of topics on the economics of the environment and education policy, focused on developing countries.

I’m originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, and enjoy hiking and road biking whenever I get a chance.

Daniel Smith – Committee on Evolutionary Biology

I am a 4th year PhD student in the Committee on Evolutionary Biology in which I study theoretical ecology with an emphasis on tree communities. For the DSEER program, I am working on a climate emulator that aims to provide a computationally cheap method of analyzing global circulation models.

In my free time, I enjoy writing, practicing piano, and studying languages.


Yuqi Song - Public Policy

I am a 3rd year PhD student of Harris with research interest in the field of energy/environmental economics, currently working on projects studying the behavior responses and socioeconomic impacts of weather forecasts and disaster alarms in China, the changes of jet-stream dynamics under climate change and the development of the Chinese energy system.

I am from Guangzhou, China, a city that never snows, so I actually have been enjoying the frozen snowy Chicago winter over the past six years.


Haynes Stephens - Geophysical Sciences

My research focuses on understanding how climate conditions influence crop production around the world and assessing the future of global food security.

In my spare time I like to do other stuff.

2018-2020 Fellows

Jim Franke - Geophysical Sciences

My research broadly focuses on the impacts of climate change on the global food system. I use a variety of global simulations and quantitative methods to better understand how crop production may be challenged by a changing climate.

I like to cook and run in my free time. 

Jessica Kunke - Statistics

As a DSEER fellow, my research focused on developing a statistical model for solar irradiance forecasting, with applications in solar power distribution and forecasting. 

In my free time I love to hike, read, and enjoy good food with other people.

Takuya Kurihana - Computer Science

 My research project (“Clouds” project) aligns interdisciplinary science fields across Computer science and Climate/Weather science to develop data-driven operational cloud classification tools enabling us to find new cloud patterns from meteorological satellite “Big Data”.

I like being active outside (running, surfing, soccer) and traveling to other countries and finding cozy cafés in Chicago.

Rahul Subramanian – Ecology & Evolution

As a DSEER fellow, my research focuses on understanding how viruses such as dengue and COVID-19 spread and re-emerge in large populations and the role that climate variables such as temperature and rainfall and socioeconomic variables such as population density may play in driving these epidemics.

In my free time, I enjoy reading and practicing taekwondo.  

Ziwei Wang - Geophysical Sciences

My research interest falls into understanding the future projection of convective extreme events and their societal impacts.

I came from Qinhuangdao, Hebei, China. I watch soccer sometimes (Hala Madrid) as a hobby.