The McKinnon group

Interesting in joining the group? Scroll down for more information.

Karen McKinnon

Assistant Professor, Statistics, Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, Institute of the Environment

Karen McKinnon is a professor of Statistics and the Environment, and the Pritzker Chair in Environment and Sustainability at the University of California, Los Angeles. Her research sits at the nexus of climate change and statistics, and is aimed at improving our understanding and prediction of climate extremes, variability, and change. She is a 2021 Packard Fellow in Science and Engineering, and has served as an advisor for both city governments and private companies regarding climate change. Prof. McKinnon received her B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. from Harvard University, as well as an M.Sc. from Victoria University of Wellington. She was an Advanced Study Program post-doc at the National Center for Atmospheric Research and an Applied Scientist at Descartes Labs before joining UCLA.

Email: kmckinnon at ucla dot edu
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Suqin Duan

Postdoctoral Scholar, Institute of the Environment

Suqin is a postdoctoral scholar at the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, UCLA. She works with Prof. Karen McKinnon at UCLA and Dr. Isla Simpson at NCAR to understand the role of large scale atmospheric circulation and land surface in affecting temperature variability. She will apply a variety of statistical methods to predict the temperature distribution. Previously, she was a postdoctoral research associate in the Program in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, Princeton University, working with Prof. Stephan Fueglistaler and Dr. Kirsten Findell. She completed her Ph.D. in 2019 working on water isotopes and tropical convection, advised by Prof. Jonathon Wright at Tsinghua University and Prof. David Romps at UC Berkeley.

Email: sqduan at ucla dot edu

Nathan Hwangbo

Third year graduate student, Statistics

Nathan is a second-year PhD student in the Department of Statistics at UCLA. His current research is focused on better understanding long-term climate variability, using tree ring data to develop Bayesian models for climate reconstruction before the widespread use of meteorological instruments.

Email: nhwangbo at ucla dot edu

Kyle McEvoy

Second year graduate student, Statistics

Kyle is a first-year PhD student in the Department of Statistics at UCLA. His current research is focused on multiple hypothesis testing in climate research, exploring how correlation through space and time impact the false discovery rate and affect inference.

Email: kylemcevoy at ucla dot edu

Hannah Myint

First year graduate student, IoES

Hannah is a first-year PhD student in the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability at UCLA. She works with Pablo Saide and Karen McKinnon to better quantify the effect of climate change on fire severity and assess the resulting impact of air pollution on urban populations.

Email: hmyint at ucla dot edu


Wenwen Kong, IoES post-doc.
Sam Baugh, Statistics PhD (2022). Now a NSF-funded post-doc in the CASCADE group at Berkeley Lab.
Kristen Fukunaga, Mathematics BS (2021). Now a masters student at UW Statistics.
Dhruv Chakraborty, Computational Mathematics BS (2021). Now a Product Scientist at
Avery Robinson, Statistics BS (2021). Now at Silicon Valley Bank.
Stephanie Doe, Applied Mathematics BS (2021). Now a Data Scientist at MOBE.
Russell Horowitz, IoES Master's (2021). Now a Post-Masters Research Assistant at the Joint Global Change Research Institute.
Chris Reed, IoES BS (2020). Now a Data Analyst at wikiHow.
Pete Jourgensen, Computer Science Master's degree (2019). Now a Data Scientist at Deep 6 AI.

Prospective undergraduate students

At this time, I am not able to take on undergraduate students in the group. Please check back in later!

Prospective graduate students

If you are interested in joining the McKinnon group as a graduate student for the 2023-2024 academic year, please send me an email with your CV and a brief (1-2 paragraphs) statement of your research background and interests before early December. Please indicate in your email that you have read this information, as well as which department (see below) you are planning to apply to. I will be on maternity leave during admissions season, so this information will help me provide guidance to the admissions committee in advance. At this time, I am particularly interested in students with a primary focus on climate (rather than statistics), although am always open to any applicants with a particularly strong fit to the group.

In general, I can admit students through the Department of Statistics, the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, and the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences. Your experience doing research in my group will be the same regardless of which program you apply to; however, the course requirements and funding structures are different. Please explore the websites of the different programs to figure out what seems to meet your needs best, and get in touch with the academic administrators if you have further questions about the logistics and requirements of each program.

Note that I find it most equitable, efficient, and helpful to wait to chat by phone or zoom with prospective students until after applications have been submitted. If the application fee is an undue burden, please do get in touch with the relevant department about a waiver. This will not affect how your application is assessed.

Prospective post-docs

Open post-doc position! 3+ years, $70k starting salary, considerable flexibility in research direction, funded by the Packard Foundation. Please see the full ad here, and apply via UCLA Recruit. Applications are assessed on a rolling basis (you can ignore the "final date" on the UCLA recruit ad), and the position is open until filled. Start date flexbile!

In addition, be in touch if you are interested in applying to a post-doctoral fellowship to work together. Some potential funding sources for post-docs are the NOAA Global Change post-doc, the various NSF post-docs, and the Schmidt Science Fellows.