The McKinnon group

Karen McKinnon

Assistant Professor, Statistics and Institute of the Environment

Karen is an Assistant Professor at UCLA, joint between the Department of Statistics and the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability Previously, she was an Applied Scientist at Descartes Labs in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and an Advanced Study Program post-doctoral fellow at the National Center for Atmospheric Research working with Clara Deser. She completed her PhD, advised by Peter Huybers, in 2015 in the Earth and Planetary Sciences department at Harvard University. Her research focuses on developing physical and statistical models for climate variability and change, with a particular interest in the weather-climate continuum.

Email: kmckinnon at ucla dot edu
Google Scholar

Suqin Duan

Postdoctoral Scholar

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

Wenwen Kong

Postdoctoral Scholar

Wenwen is a postdoctoral scholar at the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, UCLA. She received her Ph.D. in 2020 from the Department of Geography at the University of California, Berkeley, where she worked with John Chiang on seasonal transitions of the East Asian summer monsoon. Her research bridges observations, theory, and numerical modeling to understand the dynamics of regional climate, from the past to the future. At the IoES, she collaborates with Karen McKinnon at UCLA and Isla Simpson from NCAR to explore the role of the land surface in influencing temperature variability.

Email: wenwenkong at ucla dot edu

Sam Baugh

Fifth year graduate student, Statistics

Sam is a fourth-year PhD student in the Department of Statistics at UCLA. Prior to starting his PhD, he received his MS in Statistics from the University of Chicago advised by Michael Stein, where he worked on computational techniques for non-stationary spatial modeling. His current research is focused on statistical analysis of Argo temperature data in order to better understand how ocean heat content is changing in response to anthropogenic global warming.

Email: samuelbaugh at ucla dot edu

Dhruv Chakraborty

Graduated senior, Computational Mathematics

Dhruv is a 4th year undergraduate majoring in Computational Mathematics at UCLA. His interests lie in the application of computational and statistical techniques to climate science and policy related topics. His current research is focused on understanding how the land surface influences heatwaves, with a focus on North America.

Email: dchakraborty at ucla dot edu

Avery Robinson

Senior, Statistics

Avery is a senior pursuing a B.S. in Statistics. She is interested in the application of statistical methods in climate science research, and her current focus is on land surface interactions with the atmosphere before and during heatwaves. Avery hopes to later pursue a masters in data science, with a focus on climate science or legislative research.

Email: averyrose98 at ucla dot edu


Russell Horowitz, IoES Master's (2021). Now a Post-Masters Research Assistant at the Joint Global Change Research Institute.
Chris Reed, IoES undergraduate degree (2020). Now a Data Analyst at wikiHow.
Pete Jourgensen, Computer Science Master's degree (2019). Now a Data Scientist at Deep 6 AI.

Prospective graduate students

I admit graduate students through both the Department of Statistics and the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability. If your interests align with the McKinnon group, I look forward to seeing your application! Feel free to reach out to me by email to let me know you've applied, but note that I find it most helpful to communicate with prospective students once your application has been submittted.

Prospective post-docs

I do not currently have open post-doc positions. Please 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, the McDonnell Foundation post-doc, and the Schmidt Science Fellows. In addition, the University of California system supports the President's Postdoctoral Fellowship Program for female and minority PhD recipients.