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

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

Fourth 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


Russell Horowitz, IoES Master's (2021).
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 am currently looking for a post-doc to work on an NSF-funded projected on temperature variability and extremes, with a focus on statistical methods and machine learning. Please see the description here, and apply here by May 19.

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, 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.