Undergraduate research

Who can do research with you?

We especially encourage younger students to apply. We are also committed to gender and racial diversity in the group and specifically encourage applications from underrepresented minorities. We encourage students from both Harvard and other U.S. institutions to apply. We also host international students who secure their own funding.

Can I still work with you with no research experience?

Absolutely! Most of the undergrads who start doing research in the group have no previous research experience. Almost none have experience in atmospheric science. We are a computational group, so interest in developing your programming skills is essential. You will learn programming and other skills on the job. Learning is the main point of undergraduate research!

Whom do I contact about research opportunities?

You should email Daniel Jacob or Loretta Mickley. In your email, please express your interest in specific research projects, give your plans for obtaining funding (see below), and attach your CV. We recommend that you look through the group’s research page on this website for standing projects, or reach out to a graduate student or postdoc involved in a project you find interesting on the group research page.

What kind of project would I work on?

Our group’s research page lists the projects graduate students and postdocs are currently working on. You can also visit personal websites of individual group members to learn more about their research areas. See the “symposium projects” or “alumni” section of this webpage for examples of previous projects.

What funding sources are available for Harvard students?

For research during the semester, Harvard students primarily secure funding through the Harvard College Research Program (HCRP, up to $1000 for term-time research). Most students who apply for HCRP get funded. However, students need to apply for HCRP in the first two weeks of the semester, so they should reach out early or over break to express interest and begin working on the application.

For research during the summer, there are more options. Keep an eye on deadlines! Many of these deadlines are only a couple weeks after spring semester starts, so please notify Daniel or Loretta ASAP if you think you are interested. Options include:

  • Program for Research in Science and Engineering (PRISE). If accepted, you will receive room and partial board in a Harvard House, along with a stipend. The PRISE staff also organize fun activities like hiking, whale watching, music outings, and sporting events, all on Harvard’s dime. Your chances of being accepted at PRISE increase if you have already done research with us for a semester, so consider doing research in the spring term before applying for PRISE (though this is not strictly necessary). Due: Early February
  • The Harvard College Research Program (HCRP) gives $500-$4000 in funding for the summer, but does not provide room and board. Due: Late March/Early April
  • The Herschel-Smith program is more generous than HCRP, but is more competitive and tends to only go to older students. Due: Early February
  • The Harvard Center for the Environment (HUCE)'s summer undergraduate research fund gives students a standard stipend of $1000 per month, and students can apply for a fellowship duration between 1-3 months (in 1/2 month increments). Due: Late April

What funding sources are available for external students?

Under construction. We are working to secure spots in Harvard REU programs for external students to work with us.

How many undergraduates are in your group?

We typically host 2-5 students each summer.

How long are summer internships?

Summer internships with REU and Leadership Alliance are 10 weeks. Internships funded by other sources can be a different length, but 10 weeks is a good amount of time to invest in a project.

Whom will I actually work with for my research project in ACMG?

You will work most closely with a graduate student or postdoc and meet with them a few times a week. They will guide you through your research project and help you with technical issues (i.e. coding). You will also have the opportunity to meet with Daniel or Loretta once every week. For meetings, you will generally be asked to present a few slides and discuss your results and next steps with your mentor(s). For summer research, you will be asked to write an abstract and present a short talk in our ACMG research symposium, attended by members of this group. When your project is mature, you will have the opportunity to write and submit an abstract for a scientific conference or even a first-author scientific paper. This is typically for undergraduates who work in the group for more than one summer.

Where will I do research? Will I live on campus?

You will work in Pierce Hall on the main Harvard campus, where our group’s offices are. Depending on the circumstances, you may also work remotely and meet with your mentors through Skype or Zoom. Students typically bring their own laptop, but if you don’t have one we can provide you with a loaner. For intensive computational projects, you will have access to Harvard’s supercomputing cluster, Cannon. We will provide you a desk to work at in Pierce Hall during the summer. REU programs will provide you housing on campus. Other programs will enable you to find lodging near campus through their stipends.

 

Other research/scholarship programs to apply to:

  • NOAA Hollings ScholarshipHighly recommended for students interested in environmental science. Apply as a sophomore - extensive funding as well as a generously paid internship
  • Woods Hole Summer Student Fellowship (WHOI SSF)
  • NASA Student Airborne Research Program (SARP)
  • Department of Energy Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internships (SULI)
  • National Science Foundation REU program sites

Open Research Positions

Please contact Daniel Jacob or Loretta Mickley with a short statement of interest. If your interest and preparation is suitable for the group, they will put you in touch with a graduate student or postdoc interested in mentoring you.

Summer Symposium Projects

2021

[Link to Abstracts]

Marie Panday, US Trends in Wildfire Smoke derived from NOAA’s Hazard Mapping System smoke product and Airport Data from 2010-2020
[Mentors: Tina Liu, Makoto Kelp, Drew Pendergrass]

Maggie Vallejo, Estimating PM2.5 in Indigenous Territories in South America
[Mentor: Eimy Bonilla]

Lewis McAllister, Influence of pollutant transport from China on PM2.5 pollution episodes over Korean cropland
[Mentors: Drew Pendergrass, Ellie Beaudry]

Alison Mangano, The Potential Sources and Sinks Responsible for the 2020 Increase in Methane Concentration
[Mentors: Zhen Qu, Shixian Zhai]

Samuel Lin, Optimal PM2.5 Sensor Placement in the United States using modal decomposition techniques
[Mentor: Makoto Kelp]

Margaux Winter, Source Attribution of Methane Emission using Multiscale Geographically Weighted Regression
[Mentor: Hannah Nesser]

Daniel Shen, Improving Sentinel-2 Methane Retrievals over Heterogeneous Terrain
[Mentor: Daniel Varon]

Kevin Luo, Constructing an Observational Error Covariance Matrix for TROPOMI Methane Inversions
[Mentor: Zhen Qu]

Tina Chen, Towards determining the impact of increasing ozone trends on crop yields in South Korea
[Mentor: Nadia Colombi]

2020

[Link to Abstracts]

Kent Toshima, Application of Deep Learning to Detection of Wildfire Smoke in HMS over North America
[Mentors: Tina Liu, Makoto Kelp, Drew Pendergrass]

Miah Caine, Agreement between the HMS Product and Ground-Level Smoke in the Pacific Northwest
[Mentors: Tina Liu, Makoto Kelp, Drew Pendergrass]

Shayna Grossman, 2017 Update - Global Gridded Inventory of Methane Emissions from Oil, Gas, and Coal Exploitation
[Mentor: Tia Scarpelli]

Ivan Specht, Updating the Global Ethanol Budget Based on NASA Aircraft Observations
[Mentor: Kelvin Bates]

Margaux Winter, Diagnosing Systematic Bias in TROPOMI Methane Retrievals
[Mentor: Hannah Nesser]

 

Alumni

Kuilin Zhu, 2019, Meteorological drivers of airborne dust in China
[Mentor: Yang Li]

Drew Pendergrass, 2017-2018, Predicting Extreme Pollution Events in Beijing
[Mentor: Lu Shen]

Yuk Chun Chan, 2016, Dust cycling on land and in oceans
[Mentor: Pattanun (Ploy) Achakulwisut]

Min (Danny) Leung, 2015, Synoptic meteorological modes of variability for fine particulate matter (PM2.5) air quality in major metropolitan regions of China
[Mentor: Lu Shen]

Julie Sygiel, 2007, Response of surface ozone to temperature changes
[Mentor: Eric Leibensperger]