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NCAR GV taking off from Guam airport, 19 Jan 2014, for Research Flight 4 of the NSF CONTRAST field campaign

University of Maryland PhD Dissertations

The doctoral defense marks an indelible day in the life of an academic.  The dissertation research is presented in a public seminar; anyone attending can ask questions.  Typically, following the public presentation, the student meets privately with their dissertation committee.  At this time more questions are asked.  The committee then meets in private and decides whether to accept the dissertation as submitted, to request changes that can range from minor to major and may or may not require a re-evaluation of the document, etc.  More often than not, the student is deemed to be a "Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)" at this meeting, and is greeted as "Dr." for the first time by their committee.  Following this meeting, most students get to return to a normal sleep cycle for the first time in many months, then are left to grapple with the question "what next?".

Dr Anderson, Dr Goldberg, Dr Nicely, and one proud adviser.

Below is a list of the doctoral dissertation defense committees on which I have served.  When available, a link to the slides presented at the defense has been provided.  Also, I've done my best to provide either a current link for each graduate, or a researcher ID page that shows the present affiliation of the UMD alum.

 

As of most recent update, I've served on 19 doctoral defense committees, which averages to 2 per year (or 1 per semester) since my start at UMD in September 2007.  Of course, some years have more dissertations than others. The gap in 2013 and 2014 was due to the need to focus on the logistics of the CONTRAST mission followed by initial analysis of collected data.  And, I've served on a handful of other committees as the so-called Dean's Representative.  I've only listed those for which I served on the actual, academic committee.

 

Each dissertation is about 180 pages; 19 180 = 3420 pages.  Prior to the defense, each page of every dissertation has been read (welcome to email any of the folks below for confirmation).  It's been a pleasure to be able to read these dissertations, each of which describes an advancement of the state of knowledge in the fields of either atmospheric chemistry, physics, or climate.

 

The Digital Repository of the University of Maryland (DRUM) provides an easy to access PDF record of the dissertation for all of the committees on which I have served.  As such, have done my best to use the actual DRUM URL.

2017:

Andrew Jongeward

Identification and Quantification of Regional Trends and Impact on Clouds Over the North Atlantic (link to DRUM copy will be posted once available)

 

Primary adviser: Zhanqing Li

2016:

Dan Anderson

Photochemistry and Transport of Tropospheric Ozone and Its Precursors in Remote and Urban Environments

Co-adviser: Russ Dickerson

Clare Flynn

Relationship Between Column Density and Surface Mixing Ratio for O3 and NO2: Implications for satellite observations and the Impacts of Vertical Mixing

 

Primary adviser: Ken Pickering

Julie Nicely

An Examination of Hydroxyl Radical: Our Current Understanding of the Oxidative Capacity of the Troposphere Through Empirical, Box, and Global Modeling Approaches

Galina Wind

Multi-Sensor Cloud and Aerosol Retrieval Simulator and its Applications

 

Co-advisers: Steve Platnick and Arlindo da Silva

2015:

Dan Goldberg

Lifetime and  Distribution of Ozone and Related Pollutants in the Eastern United States

 

Primary adviser: Russ Dickerson

Fang Zhao

Changes in the  Seasonal Amplitude of Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Concentration:  Causes and Future Projections

 

Primary adviser: Ning Zeng

2012:

David Giles

A Study of Remotely Sensed Aerosols Properties from Ground-based Sun and Sky Scanning Radiometers

 

Primary advisers: Russ Dickerson and Anne Thompson

 

Hao He

Air Pollutant Concentrations and Trends over the Eastern U.S. and China: Aircraft Measurements and Numerical Simulations

 

Primary adviser: Russ Dickerson

Haohao Ke

Advanced Receptor Models for Exploiting Highly Time Resolved Data Acquired in the EPA Supersite Project

 

Primary adviser: John Ondov

Matus Martini

Tropospheric Ozone and Its Radiative Effects due to Anthropogenic and Lightning Emissions: Global and Regional Modeling

Primary advisers: Dale Allen and Ken Pickering

Julie Wolf

The Effects of Future Global Change on Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi and Soil Carbon: Using Urbanization as a Surrogate for Future Conditions in Field Studies

 

Primary adviser: Brian Needelman

2011:

Elena Yegorova

An Evaluation of a Severe Smog Episode in the Eastern U.S. using Regional Modeling and Satellite Measurements

Primary advisers: Dale Allen and Russ Dickerson

Steven Greybush

Mars Weather and Predictability: Modeling and Ensemble Data Assimilation of Spacecraft Observations

Primary adviser: Eugenia Kalnay

2010:

Dan Barrie

On the Interaction of Wind Energy with Climate and Energy

Click here to see Dan's PhD defense presentation

Primary adviser: Dan Kirk-Davidoff

Ninghai Sun

Retrieval of Ice Cloud Parameters Using DMSP Special Sensor Microwave Imagers/Sounder (SSMIS)

Primary advisers: Fuzhong Weng and Zhanqing Li

2009:

Ji-Sun Kang

Carbon Cycle Data Assimilation Using A Coupled Atmosphere-Vegetation Model and the Local Kalman Filter

Click here to see Ji-Sung's PhD defense presentation

Primary adviser: Eugenia Kalnay

2008:

Bryan Bloomer

Air Pollution Response to Changing Weather and Power Plant Emissions In the Eastern United States

Click here to see Bryan's PhD defense presentation

Primary adviser: Russ Dickerson

Can Li

Emissions, Transport, and Evolution of Atmospheric Pollution from China: An Observational Study

Click here to see Can's PhD defense presentation

Primary advisers: Russ Dickerson and Zhanqing Li

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University of Maryland Undergraduate Gemstone Dissertation

The UMD Gemstone program is a four-year program of research, culminating in a dissertation, for undergraduate honors students.  Freshman participate in a Gemstone orientation prior to the start of their freshman year.  During February of the freshman year, faculty present students with possible research topics.  Students form research teams and conduct research on the selected topic, during the rest of their ~3.5 years on campus.  Current Gemstone teams are posted at link.

 

During their senior year, the Gemstone teams make a public presentation of their team's dissertation findings to a panel of "discussants", who have also received a draft copy of the dissertation document.  The room is filled with family members, classmates and friends, as well as freshman Gemstone students who are being exposed to the end product of many year's hard work and creative thinking of the senior Gemstone Research Team.  Following the student presentations, discussants ask a single question, then anyone in the audience is invited to ask questions.  Once the public discussion has ended, the Gemstone Research Team meets privately with their faculty adviser and the discussants.  Of course, a celebration typically follows this last meeting.

 

In 2010, I had the privilege of serving as a discussant for the dissertation submitted by the "Carbon Sink" Gemstone Research Team. The 14 members of this research team used field research, a set of laboratory experiments, and computer modeling to quantify the effectiveness of carbon sequestration by burial of dead trees, as a means to offset rising levels of atmospheric CO2 due to the burning of fossil fuels.  The research of team Carbon Sinks was supervised by Professor Ning Zeng of UMd AOSC and Jay Gregg, a research assistant with the Joint Global Change Research Institute.  The dissertation submitted by Team Carbon Sinks was comparable to a PhD dissertation!

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My Doctoral Dissertation

Alas, my doctoral dissertation, entitled Antarctic Ozone: Theory and Observation was completed in 1988, prior to the advent of PDF files! According to the great and irrefutable resource called Google, Adobe Acrobat was the first software program capable of reading the PDF format ... and Version 1 of Adobe Acrobat launched in June 1993. As such, my dissertation is archived only via microfiche at places such as link1 or link2.

Trust me, it is not worth the time, effort, or $$$ to obtain a copy of my doctoral dissertation. All that is important was published in the peer-reviewed literature long ago.  Archives of my dissertation still exist, albeit in a now archaic format. It is fascinating that we live in a time when our means of communicating information is changing so rapidly.  Should anyone actually want to see my doctoral dissertation, stop by my office and I'll gladly show you the bound edition.

The important lesson of the above two paragraphs, one I do my best to impart upon my students, is that few people will ever read a doctoral dissertation.  Basically, the committee and a handful of students to either follow in the same research group or perhaps working on a similar topic in another group, constitute the very limited audience of a document that ostensibly plays such an important role in the life of a scholar.

However, many people will read the peer reviewed articles that result from a doctoral dissertation.  As such, getting scientific results into the peer reviewed literature is the most important part of a graduate education so that:

a) findings are communicated in a manner that has transitioned, and almost certainly will continue to transition, with developments in the means of communication (all of my papers are accessible in the form of PDF files; journals have much stronger motivation and better resources to make this transition than universities, even those of high standing with large endowments);

b) the student learns the ins and outs, idiosyncrasies, struggles, frustrations, and ultimately (hopefully) joy of publishing.  Yes, we have been known to shed a tear of joy upon receipt of an email from an editor stating a paper has been accepted.  For an academic, a day when such an email has been received can rarely be topped ... other than, of course, getting an email stating a grant proposal has been accepted!

Only fitting to conclude by providing the link to our group's publication page.

Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Science                                           College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences

Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry                                                                                  The University of Maryland Newsdesk

Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center                                                                                             The University of Maryland

This page last updated on Monday, 17 July 2017