Alumni Board

The Climate and Society Alumni Board consists of members who work to provide opportunities for Climate and Society students and alumni to connect with each other and the broader climate community

  • Qiu is a 2015 C+S graduate who specializes in corporate engagement and sustainability reporting. She currently works as an account manager at CDP, formerly known as Carbon Disclosure Project, where she supports companies to disclose key climate change information and set emissions reduction targets in line with the global 2°C ambition.

  • Weston Anderson (he/him) studies the dynamics of climate variability and its relation to food security using reanalysis products, remote sensing observations and model simulations. He’s recently been working on how global-scale modes of climate variability, such as the El Niño Southern Oscillation and the Madden-Julian Oscillation pose a risk to major agricultural production regions. 

  • Greer is a 2016 C+S graduate and serves as the head of energy sales for the North American platform of EDP Renewables. In his role, Tommy is responsible for the structuring and negotiating of large-scale wind and solar energy contracts with both electric utilities and other corporate purchasers.

  • Simon Mason has been involved in seasonal climate forecasting research and operations since the early 1990s. He has published numerous papers on seasonal climate forecasting and verification, climate change, and southern African climate variability. He has extensive experience in the production of seasonal climate forecasts in contexts such as the Regional Climate Outlook Forums, and works closely with the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) to promote the definition and adoption of forecasting and verification standards through engagement in relevant WMO Expert Teams and through the WMO CLIPS Capacity Building Workshops. Mason joined the IRI in 1997, working initially at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and moving to Columbia University in 2003. Prior to joining the IRI, Mason was deputy director of the Climatology Research Group at the University of the Witwatersrand, in South Africa, where he developed empirical models for predicting southern African rainfall variability. Mason is a Visiting Senior Fellow in the Centre for Analysis of Time Series at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

    Mason is chief climate scientist, taking a lead role in international outreach from the IRI’s Climate Program, and leading the IRI’s disaster work. He was a member of the drafting team for the High-Level Task Force on the Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS), is an overall author for the GFCS Implementation Plan, and is a focal point for the IRI’s Partnership to Save Lives with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). He has been heavily involved in capacity building activities, including leading the development and support of the Climate Predictability Tool (CPT).

  • Mingfang Ting joined Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in August 2003 from the Department of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she worked for ten years as Assistant and Associate Professor. She has taught many undergraduate and graduate courses at the University of Illinois, ranging from introduction to meteorology to advanced atmospheric dynamics. Dr. Ting’s main research interests include the impact of global climate change on regional scales and teleconnection dynamics, modeling and diagnostics of the climatological and anomalous stationary waves and the impact of sea surface temperatures on global climate, as well as the dynamics of the droughts and floods circulation due to both natural and anthropogenic causes. She received her Ph.D. in atmospheric sciences from the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory at Princeton University in 1990

  • Biasutti graduated with a "laurea" diploma in physics from the University of Trieste (Italy) in 1995. After short stints at COLA (Calverton, MD) and IMGA (Modena, Italy, now INVG), she went to Seattle for graduate school. Biasutti received an MS (2000) and PhD (2003) from the Atmospheric Sciences Department at the University of Washington

    Since January 2004 Biasutti has work at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, first as a post-doc under the supervision of Adam Sobel and Yochanan Kushnir, and from 2007 as a Doherty Associate Research Scientist and Lamont Associate Research Professor.

  • De Mel is a 2013 C+S graduate and climate change specialist with over ten years of professional experience and is currently based at the Center for Climate Systems Research at Columbia University’s Earth Institute, where she provides technical input, research, program development, and capacity building for international and U.S. projects.

  • Pardo-Rodriguez is a 2009 C+S graduate who is currently working on the last year of her PhD in Geography at the University of California-Santa Barbara. Her work focuses on social vulnerability assessments to weather and climate phenomena. She uses both qualitative and quantitative  approaches to improve social vulnerability assessments.

  • Lisa Goddard is the Director of Columbia University’s International Research Institute for Climate and Society and leads IRI’s research efforts on understanding and predicting climate change on the 10-20 year horizon. She is also an adjunct associate professor in Columbia’s Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences. Dr. Goddard is a globally recognized expert on El Niño and La Niña, decadal prediction and near-term climate change. She sits on the Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate of the U.S. National Academies of Science, as well as four others. She also co-chairs CLIVAR, which advises and coordinates international research on climate and the oceans under the World Climate Research Programme. In 2007, she developed PACE, a national post-doctoral program that explicitly links recent climate Ph.D.s with decision making institutions.

  • Cynthia Thomson is the Associate Director of Columbia University's MA Program in Climate and Society where she manages the day to day administration of the program including recruitment, student and alumni affairs, budget and admissions. She also spearheads strategic planning for the program through curriculum development and extracurricular activities.

  • Catherine Vaughan is a senior staff associate at the IRI, where she has worked since 2008.

    As part of her responsibilities at the IRI, Cathy serves as program manager for the Climate Services Partnership, an informal interdisciplinary network working to improve the use of climate information for societal decision-making around the world. In this capacity, Cathy facilitates virtual and in-person collaboration to improve the practice and performance of climate services: leading a range of communication efforts; supporting working groups on ethics, evaluation, and research priorities; and organizing the last four International Conferences on Climate Services.

  • Brian is a journalist covering climate change. Brian works at Earther, a G/O Media site, where he's currently the managing editor after serving as a senior reporter for two years.

    In previous lives, he was an educator at the deepest lake in the U.S., a sleigh ride naturalist giving tours through a herd of 7,000 elk and a ski bum acrossthewesternU.S. He has a BA in photography and anthropology from Hampshire College. He also hold an MA in Climate and Society from Columbia University.

  • As an anthropologist, Ben Orlove has conducted field work in the Peruvian Andes since the 1970s and carried out research in East Africa, the Italian Alps, and Aboriginal Australia. His early work focused on agriculture, fisheries, and rangelands. More recently, he has studied climate change and glacier retreat, with an emphasis on water, natural hazards, and the loss of iconic landscapes. In addition to numerous academic articles and books, he has published a memoir and a book of travel writing.

    Orlove teaches in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences Master’s Program in Climate and Society, for which he also serves as associate director. He is a senior research scientist at the IRI, and one of four co-directors of the Center for Research in Environmental Decisions.

  • After graduating from the University of Leeds, UK, with a BS in mathematics and geography, Andrew Robertson received an MS from Imperial College, London in atmospheric physics and dynamics, and a PhD in atmospheric dynamics from the University of Reading in 1984, under the supervision of Brian Hoskins. He held postdoctoral and research positions at the Universities of Paris, Munich, and UCLA prior to joining the IRI in 2001.

    Robertson currently leads the IRI Climate Group. He also teaches in the Master of Arts Program in Climate and Society in the Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences.

  • Kruczkiewicz graduated from Columbia University specializing in remote sensing and mapping of atmospheric and meteorological variables. He interned for NASA and IRI developing algorithms to monitor inundation and land cover in East Africa, with a focus on applications for the health and humanitarian sectors. Before Columbia, Andrew studied finance at Fairfield University and meteorology at Western Connecticut State University.

    Kruczkiewicz is part of the Environmental Monitoring Program and Disasters Team at the IRI, aiding in the development and integration of environmental remote sensing products into early warning systems for human health, agriculture and disasters. He also aids the IRI Data Library in the development of map rooms and supports the ACToday Project managing relationships with the humanitarian community, including Red Cross. Andrew is the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre focal point at the IRI.

  • After completing a physics degree from the University of Milan, in 1995 Giannini moved to New York and Columbia University to pursue studies in the dynamics of tropical climate, with the double intent of learning more about the workings of the climate system, and, by focusing on tropical climate, of learning how to do science that would be of potential use to society. Her dissertation elucidated the dynamics of the influence of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation on tropical Atlantic variability in two particularly vulnerable regions: the Brazilian Nordeste and the islands of the Caribbean.

    Since her post-doc at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, in Boulder, Colorado, the focus of Giannini’s research has been climate change in the Sahel. Her 2003 paper conclusively attributed the persistence of drought in this region of Africa in the 1970s and 1980s to changes in the oceans, challenging the widely held belief that held local populations responsible for this environmental disaster. Her most recent paper reconciles the above-mentioned argument about variability, relating oceanic forcing and rainfall response, with an argument about attribution of change, that is, indirect attribution of Sahel rainfall to human emissions of aerosols and greenhouse gases, through their influence on sea surface temperatures.

    At the IRI since 2003, Giannini is currently on leave at the Laboratoire de Météorologie Dynamique, in Paris, France, thanks to a "Make Our Planet Great Again" grant. She continues to research climate science, specifically African climate change on all time scales, and is extremely interested in the policy implications of scientific findings, and in the role of science and scientists in our global society

  • Aisha S. Owusu is an Instructor and Advisor for the Master’s Program in Climate & Society at Columbia University and a Career Development Advisor for NYC-based non-profit, Sponsors for Educational Opportunity, helping high-performing and achieving students of color prepare for the rigor, cultural nuances, fit, competitiveness and rewards (and disappointments) of Corporate America. She also moonlights as a Health and Climate Consultant for the World Meteorological Organization and World Health Organization where she works with meteorological agencies to help improve the quality, availability, accessibility, and use of climate data (i.e. climate services) and uses these climate services, products and tools to help countries interpret and integrate climate data into sound health policy. Additionally, she creates country-specific climate and health training for various public health agencies and ministries of health. She is

    She was formerly a Health and Climate Associate Researcher of the CIPHA (Climate Information for Public Health Action) team and the Deputy Lead of Senegal and Ethiopia of the ACToday (Adapting Agriculture to Climate Today, for Tomorrow) project for the International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI) within Columbia University’s Earth Institute.