Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the JIFRESSE Summer Internship Program (JSIP) successfully kicked off on July 8, 2020 through Zoom meeting. The goal of the JSIP is to nurture next-generation scientists and engineers through cutting-edge research and analysis and to strengthen the collaborations between JPL scientists and UCLA faculty through joint mentorship. The program runs from July 6 to September 11, 2020 for 10 weeks.
The kick-off event was hosted by JIFRESSE Assistant Director and JPL Liaison Dr. Hui Su. The JIFRESSE Director Prof. Kuo-Nan Liou and Associate Director Dr. Randal Friedl gave welcome remarks and briefly introduced the history of JIFRESSE and the importance of this program to both UCLA and JPL. Prof. Mark Simons, Chief Scientist of JPL and John W. and Herberta M. Miles Professor of Geophysics at Caltech, shared his perspective about the program. Dr. Kathleen Micham, Assistant Dean of Physical Sciences at UCLA, also attended the meeting on behalf of Dean Miguel García-Garibay and expressed their support. This year, the Dean’s office provided matching fund totaling half of the student stipend on top of JPL’s long-standing funding support. Dr. Janet Goins, Assistant Director of Undergraduate Research Center (URC), gave a brief introduction of the URC and talked about the available resources that would facilitate collaborations between URC and JSIP. Dr. Yu Gu, Associate Director of Operations, gave an overview of the applications and the program activities.
The highlights of the kick-off meeting were the presentations by the six interns and their mentors about themselves and the projects to be conducted. Then the JIFRESSE Manager Nancy Hom described the logistic details of the program. Finally, the JIFRESSE Associate Director Prof. Rong Fu gave a closing remark and shared the success story of a JSIP alumna, Sarah Worden, who was recently awarded the extremely competitive Future Investigators in NASA Earth and Space Science and Technology (FINESST) grant as a PhD student at UCLA.
Congratulations to six students who have been awarded the internship for their outstanding academic performance and passion for science and engineering for the following six projects:
Project 1: Tracking Atmospheric River and Hurricane Storm Water
- Mentors: Dr. Donald F. Argus (JPL) / Prof. Dennis Lettenmaier (UCLA)
- Intern: Mackenzie Anderson
Project 2: Explore Earth Observation From Lunar Vantage Point
- Mentors: Dr. Jonathan Jiang (JPL) / Prof. David Paige (UCLA)
- Intern: Mark Nasielski
Project 3: Impact of Droughts on Carbon and Water Cycling Across Tropical Forests
- Mentors: Dr. Sassan Saatchi (JPL) / Prof. Rong Fu (UCLA)
- Intern: Griffin Carter
Project 4: Understanding the Optical Properties of Coarse Desert Dust
- Mentors: Dr. Olga Kalashnikova (JPL) / Prof. Jasper Kok (UCLA)
- Intern: Alana Dodero
Project 5: Understanding the Atmospheric Response to Arctic Amplification
- Mentors: Dr. Hui Su (JPL) / Prof. Gang Chen (UCLA)
- Intern: Noah Alviz
Project 6: Vegetation Structure and Biomass Retrieval Using Data Fusion
- Mentors: Dr. Liang Xu (JPL) / Dr. Luciana Alves (UCLA)
- Intern: Corisa Wong
Best wishes to all interns and mentors for a productive and pleasant summer!