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Group photo


Taken October 2018:
(back row) Jeremiah Otero Piersante, Nathan Kelly, Sam Childs, Erik Nielsen, Russ Schumacher
(front row) Liu Zhang, Eric James, Stacey Hitchcock, Faith Groff



Russ Schumacher


Associate Professor


Director, Colorado Climate Center and Colorado State Climatologist


e-mail: russ.schumacher "at" colostate "dot" edu

Russ joined the faculty at Colorado State in the fall of 2011. He received his B.S. with majors in meteorology and humanities from Valparaiso University in Indiana in 2001, and earned his M.S. in 2003 and Ph.D. in 2008 from the Department of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University. Russ received an Advanced Study Program Postdoctoral Fellowship from the National Center for Atmospheric Research, and spent 2008-2009 at NCAR in Boulder. From 2009-2011, Russ was assistant professor in the Department of Atmospheric Sciences at Texas A&M University. He received the CAREER award from the National Science Foundation in 2010, and was selected as Outstanding Professor of the Year by the students of the department in 2012. He was selected to receive the Editor's Award for the journals Monthly Weather Review and Weather and Forecasting in 2015. Russ was promoted to Associate Professor at CSU in July 2016. In October 2017, Russ was appointed the director of the Colorado Climate Center and the Colorado State Climatologist.

Current Graduate Students


Erik Nielsen

B.S., Texas A&M University, 2013

M.S., Colorado State University, 2015
e-mail: erikrn "at" atmos "dot" colostate "dot" edu

Erik joined the research group in the fall of 2013 from Texas A&M University. Erik defended his MS thesis in November 2015, titled "Using convection-allowing ensembles to understand the predictability of extreme rainfall." Erik was awarded a National Science Foundation graduate research fellowship in 2014. He plans to continue for a PhD with research interests involving midlatitude convective systems that produce both severe weather, extreme precipitation, and flash flooding.

Stacey Hitchcock

B.S., University of Oklahoma, 2012
M.S., University of Oklahoma, 2014
e-mail: smhitch "at" rams "dot" colostate "dot" edu

Stacey joined the research group in the spring of 2015 after earning her M.S. from the University of Oklahoma. Her Ph.D. research will focus on mesoscale convective systems, including observations obtained during the PECAN field campaign.

Samuel Childs

B.S., Purdue University, 2015

M.S., Colorado State University, 2017
e-mail: sjchilds "at" rams "dot" colostate "dot" edu

Sam joined the research group in the fall of 2015 from Purdue University. He received an American Meteorological Society Graduate Fellowship and a National Science Foundation graduate research fellowship to conduct research on connections between climate and severe convective weather. Sam defended his M.S. thesis in June 2017 and will continue in the Ph.D. program at CSU, conducting research on severe weather and risk communication.

Nathan Kelly

B.S., Valparaiso University, 2015

M.S., Valparaiso University, 2018
e-mail: nkelly "at" engr "dot" colostate "dot" edu

Nathan joined the research group in the fall of 2015 from Valparaiso University. He completed his M.S. thesis in the spring of 2018, analyzing the atmospheric conditions associated with extreme rainfall in different parts of the world. He will be continuing into the Ph.D. program with a focus on data collected during the RELAMPAGO field campaign in 2018.

Faith Groff

B.S., Indiana University, 2017
e-mail: faith "dot" groff "at" colostate "dot" edu

Faith joined the research group in the fall of 2017 from Indiana University. She will be conducting research on gravity waves generated by mesoscale convective systems, in collaboration with Becky Adams-Selin of AER, Inc.

Eric James

M.S., Colorado State University, 2009
e-mail: eric "dot" james "at" colostate "dot" edu

Eric joined the research group in the fall of 2018. He works at NOAA's Earth System Research Lab in Boulder in the group that develops the RAP and HRRR models, and will be working on his PhD while continuing that role. His research will bring together observations and models with an aim at guiding improvements to operational modeling systems.

Jeremiah Otero Piersante

B.S., Hobart and William Smith Colleges, 2018
e-mail: otero "at" rams "dot" colostate "dot" edu

Jeremiah joined the research group in the fall of 2018 from Hobart and William Smith Colleges in New York. He is co-advised by Russ Schumacher and Kristen Rasmussen. His work will involve evaluating forecasts and observations associated with the RELAMPAGO field campaign in Argentina.

Visiting Graduate Students


Liu Zhang

Visiting Ph.D. student from Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology
e-mail: liu "dot" zhang "at" colostate "dot" edu

Liu will be visiting our research group from 2017-2019. He is a Ph.D. student at Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology in China, and received a prestigious China Scholarship Council award to study in the United States.

Former Graduate Students


Greg Herman

Ph.D., 2018

Greg received his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in the research group in 2015 and 2018, respectively. He developed new methods to integrate atmospheric science concepts with machine learning, aimed at improving probabilistic forecasts of extreme precipitation. Greg is now a research scientist at the Climate Corporation in Seattle.

Bob Tournay

Ph.D., 2016

Bob received his Ph.D. in August 2016 after completing his dissertation exploring the influences of land-surface characteristics, and particularly soil moisture, on mesoscale convective systems in the central U.S. He is now a Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Air Force, based in Omaha, Nebraska.

John Peters

Ph.D., 2015

John received his Ph.D. in May 2015 after completing his dissertation on the dynamics of mesoscale convective systems that produce heavy precipitation. John was awarded a prestigious National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, and remained in our research group at CSU to conduct his postdoctoral research from 2015-2017. John began an appointment as assistant professor at the Naval Postgraduate School in 2017.

Peter Goble

M.S., 2016

Peter received his M.S. in August 2016 after completing his thesis on connections between soil moisture and drought in Colorado and surrounding areas. During his time as a graduate student, he also worked for the Colorado Climate Center, and upon completion of his M.S. he started a position as associate scientist with the CCC.

Annareli Morales

M.S., 2014

Annareli received her M.S. in December 2014 after completing her thesis on mesoscale aspects of the September 2013 extreme rainfall and flooding in Colorado. Annareli was co-advised by Russ Schumacher and Sonia Kreidenweis, and is currently a Ph.D. student in atmospheric science at the University of Michigan.

Vanessa Vincente

M.S., 2014

Vanessa earned her M.S. in May 2014 after completing her thesis, which included a multi-disciplinary study of heavy precipitation along the Front Range of Colorado. Vanessa was one of the students supported by CSU I-WATER, an interdisciplinary program training graduate students in hydrology, atmospheric science, and ecology. She is now a meteorologist with the COMET program.

Charles Yost

M.S., 2013

Charles earned his M.S. in the spring of 2013 after completing his thesis on displacement biases in numerical forecasts of convective systems. He currently works for OneRain in Longmont, CO.

Samantha Lynch

M.S., 2012

Sammy earned her M.S. in December 2012 after completing her thesis that involved ensemble synoptic analysis of widespread extreme rain events, including the Nashville, TN flood of 2010. Sammy currently works for Warner Chilcott Corporation.

Kelly Keene

M.S., 2011 (from Texas A&M University)

Kelly earned her M.S. in August 2011 after completing her thesis on the "bow and arrow" phenomenon. She is currently an Associate Scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, CO.

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