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Two UW Atmospheric Science Graduates Ready for Faculty Positions in China

August 6, 2018
man standing beside a snowmobile
Jing Yang, who will graduate from UW with a Ph.D. in atmospheric science Aug. 10 and pictured in Alaska, will become an assistant professor in atmospheric science at NUIST, the premier higher education institution for atmospheric science in China. (Jing Yang Photo)

Nanjng University of Information Science and Technology (NUIST) -- considered the premier higher educational school for atmospheric science in China – will soon have two University of Wyoming graduates join its faculty.

Xiaoqin Jing, of Changzhi, Shanxi, China, and Jing Yang, from Wuxi, China, will receive their Ph.D.s in atmospheric science at UW this month before embarking on their academic teaching careers as associate professors at NUIST.

NUIST, founded in 1960 and renamed from Nanjing Institute of Meteorology in 2004, was designated in 1978 as one of the key institutions of higher learning in China.

“Many UW Ph.D. graduates in atmospheric science have developed successful careers in academia over the past few decades, but this is the first time a UW graduate -- in fact, not just one but two -- will be faculty at NUIST, the flagship in atmospheric science in China,” says Bart Geerts, professor and head of UW’s Department of Atmospheric Science. “We see this as an honor, and also a great opportunity to build collaborations with NUIST -- for example, the recruitment of future graduate students.”

Both students are excited about their upcoming appointments, which begin in early September.

“I haven’t been assigned any teaching task but, since my research is physical meteorology, I will probably teach physical meteorology at NUIST,” Yang says. “My research area is cloud physics, including ice generation, precipitation development, and interaction between clouds and environment. The main tools I use are airborne measurements and model simulations.”

Jing adds her teaching assignment is yet to be determined.

“I will mainly focus on research in the first year,” she says. “My study areas are weather modification, orographic precipitation and regional climate.”

The two students say it was mutually beneficial to know each other during the Ph.D. program in atmospheric science. Jing says Yang helped her a lot, and she credits him with being a good programmer.

head portrait of a woman
Xiaoqin Jing, who will graduate from UW with a Ph.D. in atmospheric science Aug. 10, will become an assistant professor in atmospheric science at NUIST this fall, the premier higher education institution for atmospheric science in China. (Xiaoqin Jing Photo)

“We didn’t work together on any research, but we are classmates. We had several classes together at UW,” she says.

Even though the two students have different advisers and work on separate research projects, Yang says it has been great to have Jing as a fellow colleague.

“Her research is about cloud seeding and regional climate simulations. I’m not the expert on these two areas so, when I have any related questions, she is always very kind to help me,” Yang says. “In addition, we often have discussions on our research; sometimes brainstorms. I benefit a lot from them.”

Both credited UW’s Department of Atmospheric Science with providing them a solid education and ample research opportunities.

“The teachers are creative and inspiring; I learned a lot from them,” Jing says. “The research programs that I participated in are great.”

One example is the Silver Iodide Seeding Cloud Impact Investigation -- UW’s water research program. Jing learned how to analyze radar data, how to run regional climate models and how to analyze the equipment that is installed in the UW King Air. She was funded by a Wyoming Engineering Initiative Doctoral Fellowship.

“The Department of Atmospheric Science at UW is world-famous in airborne observation of cloud physics. I can work with the experts on cloud physics, such as Dr. Zhien Wang, my adviser, who developed Wyoming Cloud Lidar and is very knowledgeable about cloud physics,” Yang says. “I have learned a lot from him.”

Additionally, he points to the King Air Research Aircraft as the main platform to study cloud physics for many projects.

“All of the datasets collected by King Air are very useful for us to improve our understanding in cloud physics,” he says. “There are many experts on airborne instruments in my department. They maintain the instruments mounted on King Air and process the data collected by King Air. Without their excellent work, my research would not be possible.”

Yang received his letter of recommendation from Wang, while Jing says Geerts wrote her a letter of recommendation.

“I always wanted to go to NUIST to be a faculty member and conduct atmospheric science research,” Jing says.

About NUIST

NUIST is a national-level key university co-constructed by the Jiangsu Provincial People’s Government, the Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China and the China Meteorological Administration (CMA). It also is co-established by the Jiangsu Provincial People’s Government and the State Oceanic Administration (SOA).

NUIST has a complete higher education system with undergraduate, postgraduate, doctoral programs and post-doctoral research centers. The discipline of atmospheric science ranks No. 1 in the national discipline evaluation conducted by the Ministry of Education of China in 2012, which has great influence in the world.


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