2024 LEAP Summer REU Program


LEAP’s 2024 Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Program offers summer undergraduate research experiences (SUREs) on synergistic innovations in data science and climate science. This 10-week Program is in partnership with the NSF Significant Opportunities in Atmospheric Research and Science (SOARS) program at UCAR.

The REU Program hosts undergraduate researchers and offers a wide array of enrichment learning and networking opportunities. LEAP is committed to building a diverse research community at the intersection of climate science, data science, and climate and social justice. We care about the future of our planet and want to apply our research to help make informed decisions when it comes to the communities most affected by climate change.

All students are supported by a team of researchers and graduate student mentors. We want our students to succeed and learn what it takes to make a larger impact on the world via STEM research. Upon completion of the Program, students may have the opportunity to continue their research or present their findings at academic conferences.


The 2-week Momentum Bootcamp (May 28 – June 7) will be led by: 

  • Juan Nathaniel (PhD student, Dept. of Earth + Environmental Engineering, Columbia University; Gentine Lab, Columbia Engineering)
  • Candace Agonafir (Postdoc, Depts. of Data Science + Civil Engineering, Columbia University)

The 8-week Research Experience (June 10 – August 2) will be led by the following Project Leads/Mentors:

2024 REU Participants

IMG_7592 - Omar Abdel Azim

Project 1: Quantifying Epistemic and Aleatoric Uncertainty in Climate Data (Mandt)

Omar Abdel Azim is a computer science student at the Clemson University Honors College. He is deeply interested in studying how to increase reliability of machine learning
technologies for application in large-scale, data intensive, societal challenges. One of Omar’s proudest achievements in publishing a first author paper in the IEEE journal in addition to an oral conference in the IEEE International Automated Vehicle Validation Conference 2023. He is currently conducting research within the fields of Materials Science, specifically using Machine Learning for prediction of properties in high entropy alloys and developing a database for materials science researchers to use. Additionally, he is a member of Clemson University’s Design, Build, Fly Club and Rocket Engineering Club. He plans to attain a Ph.D. in Computer Science with an emphasis on optimizing machine learning algorithms.

IMG_1494 2 2-min - eldestcelery

Project 5: Understanding and Modeling the Impact of
Air-Sea Heterogeneity on Surface Fluxes (Balwada)

My research interests include quantum physics, quantum computing, artificial intelligence, and data science. One of my professional goals is to be a tech entrepreneur specializing in quantum computing and using quantum computers for data analysis and high complexity problem solving. Another professional goal of mine is to become a neurosurgeon (I know, they’re pretty unrelated and I’ll have to pick one which is sad because I would love to do both). I unfortunately cannot think of my proudest personal achievement, but if I had to pick something it would be winning an award for outstanding physics student at my high school graduation.

IMG_0258 - Patrick Dicus

Project 4: Understanding Ice Crystal Growth and Evolution in the Atmosphere (Lamb)

Patrick Dicus is very interested in the intersection between computer science and climate science and hopes to be able to gain skills relating to both which could be used to further his career in these subjects. Patrick is aiming to attend grad school within some field of geosciences, but he is unsure which one to choose just yet. Beyond academics, Patrick enjoys training for bike races he competes in during the summer months, and attending live DJ sets. Patrick is most proud of his qualification for the Collegiate Road Cycling National Championships for two years in a row and being able to represent Hamilton College Cycling at the national level.

IMG_5172 - Anthony Guzman

Project 3: Analysis of Climate Model Perturbed Physics Ensembles (Elsaesser, Medeiros)

Anthony is a rising senior double-majoring in Earth Sciences and Data Sciences at the University of Southern California. He has dedicated much of his life to helping out those in under-represented communities, having been raised in one himself, and is known within his local community as one who encourages to question pre-existing beliefs through
eloquent writing. He hopes to use his studies in earth and data sciences to address environmental racism in LA County. His hobbies include playing the mellophone in the
marching band, baton twirling, and reading novels. One of his favorite memories is performing with Gwen Stefani at the Hollywood Bowl.

Nicoline Joenson - Headshot - Nicoline Munk Joenson

Project 3: Analysis of Climate Model Perturbed Physics Ensembles (Elsaesser, Medeiros)

Nicoline is a rising Junior in Columbia College, majoring in physics. She is currently the Outreach Head of Columbia’s Physics Club SPECTRA, a club dedicated to promoting
diversity an inclusion in physics. This year together with the SPECTRA board and volunteers, she will be presenting different experiments to local middle schoolers on Columbia’s campus. Nicoline’s primary research interest is climate modeling and geophysics. She hopes to be able to apply this knowledge in future climate science research or in environmental law. Before coming to Columbia, Nicoline had two gap years where she volunteered, travelled, worked and studied. Her volunteer work was primarily centered around women’s empowerment and migration aid in Denmark, Bolivia and at the US-Mexican border. In her personal time, Nicoline loves to travel and discover new cultures. Her proudest personal achievement is having hiked to the Tunari peak in Bolivia at 16.519 ft.

headshot - William Manriquez

Project 5: Understanding and Modeling the Impact of Air-Sea Heterogeneity on Surface Fluxes (Balwada)

Tony Manriquez is an undergraduate student in the Meteorology program at MSU Denver. He is interested in bridging the gap between weather and climate, particularly in subseasonal-to-seasonal (S2S) research. While working on a machine learning project with his NSF Significant Opportunities for Atmospheric Research and Science (SOARS) research mentors on S2S at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), he found machine learning applications extremely interesting, with many research applications. After finishing his undergraduate degree from MSU Denver, he plans on attending graduate school in Atmospheric Science. In his spare time, he enjoys storm chasing and aurora chasing! He previously worked as a firefighter for his hometown after earning his certification. He plans to earn certifications in fire, water, earth, and air in the future.


Project 1: Quantifying Epistemic and Aleatoric Uncertainty in Climate Data (Mandt)

Mia is a rising Junior at Harvard College studying Environmental Science and Engineering. Her research interests include climate-focused data science, sustainable technology, and sustainable architecture. She is passionate about environmental justice and using data to protect communities that are most vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Last summer, she traveled to São Paulo, Brasil with Harvard’s David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies and interned with Eureciclo, a company that stimulates Brasil’s recycling chain by providing reverse logistics solutions for packaging waste. In addition to gaining exposure and experience in ML and data analysis, she immersed herself in Brasil’s culture and language which proved to be the most rewarding aspect of the experience!

IMG_3593~3 (2) - Ashley Nguyen

Project 4: Understanding Ice Crystal Growth and Evolution in the Atmosphere (Lamb)

Ashley Nguyen, an undergraduate student at UC Berkeley majoring in Molecular Environmental Biology and Data Science, possesses a deep-seated passion for exploring environmental issues through a range of STEM disciplines including data science, synthetic biology, green chemistry, engineering, and sustainable entrepreneurship. As an aspiring climate scientist, she aims to integrate these diverse interests to develop innovative solutions that can both address urgent long-term environmental concerns and support underserved communities.

Ashley plans to further her education through graduate school, where she intends to continue her research contributions to the climate science community. Notable among her achievements is leading her team to nationals in a research challenge, where she advocated for a pioneering bee probiotic aimed at addressing agricultural toxicity and bee mortality. Throughout her journey, Ashley’s enduring curiosity, resilience, and commitment to addressing climate issues have solidified her endeavors for environmental and social impact.

profile_2 - Laura Pong

Project 2: Understanding and Modeling Turbulent Flow in the Atmosphere (Shamekh)

Laura Pong is an undergraduate studying Atmospheric Science and Data Science at the University of Washington. She is currently studying the impact of extreme heat on plants in the Northwest of the United States and Canada in the Ecoclimate Lab and Turner Lab, and is broadly interested in land-atmospheric interactions. Laura is hoping to take the skills she learns from research and channel them into answering climate questions relevant to her communities in her home of New York City.

DSCN0450-min - Greta VanZetten

Project 2: Understanding and Modeling Turbulent Flow in the Atmosphere (Shamekh)

Greta VanZetten is a rising junior at Columbia College studying both Data Science and Women & Gender Studies. From growing up along the shores of Lake Michigan to running through the parks of New York City, she frequently marvels at our dynamic world. At Columbia, she synthesizes statistics with narrative as she leads campus tours and works as a Statistics tutor. Through her interests in the carbon cycle/sequestration, atmospheric modeling, and machine learning, Greta has goals of influencing policy decisions as a scientist, utilizing climate models to analyze and interpret data, and providing insight into how we can alter our intersecting trajectories. In high school, she was a Michigan All-State swimmer who received the 2022 MHSAA Scholar-Athlete award given to the top 16 female varsity athletes in the state. Since then, Greta has continued her athletic endeavors as an Olympic-distance triathlete and water polo player at Columbia.


Click the image below to learn more about the Summer 2024 REU Research Projects and Project Mentors.

Important Dates

  • March 1: Virtual info session (View Here)
  • March 10: APPLICATION deadline
  • March 31: Application decision notification
  • May 26: Move in to campus housing
  • May 28 – August 2: On-campus Research Experience
  • August 3: Move out of campus housing


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