Current Group




Professor Lasher-Trapp in England






Picture of Graduate Student Daniel Moser


pic of Bryan Engelsen


pic of Holly Mallinson





Prof. Sonia Lasher-Trapp

I grew up in rural Southern Indiana. As a child I enjoyed watching thunderstorms but was also frightened by the prospect of a tornado hitting our house, especially during the night. At my parents' urging (they were tired of being awakened in the middle of the night by my warnings that we should all retreat to the basement), I decided to learn more about these atmospheric phenomena.

I attended St. Louis University for my undergraduate education in atmospheric science, and afterward attended the University of Oklahoma for my M.S. and Ph.D. in meteorology. While in graduate school I satisfied some of my curiosity about thunderstorms and tornadoes, but discovered a new interest as well: cloud physics. I was lucky to experience both field work and numerical modeling during my doctoral research, and continue to enjoy both approaches.

After receiving my Ph.D., I took a post-doctoral appointment in the Advanced Study Program at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, CO, where I worked with some of the top cloud physicists in the field, and I continued these collaborations in residence at NCAR . In January 2003, I took a faculty position at Purdue University, where I built the Cloud Microphysics Research group.  In August 2014, it was time for a change, and I joined the faculty in the Dept. of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

I enjoy having a research group to discuss new ideas (and revisit old ones), and take great satisfaction in assisting students to become better scientists. I also have high hopes that we are producing results of great benefit to society, whether it be by leading to better precipitation forecasts, understanding regional and global climate change, or creating a future generation of atmospheric scientists capable of tacking the challenges that lie ahead.



Daniel Moser, Ph. D. Student

Daniel joined the group in Fall 2012 when it was still located at Purdue University, after receiving his B.S. in Physics at Indiana State University.  Daniel participated in the NSF-supported COPE-MED field campaign in Summer 2013 (image left) and helped to collect and analyze the data.  His primary interest lies in numerical modeling, however, and he has incorporated the entrainment quantification algorithm of Dawe and Austin (2011) into several models, including the Straka model and CM1.  He is currently running high-resolution simulations on the Blue Waters supercomputer, using the COPE observations as a guide, to quantify how those clouds entrained dry air, and the influences of this entrainment upon precipitation development.  




Bryan Engelsen, M.S. Student

Bryan started working in the group as an undergraduate student at the University of Illinois in Spring 2016, when he learned to run the CM1 model and analyze differences in thunderstorm cold pools resulting from microphysical differences in storms.  He is currently working on his M.S., performing high-resolution simulations of cumulus clouds and storms on the Blue Waters supercomputer to study entrainment and its effects at the early stages of the storms. 




Holly Mallinson, M.S. Student

Holly joined the group in Fall 2016, after earning a B.S. in Atmospheric Science from the University of Louisiana-Monroe and completing a summer internship at NASA-Goddard. Holly is working on a DOE-sponsored project investigating the effects of different microphysical processes in producing rain, graupel and hail and their influence upon thunderstorm cold pool and outflow development, and possible subsequent convective generation of new storms. She is currently using the CM1 model and performing high-resolution simulations on the Blue Waters supercomputer.





Shailendra Kumar, post-doc Feb-Dec 2016

Shailendra is currently a research scientist at the Indian Institute of Technology in Kanpur, working in the group of Prof. Sachchida Nand Tripathi.

Steven Naegele, B.S. 2014

Steven is currently a graduate student in the Department of Meteorology at Penn. State University.


Cecille Villanueva, Ph.D 2014

Cecille is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Georges Lemaître Centre for Earth and Climate Research, Belgium.

alexandria Johnson, Ph.d 2014

Alex is currently a Postdoctoral Associate in the Dept. of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences, MIT, with a courtesy appointment at Brown University.         

COLIN TULLY, B.S. 2013 (M.S. Univ. of Leeds 2014)

Colin is currently employed at CH2M Hill environmental and engineering consulting services.  

Kathleen Quardokus, M.S. 2010, (Ph.d Western Michigan univ. 2014)

Kathy is on the faculty in the Department of Earth & Environment at Florida International University.    

Amanda Sheffield, B.S. 2009, (M.s Colorado State univ. 2011, PH.D. 2015)

Amanda is presently a postdoc at Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

Dan Arthur, M.S. 2009

Dan is currently employed as Data Manager and IT Specialist at USDA-ARS, State College, PA.           

Jennifer Bewley, Ph.D. 2009

Jen is currently employed by AvMet Applications, an aviation consulting firm based in Reston, VA.

Colleen (Henry) Reiche, Ph.D. 2008

Colleen is currently employed by AvMet Applications, an aviation consulting firm based in Reston, VA.           

Justin Stachnik, B.S. 2005, M. S. 2007, (Ph.D Texas A&M Univ. 2013)

Justin is currently on the faculty in the Department of Geography and Atmospheric Science, University of Kansas.

Sarah Anderson-Bereznicki, M.S. 2005, (Ph.D Purdue Civil Engineering 2008)

Sarah is currently employed as an atmospheric engineer at Leidos IT.