Current Group




photo of Sonia Lasher-Trapp with a koala





Picture of Emma Scot



photo of Enoch Jo



photo of Luke Allen



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.




EMMa scott, m.s. Student

Emma joined the group in August of 2017 after completing a B.S. in Meteorology at North Carolina State University.  For her M.S., Emma is using CM1 to perform high-resolution simulations of Southern Ocean clouds as part of the SOCRATES campaign.  She is studying the interactions between ice production and persistence of supercooled liquid water in long-lived cumulus and stratocumulus clouds over the Southern Ocean.    






Enoch joined the group in Fall 2018.  His research will entail the quantification of entrainment in thunderstorms and its effects upon precipitation efficiency, using the CM1 model run at high resolution on the Blue Waters supercomputer.  







Luke Allen, M.S. Student

Luke started working in the group in Fall 2018. 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, Ph.D. Student

Holly joined the group in Fall 2016, and completed her M.S. in Summer 2018. Her research was a numerical investigation of the effects of phase changes of different microphysical hydrometeors in influencing upon thunderstorm cold pool development. Holly is now pursing a Ph.D. in our group, on a forthcoming topic related to the numerical modeling of hail.










Bryan engelsen, m.s. 2018

Bryan is currently a an Air Quality Scientist at ERM environmental consulting in the Chicago area.  


 Daniel is currently a Computational Scientist (HPC team) with the Lyda Hill Dept. of Bioinformatics at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

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.