New Graduate Student: Maile Sasaki

Maile Sasaki

Brand new to the Orange and Blue is Maile Sasaki, starting her first year as a grad student in Atmospheric Sciences.  As she begins this latest journey, we wanted to get to know her as she gets to know the University of Illinois.

Maile hails-no pun intended-from the Bay Area in Northern California via Albuquerque, New Mexico and studied physics as a UG at UC Santa Barbara.  The weather there, she says, is very nice but foggy for a lot of the year.

We asked Maile why she chose Illinois for her graduate education and she mentioned Dr. Cristian Proistosescu specifically. A big draw was that she would be working with machine learning and continuing with coding that she did as an undergrad.  While she worked in physics and astronomy, environmental change was what she really wanted to study, and our Atmospheric Sciences program was the best fit for her.

As a grad student, she’ll be using data to improve climate model projections.  As an example, coral reefs are major predictors in global warming studies as they record marine temperatures as they grow.  She’ll focus on developing a physical-statistical model of Earth’s natural climate variability from that data.  Quoting Maile, “This model will help us disentangle natural changes from anthropogenic contribution to recent warming trends, ultimately helping us create better projections for Earth’s future temperatures”.

With all that brain work ahead of her, what does she do to relax? She enjoys painting and drawing and she also likes to swim and jog. Maile says she’s not too good at either, but with all of the beautiful scenery on campus, we think she’ll get to Olympic long distance runner status in no time.

What does the future hold for Maile once she leaves the hallowed ground of UIUC?  She’d like to continue doing research in climate science-possibly more in the data science direction.  “I’m not very sure what I want to do but I think that going through graduate school will open up many opportunities I haven’t seen before.”

Whatever path she takes her next steps on, we at Atmospheric Sciences will be proud to call her an alum.

So, welcome, Maile!  We look forward to sharing the next few years with you.