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May 15, 2024

Andrey Marsavin, Allie Mazurek receive the Riehl and Silva Dias Awards

Each spring, the department awards the Herbert Riehl Memorial Award and the Maria Silva Dias Award to students nominated by their advisers for outstanding research. Andrey Marsavin and Allie Mazurek received the Riehl Award and the Silva Dias Award respectively this year.

The Riehl Award, named in honor of department founder Herbert Riehl, recognizes an outstanding research paper by an M.S. student or beginning Ph.D. student. Marsavin was nominated by his adviser, Professor Jeff Collett, for his first-authored paper, “Summertime ozone production at Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico: influence of oil and natural gas development,” which has been accepted subject to minor revisions at Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres.

Using a photochemical box model and extensive observations of volatile organic compounds and nitrogen oxides to examine ozone production in Carlsbad Caverns National Park (CAVE), Marsavin’s research seeks to identify the source of and significant impacts on peak ozone levels in the park from the nearby Permian Basin.

“The work in his paper, and subsequent analyses he is now conducting using subsequent ground observations and satellite data to look at the evolution of ozone production and its sensitivity to regional NOx and volatile organic compounds (VOC) emissions, is drawing substantial scientific and policy interest,” Collett wrote in his nomination letter.

Silva Dias Award recipient and Ph.D. candidate Allie Mazurek was nominated by her adviser, Professor Russ Schumacher, for her research using “explainable AI” (xAI) methods to quantify what inputs the machine learning system is using to make its forecasts at each day and time, addressing the concerns about using artificial intelligence and machine learning for predictions, particularly the difficulty in understanding how algorithms are making their predictions.

Her paper on this research, “Can Ingredients-Based Forecasting be Learned? Disentangling a Random Forest’s Severe Weather Predictions,” was submitted to Weather and Forecasting in November 2023.

Schumacher noted that Mazurek’s findings “are expected to improve the confidence and trust that users can place in AI-based forecast systems, and may also yield new insights in to how the predictions can be improved in the future.”

The Silva Dias Award is given to a senior Ph.D. student in recognition of their outstanding research. Previously known as the Alumni Award, through a student-led initiative it was re-named for alumna Maria Silva Dias. Silva Dias, the department’s first woman Ph.D. graduate, received the 2017 ATS Outstanding Alum Award.

Marsavin and Mazurek were recognized at a special ceremony in April. Congratulations to both outstanding students!

Photo caption: (left panel) Professor Jeff Collett, Andrey Marsavin, and Herbert Riehl. Jr.; (right panel) Professor Russ Schumacher and Allie Mazurek.