Openings and opportunities

I am always looking for excellent postdoctoral scholars and students of all levels to join my group. If you are interested, feel free to contact me at jfkok *at* ucla *dot* edu. Please include your CV, (unofficial) transcripts, and a description of your background and research interests. I value a rigorous quantitative background and strong communication skills. I am passionate about broadening participation of groups that have been traditionally underrepresented in science, so I particularly welcome interest from women and underrepresented minorities.

Information on the PhD program in the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences at UCLA is available here, and details on the application process are here. To help demystify the the mutual expectations in the graduate student – advisor relationship, I have put together some guidelines for graduate students in my group here.


Ongoing projects in my group, with opportunities for student involvement at different levels, include:

  • A funded NSF project to constrain how much dust is in the atmosphere and what some of its most important impacts are. At any given time, our atmosphere contains tens of millions of metric tons of desert dust. Surprisingly, many basic questions regarding the effects of tens of millions of metric tons of desert dust in the atmosphere are poorly known. How much dust is actually in the atmosphere? Does desert dust warm or cool our planet? Will future climate-induced changes in dust storms oppose or enhance man-made climate changes? What are the impacts of dust on human health? This project will address these fundamental questions by leveraging satellite observations, experimental measurements of atmospheric dust and its properties, and climate model simulations of desert dust climate impacts. Here is a relevant paper on this project.
  • Another funded NSF project to understand how turbulence affects fluxes of wind-blown sand and dust, and how we can better link the emission of dust aerosols to the atmospheric boundary layer flow resolved in climate and weather models. The overarching goal is thus to improve the representation of dust emission in models, and use this to test the hypothesis that intermittency in dust emission plays an important role in the timing and magnitude of dust events.
  • Understanding the physics of dust emission and sand transport, in part by analyzing extensive data obtained from field measurements (relevant paper here), and in part by using a detailed numerical model (relevant paper here). This includes a project to determine whether sand dunes are important sources of dust to the global atmosphere, funded by the U.S. – Israel Binational Science Foundation.
  • Another funded project on understanding the initiation of sand transport and dust emission.
  • Sand transport and extraterrestrial words, most notably Mars and Titan, Saturn’s largest moon.
  • Understanding the physics and climate impact of blowing snow.
  • Understanding the role of dust in nucleation of ice crystals in mixed-phase and cirrus clouds.


Graduate and postdoctoral fellowships

If you are a prospective graduate student or postdoctoral fellow interested in joining my group, you can also apply for your own funding through a number of fellowships. Graduate students can apply for a number of prestigious fellowships, including:

There also are a number of excellent fellowships for prospective postdoctoral fellows, including:

Provided that your research interests and qualifications are a good match for my group, I would be happy to advice you in preparing your fellowship application. Keep in mind that writing a competitive proposal takes a lot of time, so it’s best to start (and contact me) well ahead of the application deadline.