Colorado State University

Team Members

Group Photos

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Group photo 4
October 2023 (left to right) Angelie, Phil, Delian, Nick, Michael, Isaac, Jen, Alex, Chelsea, and Tyler (with Michael's dog, Cooper)
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Group photo 1
December 2022 (left to right) Alex, Rung, Tyler, Jen, Chelsea, Angelie, Ting-Yu, and Michael
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Group photo 2
October 2021 (left to right) Michael, Ali, Chelsea, Alex, Ting-Yu, Phil, Tyler, Chandra, Rung, Ellie, and Jen
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Group photo 3
January 2020 (left to right) Naufal, Jen, Alex, Chelsea, Ellie, Jon, Ali, Ting-Yu, Dandan, Kate, Brianna, Chandra, Rung, Jhordanne, and Michael

Please click the photo to find more info about each member

Michael Bell,
Phil Klotzbach,
Senior Research Scientist
Brenda Dolan,
Research Scientist III
Jen DeHart,
Research Scientist I
Levi Silvers,
Research Scientist I
Tyler Barbero,
Ph.D. Student
Delián Colón-Burgos,
M.S. Student
Alex DesRosiers,
Ph.D. Candidate
Nick Mesa,
M.S. Student
Angelie Nieves-Jiménez,
M.S. Student
Rung Panasawat-wong,
Ph.D. Candidate
Isaac Schluesche,
M.S. Student

Brief intro of each member



Professor Michael Bell is the principal investigator of the CSU Tropical Weather and Climate Research Group. He became interested in studying the atmosphere and tropical cyclones (TCs) growing up in coastal Florida and being impacted by hurricanes. After obtaining a B.A. degree from the University of Florida, he moved to Colorado to pursue math and meteorology, and worked at NCAR as a researcher and airborne radar support scientist. He completed his M.S. thesis at Colorado State University on TC intensity theory and Ph.D. dissertation at Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) in Monterey, California on air-sea interaction in TCs. Dr. Bell became an assistant professor at University of Hawaii in 2012, and returned to Colorado in 2016 to join the faculty at CSU where he currently teaches and researches atmospheric science. He is the recipient of the NSF CAREER, ONR Young Investigator, and White House PECASE Awards for his research in tropical meteorology, TCs, field experiments, radar observations, and numerical modeling. He enjoys hiking, canoeing, and music, and serves on the Board of Directors for the Fort Collins Area Swim Team.



Jennifer is a Research Scientist I. In her research, Jennifer uses a combination of polarimetric radar observations and mesoscale models to understand the processes responsible for heavy tropical rainfall in a variety of weather systems. Prior to arriving at CSU, Jennifer received her Ph.D. from the University of Washington, where she worked with Prof. Robert Houze, Jr. to understand how external forcings affect the three-dimensional structure of tropical cyclones. Throughout her career, Jennifer has been fortunate to participate in several field campaigns, including VORTEX2, HS3, OLYMPEX, and the upcoming PRECIP campaign in 2021. In her free time, Jennifer enjoys traveling and eating delicious food.


Phil Klotzbach is a Research Scientist in the Department of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University. He received his Ph.D. in Atmospheric Science from CSU in 2007. Klotzbach has been employed in the Department of Atmospheric Science for the past twenty years and was co-author on the Atlantic basin hurricane forecasts with Dr. William Gray through 2005. He became first author on the seasonal hurricane forecasts in 2006. Klotzbach developed the two-week forecasts currently being issued during the peak months of the hurricane season between August-October. He has authored over 50 articles in peer-reviewed journals such as Journal of Climate and Weather and Forecasting. Klotzbach graduated from Bridgewater State College with a BS degree in Geography in 1999. He then attended Colorado State University where he received his Masters degree in Atmospheric Science in 2002. After receiving his Masters degree, Klotzbach thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine (2100+ miles). He has also climbed all 54 14,000 foot peaks in Colorado, and has completed nine marathons and six ultra-marathons.


Levi Silvers is a Research Scientist in the Department of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University. He received his Ph.D. in Atmospheric Science from CSU in 2011. Levi’s research is focused on the mechanisms by which clouds and atmospheric moisture influence the flow of energy through the Earth’s system. Recently this has including using the paradigm of an overturning tropical circulation to investigate the interactions between the large-scale circulations and the different types of clouds that are embedded therein. Also of interest is the role that cloud radiative effects play in driving the response of the climate system to particular patterns of sea surface temperature. Levi’s research has made use of a variety of modeling tools that include global Earth-like climate models, idealized mock-Walker simulations, and simulations of radiative-convective equilibrium. After finishing his Ph.D. Levi moved to Germany for a postdoc position at the Max-Planck Institute for Meteorology. Levi has also worked at the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory as the lead scientist for GFDL's participation in the Cloud Feedback Model Intercomparison Project during CMIP6 and as a Research Scientist at Stony Brook University in the School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. Levi derives great satisfaction from spending time with his family and by being outside, whether atop mountains or along the sea.


Brenda is a Research Scientist III at Colorado State University. She received her Ph.D. in Atmospheric Science from CSU in 2009. Brenda's research focuses on precipitation and microphysical processes using polarimetric radar, satellites, and disdrometers. Brenda's research interests include radar analysis and algorithms, observational integration and validation of cloud-resolving models, precipitation processes, and cloud physics. She is an expert in polarimetric radar, having developed one of the first hydrometeor identification algorithms for short-wavelength radars (X- and C-band). Additionally, she has worked with a wide variety of radars from around the world including ground, ship, and satellite-based radars from Ka- to S-band. Brenda enjoys field work and has participated in over 10 field projects as a radar or mission scientist. She works at the interface of cloud resolving models and observations, using them synergistically to improve observational retrievals and better model representation of physical processes. In her spare time, Brenda can be found baking, skiing, hiking, camping, or taking flying adventures with her pilot husband and two kids.



Angelie Nieves-Jiménez is a second year M.S. student born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Angelie graduated from the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez with a B.S. in Industrial Engineering. Her motivation to study Atmospheric Sciences during her undergraduate studies was complemented by her work as a National Science Foundation Significant Opportunities In Atmospheric Research and Science (NSF SOARS) Protégé for four years at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). As a 2023 National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship Program (NSF GRFP) recipient, Angelie works on improving knowledge of tropical cyclone rapid intensification and associated extreme rainfall. She devotes her time to volunteering on AMS Committees such as the AMS STAC Committee on Tropical Cyclones and Tropical Meteorology and the AMS Board on Representation, Accessibility, Inclusion, and Diversity and is also a member of the AMS Early Career Leadership Academy 2024 (ECLA) cohort. One of her main goals is to inspire the future generation and give back to her island by increasing education in this discipline and guiding the community when natural hazards are imminent. In her spare time, Angelie enjoys spending time with her family, friends, and her dog Nova in Puerto Rico and eating Puerto Rican fried food.


Alex is a Ph.D. candidate at Colorado State University. He was born and raised in Tampa Florida and obtained his Bachelor's Degree in Environmental Engineering from the University of Florida. An affinity for the outdoors has made Colorado an excellent new home. Alex’s current research aims to identify internal mechanisms driving rapid intensification in recent Atlantic storms. In situ data such as the NOAA P-3 Tail Doppler Radar will be used to capture these mechanisms in action. This research also incorporates machine learning techniques to lessen the time and effort it takes to quality control radar data. The end goal is a better understanding of how rapid intensity changes occur in order to provide more information for modelers and forecasters.


Tyler Barbero is a first year Ph.D. student originally from Santa Clara, California. He received his B.S. in Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences and minor in Mathematics from Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the University of California San Diego. His undergraduate research involved looking at dust dynamics and transport in Southern California but his interests took a turn when he interned at the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL) on a project investigating tropical cyclone (TC) track biases in GFS, IFS and GFDL SHiELD models. He plans to continue this research into his Masters and also explore other interests which include tropical waves, large-scale atmospheric and oceanic controls on TCs among others. Alongside research, Tyler aspires to teach and through this, inspire in people the same enthusiasm he has for this field. For pastime activities, he enjoys rock climbing, surfing (when near an ocean), and unwinding with a beer (or two) after a long week.


Delián Colón Burgos is an M.S. student from Cayey, Puerto Rico. She received her B.S. in Meteorology and Atmospheric Science and a minor in Geography from The Pennsylvania State University. During her undergraduate years she participated in the NSF Weather, Climate, and Society REU, was a SOARS protégé at NCAR, and interned at the National Hurricane Center as a NOAA Hollings Scholar; all experiences that reaffirmed her research interests in tropical meteorology. She received the 2023 NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, which will support her research on tropical cyclogenesis and rapid intensification processes, through analyzing observational data from the TCRI and CPEX-CV2 field campaigns. She enjoys giving back to her community by mentoring younger students and educating about weather hazards. Delián also enjoys the outdoors, dancing, and spending time with her family and friends.

Rung Panasawatwong  


Rung is a Ph.D. candidate co-advised by Michael Bell and Kristen Rasmussen. She's originally from Bangkok, Thailand and is receiving the Thai Government Scholarship. She is interested in extreme-rainfall producing storms in the Tropical East Asia Region. She received her Bachelors and Master of Science degrees from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she studied climate sensitivity to CO2 and reversing rainfall trends over Southeast Asia. Currently, she is working with an ingredient framework to study extreme storms, using radar observations and reanalysis data to study the climatology of extreme storms in preparation for the PRECIP field campaign in 2021 in Taiwan and Japan. Outside of work, she’s interested in different cultures and foreign languages. She can speak Thai and English fluently, and can hold conversations in Japanese.


Isaac is a first year M.S. student originally from Sun Praire, Wisconsin. He recieved his B.S. in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences and Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He developed an interest in tropical cyclones through an undergraduate internship at the National Hurricane Center, where he worked on creating and analyzing and ensemble of statistical-dyanmical models. He plans to continue this project, and hopefully publish it in the near future! In his M.S., he will be working on developing software and investigating TC dyanmics using the Airborne Phased Array Radar (APAR) system. In his free time, he enjoys photography, running, hiking, and storm chasing (when Mother Nature sees fit).


Nick Mesa is a first-year M.S. student originally from Miami, Florida. He comes to Colorado State after having graduated from the University of Florida with a B.S. in Civil Engineering and a Certificate in Meteorology and Climatology. His undergraduate research experiences included working with the NOAA Hurricane Research Division as a William M. Lapenta Scholar in 2021, along with multiple research projects associated with the National Science Foundation Natural Hazards Engineering Research Infrastructure network. As a recipient of the American Meteorological Society Graduate Fellowship and National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, Nick's research will focus on tropical cyclones facing moderate shear and their intensification processes. His first-year research will use the Geostationary Lightning Mapper to investigate the relationship between lightning and developing tropical cyclones. Outside of work, Nick enjoys getting outside and active (ranging from playing sports, hiking, or biking), in addition to reading literary classics and books on Latin American history. You can also catch Nick keeping up with his beloved South Florida sports teams while he also jumps on the Colorado sports bandwagon.

Group Alumni/ Past Members

  • Research Scientist I from Aug. 2018 to Oct. 2020
  • Current Affilation: Researcher at Geophysical Institude at University of Bergen, Norway

  • Research Associate from Jan. 2020 to May 2020
  • Current Affilation: Associate Scientist at National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR)

  • M.S. in 2022
  • Thesis: Ensemble-Based Analyses of Liminal Extreme Rainfall Events Near Taiwan and Northern Colorado
  • Current Affilation: Atmospheric scientist at CPP Wind Engineering Consulate

  • Chandra Pasillas  

  • Ph.D. in 2023
  • Thesis: Turning Day into Night: The creation, validation, and application of synthetic lunar reflectance values from the Day Night Band and Infrared Sensors for use with JPSS VIIRS and GOES ABI.
  • Current Affilation: Atmospheric science instructor at the Air Force Institute of Technology, Wright Patterson AFB, Ohio

  • Chaehyeon Chelsea Nam  

  • Ph.D. in 2021
  • Thesis: Multi-scale Interactions Leading to Tropical Cyclogenesis in Sheared Environments
  • Current Affilation: Assistant Professor, Florida State University

  • Ph.D. in 2023
  • Thesis: Investigation of the dynamics of tropical cyclone precipitation structure using radar observations and numerical modeling
  • Current Affilation: NCAR ASP Postdoctoral Fellow

  • Postdoc from 2014 to 2016
  • Current Affilation: Program Coordinator at NOAA/OAR/Off. of Weather and Air Quality

  • Research Associate from Jan. 2020 to Mar. 2021
  • Current Affilation: Senior Data Scientist at Nutrien Ag Solutions

  • Ph.D. in 2020
  • Thesis: On Intensity Change and the Effects of Shortwave Radiation on Tropical Cyclone Rainbands
  • Current Affilation: Associate Scientist at UCAR/NHC

  • Annette Foerster  

  • Ph.D. in 2017
  • Thesis: Radar-derived Thermodynamic Structure of a Major Hurricane in Vertical Wind Shear
  • Current Affilation: ITGAIN Consulting Gesellschaft für IT-Beratung mbH

  • Ph.D. in 2022
  • Thesis: Investigation of Relationships Between Tropical Cyclone Structure and Intensity Change
  • Current Affilation: Postdoc at Naval Postgraduate School

  • Jhordanne Jones  

  • Ph.D. in 2021
  • Thesis: An Examination of the Large-Scale Drivers of North Atlantic Vertical Wind Shear and Seasonal Tropical Cylcone Variability
  • Current Affilation: Postdoc at Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences of Purdue University

  • Shannon McElhinney  

  • M.S. in 2014
  • Thesis: Observations of Supergradient Winds in the Tropical Cyclone Boundary Layer
  • Current Affilation: Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, Princeton, NJ

  • Andrew Frambach  

  • M.S. in 2015
  • Thesis: Dual-polarization Radar Characteristics of Convection in Hawaii during HERO
  • Current Affilation: Center for Severe Weather Research, Boulder, CO

  • Postdoc from 2017 to 2019
  • Current Affilation: ASP Postdoc at National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR)

  • Jonathan Martinez  

  • Ph.D. in 2020
  • Thesis: Axisymmetric and Asymmetric Processes Contributing to Tropical Cyclone Intensification and Expansion
  • Current Affilation: ASP Postdoc Fellow at National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR)

  • Ph.D. in 2021
  • Thesis: Satellite-based Investigation of Convection and Precipitation in Tropical Cyclone Intensity Change
  • Current Affilation: Postdoc at Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere (CIRA)