Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder

Reid Scholarship Recipients


Jackson Jandreau

Jackson Jandreau, a Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering Sciences who works with Dr. Xinzhao Chu, is this year’s recipient of the George C. and Joan A. Reid Award. Jandreau was nominated by his advisor, Dr. Chu, who describes him as a “future professor and leader in the STEM workforce.”

Jandreau’s research uses lidar technologies to observe the middle and upper atmosphere from McMurdo Station in Antarctica, with a focus on vertical gravity wave coupling from the lower atmosphere deep into the thermosphere and ionosphere. “The successful execution of his research plan will most likely bring a paradigm shift in the vertical coupling of gravity waves through the Earth’s atmosphere and transform the understanding of global atmospheric dynamics, improving models and aiding climate change studies,” says Dr. Chu. Jeandreau’s work earned him co-authorship in a Journal of Geophysical Research paper published during the first year of his Ph.D. program, and he will soon be submitting two papers to the Journal of Geophysical Research as first author. 

In addition to his research, Jandreau is passionate about science communication and enjoys sharing his knowledge with others. He has written about his experiences working in Antarctica and now manages CIRES’ Antarctica campaign blog. While Jandreau’s 2020-2021 field season was cancelled due to COVID19, he organized multiple virtual Q&A sessions with the Science Museum of Oklahoma and middle/high school classes—he will now hold these and other sessions during his next deployment to McMurdo Station.


Magali Barba

Magali Barba, a Ph.D. student in Geological Sciences who works with CIRES Fellow Kristy Tiampo, is this year’s recipient of the George C. and Joan A. Reid Award. Barba was nominated by her advisor, Tiampo, and another CIRES Fellow and colleague, Mike Willis, who describe her as extremely intelligent and innovative, “focused on her own research but with a broader vision that leads to new and interesting projects and collaborations.”

At CIRES and CU Boulder, Barba’s research includes the use of DInSAR techniques to evaluate hazards such earthquakes, induced seismicity, avalanches and mudslides. She excels at satellite data processing and analysis, has recently first-authored a paper in Remote Sensing and has another draft paper nearly ready for submission to AGU’s Earth and Space Science. Barba also independently formulated a proposal under consideration at NASA’s Future Investigators in NASA Earth and Space Science and Technology (FINESST) program: “Rapid earthquake characterization using iterative FEM slip inversions of GPS, DInSAR, and optical data.” Her nominators called it “a fine example of both her excellent command of the field and her impressive technical ability.”

Barba’s record of service is as admirable as her scientific expertise. Not only has she mentored several graduate students at CU Boulder and worked with an undergraduate STEM outreach program at UNAVCO, she also founded the first national Latinx geoscience organization, SOLESS. The Society of Latinx/Hispanic Earth and Space Sciences’ mission is to increase and reinforce the representation of Latinx/Hispanics in those fields.


Neesha Schnepf

Neesha Schnepf in NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI), is this year’s recipient of the George C. and Joan A. Reid Award. Made possible by the Reids’ generous contribution to an endowed scholarship fund, the Reid Award celebrates intellectual contributions to CIRES and leadership within the broader University of Colorado Boulder community.

George Colvin Reid (1929–2011) was an eminent atmospheric scientist who pioneered research into critical environmental issues such as stratospheric ozone depletion and global climate change. Always a progressive thinker, he was one of the initial four fellows who founded the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences.

Joan A. Reid was one of the first women to enroll in the University of Colorado School of Law. She spent most of her career with the nonprofit Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation, and was a frequent community volunteer, an avid outdoorsperson, and with her husband George, an inveterate world traveler.

Schnepf works in the NOAA NCEI geomagnetism group and is a PhD student in the University of Colorado Boulder’s Department of Geological Sciences. She is advised by CIRES scientist Manoj Nair (NOAA NCEI) and CIRES Fellow Anne Sheehan (Geological Sciences). Both mentors describe her as exceptional.

Schnepf has already published several papers in her research field—the magnetic field associated with oceanic flow, and using variations in that field to determine more about issues such as tsunami propagation, the electrical structure of the lithosphere, and the circulation of ocean water. She is collaborating with international scientists on research projects and has helped to organize a geomagnetism course that brought together colleagues from the CU Boulder campus and NOAA’s geomagnetism group. Schnepf also has helped to organize three national conferences for women in physics, including one in January here at the University of Colorado Boulder. She and her colleagues brought together female undergraduate physics majors from throughout the western United States, for three days of keynote talks, networking, career workshops, and tours.

Neesha’s geomagnetism research connects a variety of CIRES research from space weather to solid earth sciences to ocean circulation and climate change. “She is an emerging star in the field of geophysics, has a strong publication record, is active in outreach, and has my highest recommendation,” one of her nominators wrote.


Thomas Detmer

Tommy Detmer, who recently defended his PhD with William Lewis, Jr. is this year’s recipient of the George C. and Joan A. Reid Award. Made possible by the Reids’ generous contribution to an endowed scholarship fund, the Reid Award celebrates intellectual contributions to CIRES and leadership within the broader University of Colorado Boulder community.

Detmer has demonstrated exceptional scholarship in his research and is dedicated to the Boulder academic community. He began his academic career at the University of Colorado Boulder, graduating summa cum laude with a degree in Environmental Studies. As a doctoral candidate, he received an NSF GK-12 Fellowship and a prestigious CIRES Graduate Student Award. As a Ph.D. student, he served as co-chair of the CIRES Graduate Association for more than four years, during which he has grown and transformed the organization. Detmer has also been recognized for his contributions to other organizations across the CU Boulder community.

  • Detmer received the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology TA Award (2011),
  • served as the elected student to the Eco/Evo Curriculum Development Committee, and
  • has volunteered for many ancillary. community outreach activities, including the NOAA Ocean Sciences Bowl, the Boulder Valley School District Science Symposium, and the National Geographic and Rocky Mountain National Park Bio Blitz.

Detmer embodies the standards of excellence that George and Joan Reid demonstrated through their own lives.


Raea Lessard (Hicks)

Raea Lessard (now Hicks) is an atmospheric chemist whose PhD research centers on laboratory experiments to better understand the haze particles that form high in the atmosphere of Titan, a moon of Saturn. Although she is focusing on a faraway world, it has many similarities to the upper atmosphere of our own Earth, where much of George Reid’s research was focused. The haze on Titan forms at an altitude of around 500 km, and is initiated by high-energy electrons and deep ultraviolet light from the sun. Raea’s laboratory experiments probe the chemical composition of haze particles generated in the laboratory by ion and neutral chemistry. She has performed some of the first pressure-dependent studies of haze formation initiated by UV light, a good first step in understanding haze generation at high altitudes. She is also using isotopically labeled precursor gases to gain deeper insight into haze formation mechanisms.

In addition to her PhD research, Raea has been an active member of the CIRES community. For the last two years she has been a co-leader of the CIRES Graduate Student Association, a group devoted to providing networking and professional development opportunities for CIRES graduate students.