Alex Jarnot


PhD Chemistry (expected 2023)
MS Chemistry (2018)
BA Chemistry (2017)


I study the chemistry of wildfire smoke and how it impacts health and climate by flying on research aircraft through wildfires.


I grew up in rural southern Maryland by the Chesapeake Bay, and at 15 I started working at a vineyard as a field hand, which got me interested in protecting the environment. During high school I was interested in physics and chemistry, and decided to pursue that as a degree. I did my undergraduate degree at Hood College in Frederick, MD. There I got an internship for the summer after my sophomore year, which was my first introduction to research. I fell in love with it, and knew that it was what I wanted to do as my career. The following summer I applied and was accepted to the NASA Student Airborne Research Program (SARP), where I learned about atmospheric chemistry and airborne research. I decided to pursue atmospheric science as a career, and I applied and was accepted to UC Irvine where I now work for Don Blake, who was my mentor during the SARP program. I am currently studying wildfires, and am a part of two field campaigns to fly research aircraft through wildfire smoke plumes in order to study them effectively.

Why is science communication important to you?

Growing up near the Chesapeake Bay, conservation and the environment were important issues, ones that were deeply ingrained in me. If it wasn't for the communicators and scientists that took the time to reach out to the public and design the field trips for students like me to come out and have a hand in seeing what they do, then I probably wouldn't be where I am now. Their communication had a lasting impact on me, and so I would like to pay it forward and communicate important issues in science to the public.

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