GSO Profiles-GSO Graduate Il-Kyeong Ma

May 17, 2021

Welcome to the fourteenth in our continuing series: GSO Profiles.  Each post will feature a brief interview with a member of the GSO community. For the next few weeks, we will feature GSO students who graduated over the past year. These profiles are one way we can celebrate the accomplishments of those graduating in this unusual time of COVID-19, and also welcome them to the ranks of GSO alums.

Il-Kyeong Ma received his Master of Science this past December, and his major professor was GSO Professor Isaac Ginis. Each step of his academic career has directed him forward. An interest in physical oceanography led to using models to further the understanding of the effect of the ocean on atmospheric conditions for his M.S. Ma found his niche at URI-GSO as part of Hurricane Research Group. Now he will continue his academic career in a Ph.D. program at Florida State University (where unfortunately he won’t have many opportunities to downhill ski!)

Here’s Ma in his own words:

GSOP: Tell us about your work/research at GSO: what question(s) are you trying to answer?

IM:  My research is to investigate the effects of warm ocean eddies and oceanic barrier layers on tropical cyclones intensity using an atmosphere-ocean coupled model.

 GSOP: What is your favorite thing about your work?

IM: I love investigating the impact of different oceanic conditions on tropical cyclones intensity using models.

GSOP: What led you to your studies/career in ocean science?

IM:  I was majoring in oceanography in my undergraduate course of studies at Pusan National University in Busan, South Korea. I found it interesting, especially physical oceanography and decided to move on to an M.S. course.

GSOP: What brought you to GSO?

IM:  I decided to study at GSO because of my major advisor, Isaac Ginis.

GSOP: How have the COVID precautions affected you? What was it like defending your thesis virtually?

to show what Ma does for fun.
Ma loves to go downhill skiing and here he is enjoying Bretton Woods Ski Area in New Hampshire. Photo courtesy of Il-Kyeong Ma.

IM: I’d already taken all courses for my M.S. degree before the pandemic, so COVID did not really bother me at that point but it would have been better if I could have defended my thesis in person.

GSOP: Who have been your role models or mentors?

IM: Dr. Isaac Ginis has really helped me a lot in conducting the research but I also learned a lot from my GSO lab mates: Mansur Ali Jisan, Xiaohui Zhou, and Xuanyu Chen.

GSOP: What do you do for fun?

IM: I go downhill skiing and play soccer for fun. I haven’t been skiing since the pandemic occurred and I miss that so bad.

GSOP: What is your favorite spot or view at GSO?

IM: I love the beach around GSO. I liked to go walking there.

GSOP: What is your advice for someone considering ocean science for their academic/professional career?

headshot of Ma
GSO Graduate Il-Kyeong Ma. Photo courtesy of Il-Kyeong Ma.

IM: Entering a master’s degree program would be great way to start studying ocean science. And you will definitely like it if you do it at GSO.

GSOP: If you have had some time since your defense, what have you been doing since you finished your degree?

IM: I applied for a Ph.D. program to continue my academic career and now I know I am going to Florida State University for my PhD program.