Institute at Brown for Environment and Society

Meet the Postdocs: Sonam Futi Sherpa

Meet Dr. Sonam Futi Sherpa, a new postdoctoral researcher in IBES! Sherpa is working with Professor Laurence C. Smith's Northern Change Research Laboratory, using a NASA SWOT satellite mission to observe water and the proglacial environment. Read this Q&A (edited for length and clarity) to learn more about Sherpa's work and what she looks forward to doing at Brown.

What has your academic journey looked like thus far? 

Sonam Sherpa headshot
Sonam Futi Sherpa, Postdoctoral Research Associate in Environment and Society

I obtained my Ph.D. from Virginia Tech's Department of Geosciences in the spring of 2023 and was part of the Earth Observation and Innovation (EOI) Lab, where I focused my research on large-scale water mapping, sea level rise, and exposure utilizing remotely sensed big data. Additionally, I worked on gravity data (GRACE-FO) to understand the association between changes in glacier mass and climate seasonality in High Mountain Asia.

What are your research interests?

I am interested in utilizing novel remote sensing and machine learning tools to observe Earth from space, especially in the sectors of surface water, climate, and natural hazards.

At Brown, I am excited to use the NASA SWOT (Surface Water and Ocean Topography) satellite mission, which launched recently. I can't wait to use the mission's revolutionary data to observe water and the proglacial environment, especially given the changes brought about by our warming climate and other anthropogenic factors.

What else are you looking forward to during your time at Brown?

In addition to expanding my expertise and technical skills in the field of water and space-based remote sensing science, I am excited to expand my teaching and mentoring skills through Sheridan Teaching Certificates and other opportunities at Brown. I'm also thrilled to become part of Brown's postdoctoral and data science communities and build lifelong relationships.