Spencer is a catastrophe risk analyst (CAT modeler) at State Farm and a Ph.D. student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He has worked in the insurance industry for about 7 years. Spencer wanted to continue his education with a PhD to better understand the limits of seasonal hurricane prediction and possibly develop a new model. He also studies weather conditions surrounding intense wildfires in CA. One overarching theme of his research is studying the limitation of our historical data and then trying to quantify the uncertainty from future climate change. For PCHES, Spencer studies fire weather indices (FWI)–specifically how well climate models represent FWI compared to historical data and how projections of climate change will impact FWI.
Prior to continuing his education, Spencer completed a M.Sc. in atmospheric sciences from UIUC. During this time he developed a statistical model to forecast campus electrical usage and quantified uncertainty using historical temperature data. Before that, Spencer completed two bachelor’s degrees, one in accounting and another in atmospheric science, both from UIUC.
In his free time, Spencer likes to go hiking/camping, play board games, and read. He’s a DIYer for home improvement projects and has a yellow lab, both of which keep him busy. In the future, Spencer would like to learn sailing and take long hiking trips in the Western US.