Samantha Murphy

Samantha Murphy

  • M.S. Graduate Student
530 Walker Building
University Park, PA 16802


  1. B.S. in Physics (magna cum laude), Minor in Ecosystems and Human Impact, Stony Brook University 2020


Advisor: Dr. Kenneth Davis

Professional affiliations:

Sigma Pi Sigma

American Meteorological Society

Current Work:

I study interactions between the earth's surface and the atmosphere. I have a particular interest in the role of vegetation in the carbon cycle. For example, I work with carbon dioxide flux measurements recorded at corn field sites around Indianapolis as part of the Indianapolis Flux Experiment (INFLUX). These data can help us explore questions such as: how similar/different are the magnitudes of carbon dioxide fluxes at different corn sites? I have also been working on running the Vegetation Photosynthesis Respiration Model for an area around Indianapolis. To do this, I get to work with data from a variety of different sources, including remote sensing data, land cover data, and model outputs from the Weather Research and Forecasting Model.

A little about how I got here:

I studied physics for my undergraduate degree. Even early into my bachelor's degree, I knew that I wanted to use this background in physical processes and mathematics to study the climate and environment, but I didn't know specifically how. Outside of my major courses, I took classes in biology and sustainability, and I did research in marine and atmospheric sciences. Now, as a student in Dr. Davis’ group, I get to work at the intersection of my interests and learn about the biogenic influences on and the physical processes that occur within the atmosphere.

Previous Work:

As an undergraduate student at Stony Brook University, I spent three years working within a research group in the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences. In particular, I contributed to research regarding the effects of changes in climate, like increasing temperatures and changing salinities, on the Blue Crab (Callinectes sapidus). My graduate student mentor and I developed an updated bioenergetic model for the Blue Crab which can be used to predict possible impacts of future climate scenarios on the species.

During the summer of 2019, I had the opportunity to work as an intern in the Environmental and Climate Sciences Department at Brookhaven National Laboratory through the Department of Energy's Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internships Program. Here, I compared the impacts on analysis results of using different calibration materials for the Single Particle Soot Photometer, which is an instrument that measures properties of individual black carbon containing particles. To conclude my project, I made a recommendation for a standard calibration material for the instrument.

Other interests/hobbies:

When there is time, there are things I like to do aside from work! One of my favorite things to do is to get outside and roller skate. I like to draw and paint, and as of recently I’ve gotten into digital art (I have been drawing a lot of frogs). I also enjoy embroidery, playing some video games, and trying to propagate plants.