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Joseph Ko

Ph.D. Graduate, 2022
Hometown: Los Angeles, CA

Joe was born in Koreatown and raised in the San Gabriel Valley. As a first-generation
college student, he earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Environmental
Engineering from UC Berkeley. After graduating from Berkeley, he worked for three
years; first in environmental consulting (Oakland, CA) and then at the US EPA
(Chicago, IL), before deciding to move back to his hometown to pursue his Ph.D. at
USC. Joe likes skateboarding, cooking, and interesting art.

Research Interests

Joe is interested in interdisciplinary research that falls within the intersection of air
quality, urban climate, and energy. His current research focuses on non-greenhouse-
gas contributors to local and regional warming: (1) black carbon aerosols and (2) the
urban heat island effect.

 Awards and Honors

  • 15th Conference on the Urban Environment AMS Student Presentation Award, 2020
  • USC Viterbi Graduate School Fellowship, 2017


  • MS, Computer Science – University of Southern California, 2021
  • MS, Environmental Engineering – University of California, Berkeley, 2014
  • BS, Civil and Environmental Engineering – University of California, Berkeley, 2013

Peer-Reviewed Journal Publications:

  • Ko, J., Krasowsky, T., and Ban-Weiss, G.: Measurements to determine the mixing state
    of black carbon emitted from the 2017–2018 California wildfires and urban Los Angeles,
    Atmos. Chem. Phys., 20, 15635–15664,,
  • Schlaerth, H., Ko, J., Sugrue, R., Preble, C. and Ban-Weiss, G.: Determining black
    carbon emissions and activity from in-use harbor craft in Southern California, Atmos.
    Environ., 256(March), 118382,, 2021.
  • Ko, J., Schlaerth, H., Bruce, A., Sanders, K., and Ban-Weiss, G.: Measuring the
    temperature impacts and albedo change of neighborhood-scale cool pavement
    deployments in the Los Angeles area, Environ. Res. Lett., 2022 (in press).