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Owen Doherty (PhD, 2012)

Owen Doherty with his wife and fellow SoMAS alum Anne Cooper Doherty (PhD, 2013)

Owen Doherty earned his PhD from Stony Brook in December 2012, working on mineral dust transport. He, Nicole Riemer, Sultan Hameed and Kirk Cochran successfully identified a new paradigm that explained variability and loadings and sources of  mineral dust blowing off Africa. He then went on to post-doc at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego. According to Owen, “life as an academic post-doc is sort of the pinnacle. You get to spend almost all of your time deep into a research project, learning new things and exploring your ideas in depth.”

In addition to conducting research while at SoMAS Owen helped teach a number of courses on a wide range of topics including global environmental problems, thermodynamics, remote sensing, MATLAB and data analysis. “Kirk Cochran and Anne McElroy taught me how to develop, manage and teach a large overview course. I owe them a lot for showing me the ropes.” He also developed leadership skills at Stony Brook “as head of Friday Beers, to head of the softball team and ultimately president of the grad club and a member of the Dean search committee.”

Owen’s data analysis background and leadership skills have continued to serve him well. He recently started up a consulting firm called Eagle Rock Analytics. He admits that starting your own business is “both daunting and exciting.” He gets to incorporate his wide range of skills to brainstorms new project ideas, collaborate with others, do science and data analysis every day. “The future of science is multidisciplinary studies, so folks who have a wide breath of knowledge to work from are at an advantage.”

Owen’s advice for students at SoMAS are entrepreneurial in spirit as he puts the onus on individuals to guide their own learning, rather than always relying on professors to lead the way. “Taking courses in grad school is like riding a bike with training wheels — take off the training wheels, read a paper, set up an experiment and teach yourself!”


Owen is now the Principal Research Scientist at Eagle Rock Analytics.