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Rong Zhang
Katie Valentine

Rong Zhang

Dr. Rong Zhang is an oceanographer and division leader of the Ocean and Cryosphere Division at NOAA's Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL) in Princeton, New Jersey. 

What drew you to your current career or field?

I wanted to pursue a career to advance the fundamental scientific understanding of the natural phenomena that have profound impacts on human society. The field of physical oceanography is perfect to satisfy both my scientific interests and my desire to contribute to society at large.

What projects or research are you working on now?

I have been working on understanding the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) and its important impacts on various regional phenomena (e.g., Atlantic multidecadal variability, Gulf Stream separation, tropical monsoon rainfall, Atlantic hurricane activity, and Arctic sea ice) and associated decadal predictability.   

What do you enjoy most about your work?

What I enjoy most about my work is the creative and intuitive thinking involved in the research, the insightful understanding of the complicated natural phenomena, and the broad impacts the research work has generated.

What does success mean to you? 

To me as a scientist, success means to advance the scientific understanding of the natural phenomena that have profound impacts on human society. Meanwhile, as a division leader, success also means to have positive impacts on other team members and help others in our division achieve success.

What’s been your favorite (or proudest) moment in your career so far? 

My favorite moments in my career are when the original discoveries I derived from theoretical understanding and numerical models are verified by observations. 

Looking back, what would you tell yourself when you were 12 years old? Or what advice would you give to a woman just starting out in her career?

Follow your heart and your dream will come true.

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