Dr. Yan Zhang

Yan  Zhang
  • Associate Director of Social Science Data Analytics (SSDA)
  • Geography, Environment, and Spatial Sciences
  • 673 Auditorium Road
  • Room 320
  • 517-355-4649


Dr. Yan Zhang serves as the associate director of the Social Science Data Analytics (SSDA) Initiative, which promotes interdisciplinary research and training on advanced computational skills to better understand social-economical-political problems in a quantitative manner.  In 2005, Dr. Zhang earned her undergraduate degree in the Program of Environmental and Resource Management from the Brandenburg University of Technology, Germany.  She then received her Ph.D. degree in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering from Princeton University, with a certificate from the Science, Technology, Environment, and Policy (STEP) Program in Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs in 2010.  With post-doctoral training experience at Princeton in the field of environmental monitoring sensor systems, Dr. Yan Zhang became an entrepreneur in 2011.  She returned to academia in February 2019, joining the Department of Geography, Environment, and Spatial Sciences at Michigan State University.


Dr. Yan Zhang’s research has been devoted to advance the understanding of how urbanization affects precipitation in the urban environment with multiple cutting-edge observational tools and state-of-the-art regional numerical models.  She has been involved in interdisciplinary studies between electrical engineering, atmospheric sciences, and hydrology.  In addition to studies of the impact of environmental policies on urban air quality, Dr. Zhang is also interested in advancing her research on hydrometeorology in urban environment and weather extremes research into a social-economical-political context.