Graduate School Office Spotlight: Dr. Jon Hakkila, Professor and Associate Dean

Jon Hakkila

Dr. Jon Hakkila

I grew up and attended college between New Mexico and California (with some time in Hawaii), and spent many years working in Minnesota and Alabama before coming to the College of Charleston. My undergraduate degrees are in Physics and English/American Literature, and my M.S. and Ph.D. degrees are in Astronomy. I briefly wrote poetry and worked in industry as a computer programmer/analyst before fulfilling my dream of becoming an astrophysicist. My research interests are in gamma-ray bursts and the sub-discipline of astrostatistics/astroinformatics.  

What do you like most about working at COFC? I love the people, the work environment, the climate, and the city of Charleston. Everybody should live here, but then again, we don’t want them to.

What is your favorite hangout on campus? My favorite hangout on campus would have to be the Graduate Office (Randolph Hall Suite 310; come by and visit if you have a chance). I work with amazing, friendly, productive colleagues who are really fun to be around.

Most memorable trip? I love to travel, especially with my family. As a result, I have to say that my most memorable trip is usually my most recent one. I have been to many wonderful places and countries. One Holiday break trip does stand out where our family spontaneously drove from Charleston to California, visited relatives, and drove back, all in nine or ten days.

Tell us about your family? My wife Fahn is a talented, hardworking, and generous woman who loves establishing connections between American and Chinese cultures. We met in San Diego when we discovered that we both love to eat good food. We have two wonderful daughters: Oriane is a third-year law student at Columbia University, and Leotie is a sophomore at Emory University interested in environmental studies and medicine.

Leotie's High School Graduation

Leotie’s High School Graduation

What does diversity mean to you? To me, diversity is a process by which we introspectively and empathetically share our disparate cultural backgrounds to become better-rounded, more fulfilled people. I feel fortunate that my life has allowed me to cross many cultures barriers and to live a diverse life.

The Hakkila Family

The Hakkila Family

My two daughters Leotie and Omarie

My two daughters Leotie and Oriane with the chicks

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