Peer Mentoring Program

The Atmospheric Science Peer Mentorship Program pairs student mentors with undergraduate mentees. Being someone who is or was recently an undergraduate student themselves, mentors can provide students with helpful guidance from their experiences. Careers, research, graduate school, internships, scholarships, even how to e-mail professors – you name it and our mentors can help!

In addition to helping undergraduate students feel prepared for their next steps after graduating, the peer-mentoring program is intended to create a safe, inclusive environment for all students to be their authentic self while building a stronger community in the Atmospheric Science program. The program encourages the use of preferred pronouns and other inclusive language in mentorship meetings. The program can especially benefit underrepresented minority and first-generation students from the increased sense of community, support, and guidance. The peer-mentoring program also provides mentors with the chance to develop their leadership skills.

How Do I Sign Up?

Interested in joining the peer mentorship program? Students are welcome to sign up anytime. Mentors and mentees are paired based on their interests and background. Mentees can leave the program or request another mentor at any time, as well as select a meeting schedule that works best for them. If you’d like to learn more about the program before signing up, please contact Dillon Blount, the current peer mentoring program coordinator.

2022 Mentor Bios

Megan BiesmannMegan Biesmann

I am a senior undergraduate student in the Atmospheric Science major. I did a Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program in New Hampshire during summer 2021, where I did research on the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest, which was just a few miles from where I was staying. Currently, I am working at Innovative Weather to get experience in operational meteorology. I also play for the UWM women’s club lacrosse team, and during my free time, I like to rollerblade or ice skate (depending on the season), bike, or play D&D with my friends.

Dillon BlountDillon Blount

I am in my fourth year of the Atmospheric Science graduate program. I finished my M.S. in 2021 and am beginning the second year of my Ph.D. this fall, both under the supervision of Dr. Clark Evans. My Ph.D. research will focus on gravity waves associated with mesoscale convective systems. I have also taken classes and participated in public policy activities. After completing my Ph.D., I would like to pursue a career in the realm of academia, research, or public policy. I really enjoy going to baseball games, being outdoors, hiking, and cooking!

Drew HickokDrew Hickok (in training)

I am a junior undergraduate in the Atmospheric Science major. I was very fearful of the weather as a kid, but that fear has since turned into fascination. My passion now resides in wanting to help be prepared when severe weather happens. I am currently working on research with Dr. Clark Evans regarding overland tropical cyclone intensification and maintenance and am interning at Innovative Weather. I also enjoy playing guitar, finding new coffee spots, hiking, going to concerts, building my coding skills, supporting the Nashville Predators, Brewers, Bucks, Packers, and spending lots of time with my family.

Ari TicknerAri Tickner

I am a second-year M.S. student working under Prof. Clark Evans. My research focuses on determining how well we can predict cases of intensification and maintenance of tropical storms over land. After completing my M.S., my hope is to either pursue a Ph.D. and have the opportunity to research and teach, or find a position in the federal government with the NWS, NHC, FEMA, or some other entity. When I am not in classes or doing research, I enjoy just about anything that has to do with sports, video games, eating good food, and taking the opportunity to be outside.

Andrew Westgate Andrew Westgate

I am a third-year Ph.D. student studying the absence of a global multidecadal mode in climate models with Prof. Sergey Kravtsov. I am also a member (and current Club President!) of The Climate Consensus, a group that strives to bridge the gap in climate change understanding between scientists and non-scientists. After graduation, I would love to become a professor at small undergraduate teaching institution and/or work for a data analytics company. In my free time, I enjoy biking, going to the gym, watching movies, and spending time with friends.

Kacper ZaprzalkaKacper Zaprzalka

I am a senior undergraduate student in the Atmospheric Science major. I am also an Operational Meteorologist and the Assistant Director of Programming at Innovative Weather and am the President of the Atmospheric Science Club. Besides that, I have been involved in a research project under Dr. Kahl’s supervision, in which I am working on developing a wind gust forecasting model that can be used in operational weather forecasting. Post-graduation, I hope to go to graduate school and get involved in more research projects. Outside of school, I enjoy biking, spending time outdoors, and traveling.