“What I Did This Summer” – 2019 Edition

Remember your first day back to school when you were a kid? While you might have been sad for the summer to be over, you were probably excited to see all of your friends again and tell them what fun things you did over the summer.

As luck may have it, several of our students participated in some pretty cool activities this summer, too! Earlier this summer, we featured senior undergraduate Alex Moxon’s trip to the 2019 NCAR Undergraduate Leadership Workshop. Today, we’d like to highlight the summer activities of three additional students: Ph.D. student Austin Harris, M.S. student Andrew Westgate, and senior undergraduate Giorgio Sarro!

Austin Harris: The 2019 NCAR Advanced Student Program Summer Colloquium

Every year, NCAR’s Advanced Study Program (ASP) hosts a two-week summer colloquium designed for graduate students on subjects that represent new or rapidly developing areas of research for which good course material may not yet be available. This year, the ASP brought together researchers and graduate students in meteorology, data science, and the social sciences to discuss the latest research on “Quantifying and communicating uncertainty in high-impact weather prediction.”

Here’s what Austin had to say about his experience:
“The ASP colloquium was a phenomenal boost for me personally. The theme was very relevant to my research on how forecast uncertainty translates into hurricane evacuations, and the conversations between modelers, data scientists, and social scientists of all backgrounds generated new ideas that will shape my thinking moving forward. Plus, I was introduced to the rockstars of interdisciplinary research and can now turn to them for research questions and career advice.

And perhaps most importantly, I met the future generation of like-minded interdisciplinarians—people who will hopefully end up being future collaborators and colleagues. The ASP colloquium was an incredible intellectual and networking opportunity and I left beautiful Boulder, CO feeling energized and optimistic. I’m ready to bring that energy back to UWM.”

ASP colloquium team


Andrew Westgate: The Naval Research Enterprise Internship Program

The Naval Research Enterprise Internship Program (NREIP) is an internship program through the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) where undergraduate and graduate students perform research at several labs across the country. The Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) in Monterey, California is one of those locations where students can work with atmospheric science data from a variety of projects. These projects range from mesoscale to synoptic processes and deal with model output and observation data.

Here’s what Andrew had to say about his experience:
“The project I worked on dealt with COAMPS model output and observational surface wind data in the Monterey Bay region to help guide where future observation stations should be placed for an upcoming field campaign. The project as a whole seeks to better model littoral regions.

NREIP is a fantastic opportunity to develop coding skills in different languages, network with established scientists and post-docs with a diverse range knowledge, and meet other students from all over the country. It is also located in coastal California, which is an amazing place to spend the summer!”

Giorgio Sarro: Vermont EPSCoR Basin Resilience to Extreme Events REU

During summer 2019, Giorgio participated in the Vermont EPSCoR Basin Resilience to Extreme Events Research Experiences for Undergraduates (or REU) program. As part of this interdisciplinary program, Giorgio was part of a climate team working alongside Caitlin Crossett (pictured below), a University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee M.S. alumna and now a Ph.D. student at the University of Vermont (UVM), and Lesley-Ann Dupigny Giroux, the Vermont state climatologist and professor at UVM. In addition to his two lead mentors, Giorgio had the chance to meet and collaborate with different climate experts, such as the New Hampshire state climatologist and several researchers at the USGS. This ultimately made the internship a one-of-a-kind experience.

Here’s what Giorgio had to say about his experience:
“The main topic of the ten-week research project I was involved in was focused on droughts within the Northeast United States. My findings and the details of my research are available online at https://gmsarro.wixsite.com/droughts.

During this experience I strongly improved my abilities in coding and computer science, especially using Python and netCDF files. This experience was also useful to learn different types of mentorship styles and how competitive research can be realized with researchers of different backgrounds.

Finally, during this experience, I was able to share my results at different venues. For example, I traveled to present to a group of climate researchers at Dartmouth College and at the Vermont EPSCoR symposium in Burlington.

I would highly recommend this internship to other students interested in climate or other STEM fields.”

Giorgio Sarro and Caitlin Crossett in front of a poster with their research