• Karin Ardon-Dryer

    Karin Ardon-Dryer | Postdoctoral Researcher, MIT

    I am building a chamber that will help us better understand how ice crystals are created in clouds.

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    Undergraduate Institution + Degree:
    Ben Gurion University, Environmental Studies
    Graduate Institution + Degree: 
    Tel Aviv University, Ph.D., Cloud Physics
    To Do My Job You Need:
    An understanding of chemistry, meteorology, atmospheric sciences, and cloud physics; writing and public speaking skills

    I was always fascinated by nature, and even as a kid I wanted to know how things such as mountains, rivers, and clouds were created. This is what led me to my undergrad studies in the Department of Geography and Environmental Development at Ben Gurion University of the Negev in Israel. Right after my undergraduate studies, I began studying for my master's degree in the same department. In my master's program at the Earth and Planetary Image Facility (EPIF), I studied the dynamics of Nebkas—mini dunes on top of sand dunes—using remote sensing technologies.

    For my Ph.D. program, I moved to the Department of Geophysics, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences and the Porter School of Environmental Studies at Tel Aviv University, where I studied cloud physics. In my Ph.D. program, I worked on ice nuclei (IN) particles. These particles are required for the formation of ice in clouds, which can lead to the development of snow, rain, sleet, and hail. Using an instrument called the FRIDGE-TAU in collaboration with Frankfurt University, we sampled aerosol particles at different meteorological conditions, pollution levels, and sources in order to understand how they affect Ice nuclei concentration and precipitation.

    My Advice: Study things that interest you, things that will make you want to go to class every day to learn more new things. Believe in yourself even if you are told you are not capable of doing something. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or learn new things.

    http://eaps-www.mit.edu/paoc/people/karin-ardon-dryer

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  • Dan Cziczo

    Dan Cziczo | Atmospheric Scientist, MIT

    I study aerosols, small particles suspended in the atmosphere, and I am interested in how these particles interact with water vapor to form clouds.

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    High School Activities:
    Flying, Swimming, Hiking, Backpacking
    Undergraduate Institution + Degree:
    University of Illinois, Aerospace Engineering
    Graduate Institution + Degree: 
    University of Chicago, Ph.D., Geophysical Sciences
    To Do My Job You Need:
    Engineering skills, including computer-aided design and computational fluid dynamics modeling; writing and public speaking

    I’m an atmospheric scientist interested in how particles in the atmosphere influence cloud formation. I started my career as an aerospace engineer. And I used these engineering skills during my graduate work in Earth sciences to design and build the instruments that my research group and I use in the laboratory and field.

    My research group focuses on understanding how small particles—many of which are produced by human activity—interact with water vapor to form cloud droplets and ice crystals, which are important players in precipitation and Earth’s climate system. Our experiments include using small cloud chambers in the laboratory to mimic atmospheric conditions that lead to cloud formation and observing clouds in the field from remote mountaintop sites or using research aircraft.

    My research group has interests beyond Earth's clouds and precipitation. We also study how meteors interact with the Earth's upper atmosphere and how clouds form around other planets, such as Venus and Mars.

    My Advice: Challenge yourself. Find a good program that you are interested in and get your degree. You can come from any one of a variety of backgrounds, especially in interdisciplinary fields like Atmospheric Science, but the important part is having a solid foundation in math, physics, chemistry, and engineering. Our research group has engineers, chemists, and Earth scientists. The common theme is a solid foundation of learning, not a specific program or path.

    http://eapsweb.mit.edu/people/djcziczo

    http://techtv.mit.edu/videos/e51a577104618761922f775b0eb2...

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  • Nick Guy

    Nick Guy | Research Meteorologist, NOAA

    I study the physical processes at work in clouds and precipitation from single thunderstorms to hurricane-size storms.

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    High School Activities:
    Football, Track and Field, Concert Band, Outdoor Activities
    Undergraduate Institution + Degree:
    Earlham College, Physics
    Graduate Institution + Degree: 
    Colorado State University, Ph.D., Atmospheric Science
    To Do My Job You Need:
    A knowledge of meteorology, physics, mathematics, and computer programming; the ability to work in collaboration with others

    I knew I wanted to study science after college, but couldn't decide what area. I worked in laser engineering for a few years and then went back to school to study meteorology. My research project for graduate school was based on the West African monsoon, which opened my eyes to weather around the world and helped me realize that everyone is impacted by the weather. My focus is on the use of remote sensing (looking at weather events with various instruments) to study the weather. Specifically, weather radar is the main source of data for my work. Data collection is extremely important in this field, and I have been lucky to be a radar scientist in organized field experiments in Oklahoma and the Indian Ocean, helping provide data for other scientists.

    I am now a postdoctoral researcher at the NOAA National Severe Storms Laboratory, studying thunderstorms that occur in the Indian Ocean as part of a phenomenon known as the Madden-Julian Oscillation, which ends up modifying weather around the world. I love coming to work every day and am excited to continue to learn more about the weather!

    My Advice: Work hard at learning the fundamentals and have fun!

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  • Brian Kahn

    Brian Kahn | Atmospheric Scientist, Jet Propulsion Laboratory

    I use satellites to observe clouds, temperature, and water vapor in Earth's atmosphere to understand past, present, and future climate.

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    High School Activities:
    Parties, Hanging Out with Friends, Spending Time Outdoors, Being a Weather Nerd
    Undergraduate Institution + Degree:
    San Jose University, Meteorology
    Graduate Institution + Degree: 
    University of California-Los Angeles, Ph.D., Atmospheric Sciences
    To Do My Job You Need:
    Math, communication, and computer skills; a willingness to read and write prolifically; an ability to think outside the box

    I’m a staff scientist working most closely with the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) group at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA. My research interests focus on the remote sensing of clouds, temperature, and water vapor and the synthesis of data from multiple satellite instrument platforms to understand cloud-related processes. These data are then applied to scientific problems regarding the observation and modeling of present and future climate for different regions and at various time scales.

    My Advice: Follow your ambitions. Definitely try to find out what interests you most. Don't be afraid of math and science.

    http://science.jpl.nasa.gov/people/BKahn/

    http://climate2.jpl.nasa.gov/eswSite/blogs/?FuseAction=Sh...

    http://airs.jpl.nasa.gov/story_archive/Turbulent_Nature_o...

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  • Wolfgang Langhans

    Wolfgang Langhans | Postdoctoral Researcher, Berkeley Lab

    I improve weather and climate models by studying deep convective clouds.

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    High School Activities:
    Snowboarding, Surfing, Mountain Biking, Playing Drums
    Undergraduate Institution + Degree:
    University of Innsbruck, Meteorology and Geophysics
    Graduate Institution + Degree: 
    ETH Zurich, Ph.D., Atmospheric Sciences
    To Do My Job You Need:
    Passion, a math and physics background, programming skills, scientific writing skills, patience

    I grew up in the Bavarian countryside. It didn't take me very long to learn to appreciate the value of being outdoors and having lakes, woods, and the Alps nearby. Besides that, I was good in math and physics in high school, mainly because I enjoyed it. It is this combination of interests that made me think of studying meteorology and geophysics, which I later did in Innsbruck, Austria. It turned out to be the right choice. I became hooked on theoretical meteorology and numerical modeling of weather phenomena, particularly clouds. That is, I studied how we can use computers and the basic laws of fluid dynamics and thermodynamics to describe and predict the formation of clouds and precipitation. I graduated with a Ph.D. from ETH Zurich, Switzerland. My current research focuses on fundamental properties of clouds, such as their efficiency to produce rain or their dilution by cloud-free air.

    My Advice: Do whatever you are interested in most: focus and specialize in that area. Know the relevant literature. Set yourself ambitious goals for yourself. Challenge yourself. Being passionate is key; the rest is mostly a consequence.

    http://esd.lbl.gov/about/staff/wolfganglanghans/

    http://newscenter.lbl.gov/feature-stories/2013/03/13/scie...

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  • Mayra Oyola

    Mayra Oyola | Research Assistant, Howard University

    I study the physical processes leading to the formation and transport of aerosols and gases in the atmosphere to assess their impacts on weather.

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    High School Activities:
    American Red Cross Volunteer, School Council, Theater, Writing, Hurricane Preparedness Club, Tae Kwon Do, Band
    Undergraduate Institution + Degree:
    University of Puerto Rico – Mayaguez Campus, Theoretical Physics Major with Minor in Atmospheric Sciences and Meteorology
    Graduate Institution + Degree: 
    Howard University, Ph.D. (Candidate), Atmospheric Sciences
    To Do My Job You Need:
    An understanding of chemistry, math, and computing; communication and analytical skills; the willingness to be a team player

    I am a Ph.D. candidate and a doctoral fellow under the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Center for Atmospheric Sciences at Howard University. I study the physical properties of atmospheric gases and aerosols. Aerosols are small particles suspended in the atmosphere that can be produced naturally (i.e.,terrestrial dust traveling from regions like the Saharan Desert) or can be anthropogenic (i.e.,pollution). Both can have tremendous impacts on weather, particularly on cloud formation, hurricane development, and climate change.

    In order to understand weather and atmospheric constituents, we need observations of the Earth-atmosphere system. My job involves improving satellites data retrievals, especially over hurricane development areas that have a high concentration of aerosols. Field data like this is critical for calibrating weather satellite observations, but it is difficult to gather over the ocean. My job also involves going out to sea once a year, traveling from the United States to the coast of Africa, to obtain surface and atmospheric measurements.

    These field campaigns are part of a program called the Aerosols and Ocean Science Expeditions (AEROSE) and are conducted onboard the NOAA research vessel Ronald H. Brown. AEROSE allows us to learn about the physical and chemical properties of the atmosphere and improve weather satellites and forecast models.

    My Advice: Ask questions. Get involved outside of the classroom. Participate in extracurricular projects, apply for internships, volunteer at a local office. Read—and read a LOT! Most importantly, truly enjoy the learning process and don't be afraid to step out of your comfort zone.

    http://www.aerose.org/

    http://ncas.howard.edu/

    http://www.howard.edu/

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  • Angela Rowe

    Angela Rowe | Research Associate, University of Washington

    I use radar technology to study cloud processes in mountainous regions and the tropics.

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    High School Activities:
    Marching and Concert Band, Basketball, French club, National Honor Society
    Undergraduate Institution + Degree:
    Millersville University, Meteorology
    Graduate Institution + Degree: 
    Colorado State University, M.S. and Ph.D., Atmospheric Science
    To Do My Job You Need:
    A knowledge of computer programming, creativity, an understanding of calculus and other advanced math

    As a child, I was fascinated by the weather. During high school, I participated in an internship program where I shadowed a local on-air meteorologist and learned that I was more interested in figuring out how the atmosphere works than I was in standing in front of a green screen. This led me to pursue meteorology at Millersville University. There, I tried out many aspects of the field, from forecasting for the Campus Weather Service and engaging in outreach activities to standing outside in the cold for a research project. When I interned at the National Severe Storms Laboratory, I not only learned that research was the path for me, but I also fell in love with radar.

    Graduate school at CSU offered a wealth of opportunities that increased my passion. The experiences of studying rain in the mountains of Taiwan to scanning clouds from a ship in the Indian Ocean have expanded my view of the field from the local thunderstorms that fascinated me as a child to the global impacts of weather. I enjoy using radar as a tool to understand these processes and to spread this knowledge and the excitement of weather to all those I encounter.

    My Advice: Learn to be self-motivated and make sure you are passionate about what you are studying. There can be bumps in the road, be they coding frustrations, the peer-review process, or communication, but it’s important to be able to move past these experiences and learn from them.

    http://www.facebook.com/CommunityCloudAtlas

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  • Jacob Seeley

    Jacob Seeley | Graduate Student, UC-Berkeley

    I study how global climate models represent such phenomena as clouds and severe convective weather.

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    High School Activities:
    Soccer (Captain Jr., Sr. Years), Editor of School's Creative Writing Publication
    Undergraduate Institution + Degree:
    Haverford College, Physics
    Graduate Institution + Degree: 
    University of California, Berkeley, Ph.D. (Candidate), Earth and Planetary Sciences
    To Do My Job You Need:
    Computer programming experience, knowledge of math and physics (especially thermodynamics and fluid mechanics)

    While in college, I did research in quantum physics. The first project I was involved in, through an REU (Research Experiences for Undergraduates) at the University of Illinois, explored the behavior of crystals under extreme conditions: low temperatures, high pressures, and strong magnetic fields. Then, in my senior thesis at Haverford, I developed a new way of using quantum computers to simulate the electrons in molecules. The research I did as an undergrad was fascinating, but for my Ph.D., I wanted to apply my skills in physics, math, and computer programming to work on what I see as the greatest challenge of our generation: understanding and confronting anthropogenic climate change. That is why I joined David Romps' group at UC Berkeley. Our group uses physics to study clouds and their role in the larger climate system.

    My Advice: Trust your curiosity.

    http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=236838605

    http://romps.berkeley.edu/

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