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Participants
Summer 2010 WAS*IS
August 5-13, 2010
Boulder, Colorado

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Summer 2010 WAS*IS Organizers' Biographies

Emily Laidlaw

I am an associate scientist for the Societal Impacts Program (SIP) within the Research Applications Laboratory (RAL) at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. My research is focused on the reliability and validity of disaster loss data, the use of outdoor warning sirens, and the value of weather forecasts to U.S. economic sectors. I also manage SIP's collection of community information resources, which involves editing and designing the quarterly newsletter Weather and Society Watch, and maintaining and updating the Extreme Weather Sourcebook, the Societal Aspects of Weather page, and the SIP and WAS*IS Web pages, among other resources.

I have a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Colorado and am pursuing a second master's degree in applied statistics from the University of Northern Colorado. I have a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies from the University of Rochester, where I also completed minors in journalism and philosophy, and a cluster in international relations. Growing up with a physical science professor and an elementary school teacher for parents, I was always aware of the gap between those who "do" science and those who "use" it -- and the subsequent need for science-trained communicators who can bridge that gap.

Prior to joining SIP, I held science communication and outreach positions with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the University of Colorado Environmental Center. My professional writing, editing, design, and project mangement experience includes positions with SKI Magazine, the Denver Business Journal, the Fort Morgan Times, the University of Rochester Office of Communications, the University of Rochesxter Career Center, and the Hampton Group, as well as occassional freelance Web design and writing projects.

I have no experience in but am wildly obsessed with clear air turbulence and in-flight icing forecasting.

 

Julie Demuth

I'm an Associate Scientist with the Societal Impacts Program (SIP; www.sip.ucar.edu) at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, CO. My research focuses on improving the communication and use of forecast and warning information with an emphasis on forecast uncertainty information and high-impact weather events. I love my research, especially the real-world impacts it has on informing people's decision-making and reducing their risk to life and property. In addition to my work at NCAR, I just completed the first year of my PhD in Public Communication and Technology at Colorado State University. My B.S. is in meteorology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and my M.S. is in atmospheric science from Colorado State University. Prior to joining NCAR, I worked in science policy as a Program Officer with the National Research Council (NRC) Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate (BASC) in Washington, DC.

 

Jeff Lazo

For the last six years I have been director of the Societal Impacts Program (SIP) at the National Center for Atmospheric Research here in Boulder, Colorado. A major effort of the SIP has been the support of the WAS*IS workshops for the last five years. I am an economist with expertise in nonmarket valuation of environmental and natural resource commodities. My current research focuses on the communication and value of weather information and the economic impact of severe weather events. Among other things, I am a member of the World Meteorological Organization Forum on the Socio-Economic Applications of Meteorological and Hydrological Services, the WMO Societal and Economic Research and Applications Working Group, and editor of the new American Meteorological Society journal Weather, Society, and Climate. I received a BA in economics and philosophy from the University of Denver and my Masters and PhD in environmental and natural resource economics from the University of Colorado-Boulder. I am a Colorado native and prior to going back to grad school worked as a ski lift operator and mechanic, construction worker, dishwasher, parking lot attendant, and chimney sweep and volunteered in on the Red, White, and Blue Fire Department in Breckenridge, the Summit County Ambulance, and Summit County Water Rescue Team. For fun – besides work – I mainly play soccer and bike ride.

 

Tom Behler

I currently am completing a very rewarding year, where I served as a Visiting Scientist with the NCAR/SIP program, working in the WAS*IS initiative. My main professional identity is as a tenured Full Professor of Sociology at Ferris State University in Big Rapids, MI. I received my Bachelor's Degree in Sociology from Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania in 1975, my Masters Degree from Rutgers University in 1980, and my Ph D in Sociology from the University of Delaware in 1987.

As a sociologist, I have always been interested in how communities respond to emergencies, and what affects those responses. For example, my Doctoral Dissertation focused on the response of a local community near the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant to the 1979 accident at that facility.

More recently, I was actively involved in emergency preparedness and response-related concerns in both my local community, and at Ferris State University. This involvement was evident in my role as County Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Coordinator; my active participation in several Local Emergency Response organizations; and my role as a member of Ferris State University's Emergency Response Team. In addition, I completed a wide array of training courses in emergency communications, emergency response, emergency field operations, exercise design, and the National Incident Management System (NIMS).

Within the past three years, I also developed and offered a new course in Ferris State University's Sociology program entitled “The Sociology Of Disasters And Emergency Preparedness”. The course was very successful, and is now a permanent part of Ferris State's Sociology curriculum.

I have come to believe that the Social Sciences are filled with opportunities for integrating the science of weather forecasting, with the more social-scientific goals of research and community outreach. I also have become convinced that a more social-scientific approach to weather and weather forecasting can serve people with disabilities. The disabled undoubtedly have a variety of unique concerns when it comes to preparing for, and responding to, actual or potential severe weather situations. These unique concerns must be more thoroughly understood and addressed, in order to ensure that “special needs” populations are adequately served when necessary.

 

Summer 2010 WAS*IS Advisory Committee Biographies

 

Daniel (Dan) Nietfeld - Advisory Committee Chair

Daniel Nietfeld is currently the Science and Operations Officer (SOO) at the NOAA National Weather Service (NWS) WFO in Omaha-Valley, Nebraska, where his primary responsibilities include managing the training and research programs, as well as ensuring scientific and technical quality in NWS products and services.

Mr. Nietfeld was born and raised in Grand Island , Nebraska , and received his B.S. from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln (UNL) in Meteorology. He entered the NWS in Neenah, Wisconsin as a Meteorologist Intern (May 1991). He has worked in the NWS offices in Grand Island, Nebraska, Topeka, Kansas, Hastings, Nebraska, and became the SOO in the Omaha WFO in May of 2001. In addition to his NWS career, Daniel teaches meteorology courses at Creighton University as well as the University of Nebraska – Lincoln (UNL), and also serves as the President of the UNL Alumni Advisory Board.

Daniel has been a member of the American Meteorological Society (AMS) for 19 years, and served on the AMS Board for Operational Government Meteorologists (BOGM) for 7 years (1998-2005), including one year as the BOGM Chair (2003). As BOGM Chair, he served on the AMS Professional Affairs Committee. He currently serves on the AMS Ad-Hoc Committee on Uncertainty in Forecasts. Locally, Mr. Nietfeld was the President of the Omaha-Offutt Chapter of the AMS in 2006-2007, and was the Vice President of the Omaha-Offutt Chapter during the 2002-2003 term. In addition, he has served as the Vice President for the High Plains Chapter of the AMS (1999-2001).

Daniel became highly interested in WAS*IS after serving on two NWS Service Assessment Teams; Hurricane Charley in 2004, and the Super Tuesday Tornado Outbreak from February 2008. He was a participant in the 2008 Summer WAS*IS Workshop, served on the 2009 WAS*IS Advisory Committee, and currently is the Chair of the 2010 WAS*IS Advisory Committee.

 

Scott Blair

Scott Blair is currently a general forecaster with the NOAA National Weather Service (NWS) in Topeka, Kansas.  Prior to arriving in Topeka, he served as a meteorologist with the NWS in Goodland, KS.  In 2005, he graduated from the University of Louisiana at Monroe with a Bachelor of Science degree in Atmospheric Sciences.  While in Louisiana, Scott was employed by KEDM-FM in Monroe, LA as a broadcast meteorologist, providing daily weather forecasts and on-scene live reports during several landfalling major hurricanes.  He was born and raised in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Mr. Blair’s professional areas of interest are focused on storm-scale observational meteorology studies and emerging field and operational technologies to improve communication.  He currently is investigating the severe weather vulnerability of motorists and examining how this information can enhance the service, methods, and dissemination of critical information by the NWS and other agencies.

Scott is looking forward to WAS*IS and hopes to gain additional insight and social science theory to integrate operational meteorology, scientific research, and societal considerations in a way that best serves the public.

 

Kenneth Blumenfeld

I received a Ph.D. in Geography from the University of Minnesota, where I studied the frequencies of severe convective storms, extreme rainfall events, and regimes of climatic anomalies.  I currently work as a Research Associate at the U of MN, and am finishing a multi-year, multi-collaborator investigation of the impacts of climate change on Minnesota’s aquatic resources.  I also consult for local municipalities, governments and organizations—especially emergency managers—about the likelihood of certain types of weather disasters and what such scenarios might look like.  I have taught courses in introductory Meteorology, Numerical Spatial Analysis, and the Geography of Natural Hazards.  I am active in the local Skywarn program, and have made several media appearances and given invited talks to numerous local organizations. 

I have been following WAS*IS from the sidelines for many years and am absolutely thrilled to be involved in this year’s workshop.  I was trained in a department composed of far more social scientists than physical scientists, so I have been exposed to some of the big questions social science can offer the atmospheric sciences.  My friends and colleagues have gotten me thinking about uneven access, across the population, to critical weather information, and how existing socioeconomic, technological and political structures may be broadening the information gap between privileged and less-privileged groups.  I am hoping this workshop helps begin a new research chapter in my career—one that incorporates social science-based inquiry into my climatological investigations.

 

Elizabeth (Beth) Lunde

I began my career while attending the University of Wisconsin-Madison (B.S. in Atmospheric Science, 2006), working as a SCEP at the National Weather Service Offices in La Crosse and Milwaukee/Sullivan, WI. Soon after graduation, I made the journey south and joined the team at NWS-Topeka, where I started as an intern, and subsequently worked as a general forecaster for two and half years. My primary work responsibilities focused on the creation, dissemination, and communication of the forecast, especially with emphasis on high impact weather situations. Specialized work activities and research I participated in, and plan to pursue in the future have been focused upon: 1. the relationship of the NWS with the public of northeast Kansas (highlighted by striving for improved storm spotter training and other outreach programs, as well as researching their reactions to our warning operations), 2. improving communication with partners in Emergency Management, the media, and businesses, and 3. researching severe weather impacts to travelers.

My WAS*IS experience completely opened my mind to, and presented opportunities I never would have otherwise considered. Recently, I opted for a career change and have accepted a position as a Project Manager at the Sam's Club Corporate office in Bentonville, AR. There, I will help develop and organize new projects and initiatives, then coordinate individuals and companies to put these projects into action.

I'm thrilled to be part of the 2010 WAS*IS advisory to again have the opportunity to foster new partnerships and discussions across the country and eventually make these ideas happen!

 

Jennifer (Jen) Spinney

I am a master's student in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario, Canada. My current research focuses on the impacts of severe weather for residents in Pangnirtung, Nunavut, a remote community in the Canadian Arctic. Specifically during my fieldwork I sought to learn how residents define and interpret severe weather, as well as how they perceive their vulnerability to severe weather events.

As part of my master's project I am assembling a bilingual Inuktitut- English booklet for the community of Pangnirtung. This educational booklet consists of severe weather events and traditional methods of weather forecasting as told by Inuit elders in the community. It is my hope that this book will be used in the Pangnirtung classrooms, alongside the territory's newly proposed grade 12 sila (weather) course to highlight local weather knowledge.

I was raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada and attended the University of Manitoba. There I earned a Bachelor degree in Exercise & Sport Science (2002). After completing this I worked for the Canadian federal government and in 2006 I moved to London, Ontario.

When I began graduate school in the fall of 2008 I became highly interested in the WAS*IS initiative. I attended the 2009 workshop as a participant and am extremely enthusiastic about returning as part of the WAS*IS 2010 Advisory Committee. While in Boulder I hope to continue to build professional partnerships and learn from experts in the fields of social science, meteorology, and emergency management. Attending WAS*IS 2010 is a wonderful opportunity to learn additional strategies for enhancing the integration of social science and meteorology. It also provides an appropriate venue to discuss the multiple ways these strategies can be put to action.

My other research interests include assessing the usefulness and value of flood forecasting in southern Manitoba.

 

Mark Widner photoJ. Mark Widner

Joseph “Mark” Widner currently works for the City of Independence, Missouri as the Emergency Preparedness Manager and responsibilities of Acting Deputy Fire Chief of Administration. He is involved in developing the City’s many Public outreach programs and instrumental in developing the City’s Citizen Corp’s volunteer programs rated as one of the top 5 in the country. Mark has over 30 years of direct experience in the fields of Emergency Management, EOC Design and Testing, Emergency Medical Services & Education, Public Safety, Broadcast Engineering, Satellite Communications, Business Aviation, Corporate Marketing/Finance and Health Benefit Administration. He is the past chair of the Metropolitan Emergency Management Committee (Kansas City Area) and the Regional Homeland Security Coordinating Committee’s Planning Group (Kansas City Region).

In 1997 he was awarded Firefighter of the Year – Western Missouri.  Mark has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration, Finance and Economics. Previously, he worked in Kansas City, Kansas as the Emergency Program Coordinator, managing grant programs and developing risk assessment and community alert programs. He also worked for Kansas City Missouri Office of Missouri Emergency Management designing and building their EOC complex.  Mark is a certified instructor of many safety professions, including firefighting, underwater recovery, paramedics and hazmat.

 

Summer 2010 WAS*ISers' Biographies

Roham Abtahi

I am currently the National Hydrologic Information Coordinator for the NWS Headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland. My responsibilities include: monitoring and reporting significant hydrometeorological events to NWS leadership, leading the development of the National Hydrologic Assessment (Spring Flood Outlook); collecting, compiling, and quality controlling flood loss information to produce the National Annual Flood Loss Summary for each water year.

All I knew at the beginning of my career was that I liked the outdoors. I loved to hike, climb and camp; basically any excuse to not be trapped indoors made me happy. My freshman year of college I took Intro to Meteorology and the course absolutely blew me away. Courtesy of a great professor (the good ones always inspire us), I learned about all the fascinating weather phenomena I experienced while enjoying the outdoors. I went on to pursue a degree in Resource Conservation from the U of M Forestry School, but never forget about meteorology. Upon graduation, I realized I wanted to be a NWS forecaster and was fortunate to land an internship at National Weather Service Headquarters. My first permanent position in the field came in Elko Nevada in 2004, where I started as a Hydrometeorological Technician (HMT). I stayed there for two years, finished the requirements to become a NWS meteorologist by taking meteorology and math courses from various universities and the USDA Graduate School. From there I moved on to be a General Forecaster in the San Juan Puerto Rico Forecast Office. I spent four years in San Juan which broadened my cultural, linguistic and meteorological perspectives. This Spring I got my current position in NWS Headquarters, returning to my hometown in the Washington DC area.

A diversity of academic and work disciplines, as well as a broad range of cultural and geographical environments has taught me the value of communication. Understanding how people plan, understand, and react to weather information, particularly to warnings, is a critical part of saving life and property. I’m a firm believer in the advancement of communication between scientists, planners, resource managers and emergency officials. The greatest moments of my career have been on the road, meeting emergency managers and government officials, and showing them the services we offer and how we can help them. Nothing beats that personal contact; face to face interaction builds trust, and that gives meteorologists an avenue to more effectively save lives.

Special thanks to the WAS*IS crew for having me, it’s truly an honor!


Quyen Arana

I am currently a graduate student in Organizational Communication at the University of Oklahoma (OU). My graduate research focuses on the role of communication in organizing interdisciplinary research. I also hold an assistantship with the Office of the Vice President for Research as a Research Program Consultant.

My professional background includes: four years as Associate Director of Industry and Technology Partnerships at the OU K20 Center, an education research center focused of technology and science driven whole-school reform; three years as Technology Director of the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation's Oklahoma Science Project, an educational outreach program; and ten years at the OU Health Sciences Center as a Research Associate in molecular and cellular biology.

From 2006-2009, I directed OU's Partnerships for Innovation (PFI) grant from the National Science Foundation. The project created interdisciplinary industry and research networks between education, meteorology and biotechnology. This work solidified a long-term personal interest in multi-disciplinary collaboration and how science communication can enhance or impede progress in scientific discovery and innovation.

In my work with the NSF PFI grant, I began to observe how collaboration could quickly transform basic meteorology research to applied weather warning systems. Effective innovation of warning products and services for social consumption necessitates the social sciences. WAS*IS provides a unique opportunity to both observe interdisciplinary collaboration and be a part of the development of innovative warning systems.


Marc Baribault

My interest in science and communication dates back to my years in college, where I majored in broadcast meteorology (Lyndon State College, 2008). After graduation, I decided to pursue an emergency management career that encompassed meteorology, which led me to a six-month opportunity at the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection and guided me to my current position at USEngineering Solutions.

I am currently employed by USEngineering Solutions, where we provide web-based, real-time software applications to monitor critical infrastructure for severe environmental conditions. We work mainly with state agencies such as State Departments of Transportation or Environmental Protection Agencies. My role at USEngineering Solutions is diverse, from over-seeing all client operations to researching new meteorological products that could be beneficial to our clients.

Speaking with clients brings my attention to the gaps in communications between scientific communities and the public. Because of this I am excited to be a part of WAS*IS so I can listen, discuss, and learn how to better communicate scientific information.


Robert (Robbie) Berg

While growing up, I not only knew that I was interested in weather, but I was always specifically intrigued by hurricanes. Every summer, I got out the hurricane tracking chart and tuned in at :50 past the hour for The Weather Channel's Tropical Update. It may have been obsessive, but at least I knew what I wanted to do with my life! I am now a Hurricane Specialist at the NWS National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida, and have been in this position since 2008. In my position, I forecast the track, intensity, and size of all tropical cyclones in the Atlantic and East Pacific Oceans, as well as issue and recommend tropical cyclone watches and warnings for coastal areas of the United States, Mexico, Central and South America, and the Caribbean. Inherently, getting out a clear and consistent message is paramount in my job. I often get asked what we do when it's not hurricane season. My colleagues and I write a lot of post-season reports and attend scientific conferences. In fact, when I first got the position in 2008, I was immediately thrown into the deep end of the pool and had the “privilege” of writing the Tropical Cyclone Report for Hurricane Ike. But probably the most important part of my off-season job is public outreach and conducting about 6 weeks of hurricane-related training to U. S. emergency managers and international meteorologists. This is the best part because I can actually interact with the people who need our services and help them prepare for the next hurricane to affect their homes and communities.

I graduated from NC State University in Raleigh, North Carolina, in 2001 with B. S. degrees in meteorology and marine science. While there, I had my first professional experience in meteorology in a summer internship at the NOAA Environmental Technology Laboratory (now Earth System Research Laboratory) in Boulder, Colorado. After graduating from NC State, I moved to Miami for graduate school at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science at the University of Miami, where I did research on oceanic influences on hurricane intensity. While at UM, I got my first position at NHC (in 2002) in the Tropical Analysis and Forecast Branch, producing year-round tropical and marine weather forecasts and analyses.

I am coming to WAS*IS so that I can go to Boulder and escape the humid South Florida weather! OK, I'm really attending WAS*IS so that I can listen to others' ideas on how to communicate clearly and effectively to people who really don't know what 100 mph winds or a 10-foot storm surge can do. My NHC colleagues are experts in what they do, but I often fear that we are not reaching out as much as we can to our users or adapting to new means of communication. I know these aren't new problems, and I can't wait to learn from the experiences of my fellow WAS*ISers.


Crystal Bergman

Crystal graduated Magna Cum Laude from Western Kentucky University (WKU) in 2005 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Geography (emphasis on Meteorology-Climatology) and a minor in Religious Studies. She also graduated from the WKU Honors Program and completed an undergraduate honors thesis titled "The National Weather Service's Polygon Method: Warning Dissemination of the Future". Crystal continued her education at WKU and graduated in 2009 with a Master of Science degree in Geosciences and a certificate in Geographic Information Systems. Her Master's thesis is titled "A Survey of Drought Impacts and Mitigation Planning in Kentucky ". She is continuing her education at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) and is working toward a Ph.D. in Natural Resource Sciences with a specialization in Climate Assessment and Impacts.

Crystal was awarded a research assistantship with the Kentucky Mesonet at WKU. She was a Graduate Teaching Associate there for the 2007-2008 academic year and taught Introduction to Meteorology. She was then employed by WKU as a Visiting Instructor for the 2008-2009 academic year and taught Introduction to Meteorology and World Regional Geography. Crystal was also awarded a research assistantship with the National Drought Mitigation Center (NDMC) at UNL. She was previously involved with the National Weather Service's Low-Flow Project and is currently collaborating with colleagues from the NDMC on a project for the Engaging Preparedness Communities Working Group of the National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS). She is currently a Teaching Assistant at UNL for the course Earth's Natural Resources System.

Crystal has attended and presented at a number of professional meetings throughout her academic career, including meetings of the Association of American Geographers, the American Meteorological Society, the National Weather Association, the Kentucky Academy of Science, the Nebraska Academy of Science, and the Southeastern Section of the Geological Society of America. Crystal is very excited about the upcoming WAS*IS workshop. The relationship between weather/climate and society has always been intriguing to her, which is evident through her former and current research. She also believes that networking is a very important component of furthering her professional career and knows that the WAS*IS workshop is an ideal opportunity to make that happen. She hopes that the workshop will help her to discover innovative research ideas that could be developed in her dissertation project.


Eric Boldt

I am currently the Warning Coordination Meteorologist at the National Weather Service (NWS) Office in Oxnard, California. The NWS Oxnard office has forecast and warning responsibility for the Los Angeles metropolitan area, one of the largest population centers in the country. My position involves many different responsibilities, including media spokesperson, weather educator, warning preparedness coordinator, and outreach leader, but similar to other WCM's in the NWS the interactions with people outside of my office carries the biggest impact for my agency and me.

My fascination with weather began early in life, but I started my college education in a different field of study. While trying to figure out my future, it became more obvious that weather was a comfortable place for me, so I focused on meteorology and graduated from the University of Kansas – Rock Chalk Jayhawks!

My working career has allowed me to experience the “Weather Enterprise” from different angles, starting with a private sector weather company in Minneapolis, MN, then into the public sector at NWS Olympia, WA, followed by moves to Portland, OR, and Missoula, MT. My most recent NWS position in southern California has been for the last 5 ½ years. Being in a southern California has given me many opportunities to speak to all kinds of groups, agencies, media, and individuals, and it has resulted in work on a wide-ranging list of weather-related projects and presentations.

I look forward to attending the 2010 WAS*IS summer workshop in Boulder. I appreciate the opportunity to participate in this important workshop of integrating meteorology and social science, and applying newly discovered concepts to our operational environment.


John (J.J.) Brost

I began my meteorological career in 2001 as a student employee (SCEP) with the National Weather Service in Phoenix , Arizona . After graduating from Arizona State University in 2002, I traveled north to the NWS office in Eureka , California for my internship. I then accepted a position as a forecaster with the NWS in Amarillo , Texas in 2004. As a forecaster here in Amarillo , my job is to interpret meteorological data and provide weather forecasts for the Texas and Oklahoma Panhandles. However, I do not consider this task to be my purpose. I believe my purpose is to help people make good decisions based on our weather forecasts. It is within this decision making process that we can provide a positive influence on behavior or actually save lives.

When not working on routine forecast duties, I focus much of my attention on partnering with emergency managers and other decision makers. In November of 2009, I organized a Decision Support Symposium with the primary goal of helping the NWS better understand how our partners utilize weather information. I am currently planning another Decision Support Symposium for this October that will have a greater emphasis on societal impacts. Finally, I am working on a project that assesses how well prepared the NWS is for providing certain enhanced services for decision makers. This project also suggests a methodology that will improve our (the NWS) preparedness level and address some of the challenges facing decision support.

My primary motivation for coming to WAS*IS is to better understand how the public responds to weather information. I then plan to utilize the concepts learned from WAS*IS in the operational forecast environment. In addition, I would like to know more about social science. I have limited experience with social science but I fully appreciate the important role social science plays in the dissemination of weather information. I also hope to build strong relationships with those in the social science and meteorological fields. These partnerships will greatly enhance the life saving mission of the NWS.


Julie Brugger

I am a Postdoctoral Scholar in the Department of Environmental Science and Policy at UC Davis where I am part of a research team of four anthropologists who are investigating perceptions of and responses to glacier retreat in communities in glaciated mountain region. The massive retreat of mountain glaciers during the twentieth century is one of the most visible and high confidence level indicators of global warming. Our work is currently being carried out in three sites: the North Cascades of Washington State, the Cordillera Blanca in Ancash , Peru , and the South Tirol in the Italian Alps. We draw on a variety of methods, including ethnography, survey research, and archival work. Three of us have each completed data collection in one of the sites (the fourth is our PI), and we are now in the analysis phase of the project. I live in Seattle and am doing the research in the North Cascades. I completed my Ph.D.in Sociocultural Anthropology at the University of Washington in 2009, where my dissertation analyzed conflict over the management of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in southern Utah . My dissertation research was excellent preparation for this current project because of the insight into environmental and natural resource politics in the rural American West it provided.

In addition, my current research site in the North Cascades, where annual precipitation averages 70 inches and up on the west slopes and water in all its forms is abundant, provides a striking contrast to southern Utah where it averages 10 inches and is highly variable, and where water is scarce. In both sites, weather and weather forecasts are constant topics of conversation and skepticism about climate change abounds. The differences and similarities I have encountered in these two field sites, along with a personal interest in weather and weather forecasting (see below), have inspired me to pursue research that will contribute to a better understanding of how local weather, climate, and water availability affect perceptions of and responses to climate change and concerns about future water availability. I would like to conduct further research on this topic in southern Utah , drawing on the knowledge and connections I already have there. Participation in the WAS*IS workshop will be a great way to learn about the work that NCAR is doing on the societal impacts of weather information and about how my research might fit into their program. It will also provide an opportunity to become acquainted with meteorologists and social scientists who are interested in the interactions between weather, climate, information about them, and society.


Kenneth (Ken) Carey

Mr. Kenneth Carey is a Senior Principal Systems Engineer for the Center for Sustainability, Earth, Energy, and Climate, at Noblis, a nonprofit science, technology and strategy organization that helps clients solve complex systems, process and infrastructure challenges. Mr. Carey provides strategic planning, systems engineering and project management support for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). He works with federal and state clients to create, facilitate and implement satellite research to operations plans and meet requirements for the next generation of environmental satellites, developed a science and technology roadmap and a national system for air quality products for the National Weather Service, and is providing business planning, program management and leading technical outreach for the Joint Center for Satellite Data Assimilation, a NOAA, NASA and Department of Defense partnership. Working with a team of emergency managers, NOAA scientists and the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, Mr. Carey helped develop a prototype coastal flooding and inundation tool that is capable of aiding decisions to protecting critical infrastructure and the public. Mr. Carey is engaged in a research effort to build a regional climate model assessment capability, including evaluating high-resolution climate predictions for their utility to provide actionable, regional-scale, climate change impact information. He also s erved as project lead for an off-site for the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan, successfully facilitating development of a framework for a required Final Report with findings, lessons learned, and specific recommendations to improve wartime contracting. Prior to his work at Noblis, Mr. Carey retired from the United States Air Force after serving nearly 21 years. He served as an operational analyst, developing analyses of force structure projections and presented optimum force structure allocations to senior Department of Defense leaders. Mr. Carey served as the toxic dispersion modeling program lead, implementing new dispersion modeling initiatives to forecast modeling scenarios to help protect military bases and public communities. He commanded a weather organization supporting front-line combat units stationed in Europe in the Gulf War, and supported warfighters in the Army on the Korean peninsula. Mr. Carey directed 52-person training and software applications sections with an Air Force global weather center.

Mr. Carey has earned M.S. degrees in Technology Management from George Mason University (Beta Gamma Sigma International Honor Society), and Meteorology and Minor in Oceanography from North Carolina State University (Dean's List), completed a Basic Meteorology Certificate from Texas A&M University (Chi Epsilon Pi Honor Society), and graduated with a B.S. in Physical Sciences from the University of Maryland . He is a Scientific Advisory Board Member for the University of Kentucky Center for Risk Sciences, Visiting Scientist for the Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, and Special Guest Speaker for Sixth Star Entertainment. He is also an adjunct faculty member for Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society (AMS), winner of the prestigious Charles Franklin Brooks Award for Outstanding Services to the AMS , chairs the AMS's Membership Committee, Board for Private Sector Meteorologists and the National Weather Association's Professional Development Committee, and is a member of the AMS Ad Hoc Committee on Security and Washington Academy of Sciences. He is also especially proud to have helped, for the last eight years, develop the curricula for and hosted Weather Camps for high school teenagers, and has been a guest speaker and mentored students in meteorology.

Mr. Carey is especially excited about the opportunity to learn more about effectively integrating research and applications through real-world examples, and pursuing research applications, together with partners from and collaboration with appropriate public, private and academic sector organizations. While he has a lot of experience in the meteorology profession, he could benefit from specific examples of what has and has not worked in terms of the tools and methods used, partnerships initiated and built, and challenges faced. It is with these examples that he hopes his participation will provide him new perspectives, new ideas, and tangible, realistic assessments regarding integrated studies, and hopes the discussions that he hopes to be a part of will help both us solve the most pressing weather and climate challenges that we face, and will provide greater opportunities for integrating social science into meteorology.


Jennifer Chang

I developed a passion for weather in high school, and now I am particularly interested in how scientific and technical weather information is communicated to the general public and decision-makers. In 2008, I received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Atmospheric Sciences with a focus in meteorology and environment from the University of Washington (UW). In June 2010, I received a Master's of Public Administration with a focus in environmental policy from the UW Daniel J. Evans School of Public Affairs.

During my time at UW, I interned and worked on projects with staff at the NOAA National Weather Service Weather Forecast Office Seattle. I recently developed and implemented a weather survey focused on determining how often, from where, and why western Washington residents seek weather information; additionally, the survey assessed residents' level of understanding of certain key terminology. I am excited to participate in WAS*IS, and I hope this workshop will help me learn to more effectively communicate scientific and technical weather information to the general public and decision-makers.


Michael (Mike) Chapman

I have been at NCAR in the Research Applications Laboratory (RAL) since 1999 (with a brief 1-year stint at NOAA in 2007). I began as a student at NCAR while working on my B.S. in Meteorology from Metropolitan State College of Denver where I worked on convective weather research with the Autonowcaster program. Upon graduation I was hired as an associate scientist working on forecast evaluation and verification in RAL. I worked on several projects for the FAA doing quality assessment of icing, turbulence and convective weather forecasts for the aviation community. During this time I obtained my M.Sc. In Atmospheric and Planetary Science from the University of Colorado in Boulder .

With my experience in the verification group, I witnessed a disconnect between the users of the forecasts and meaningful verification of said forecasts. I noticed how evaluation of the usefulness of the forecast was generally regarded as the last unimportant step of the forecast generation process. This is when I started to become aware of the need for not only quality assessment of forecasts to be in terms that the user can appreciate but also the need for weather forecasts themselves to offer user specific types of information.

After a brief 1-year stint at NOAA doing the same quality assessment work for the FAA, I returned to NCAR in a different role. I took over as the lead for the Maintenance Decision Support System (MDSS), which automatically provides weather, road weather, and treatment options for winter road maintenance entities. I was also involved in the groundbreaking Vehicle infrastructure Integration (VII), now Intellidrive SM , research that uses native observations from passenger vehicles to diagnose the weather. My work with the surface transportation weather group has opened my eyes to the impacts of weather on our transportation communities and how the forecasts being provided to them are too basic and need some major improvements. I realize that there are many more communities out there that would benefit from a smarter, more user-driven, approach to forecasting and evaluating the weather.


Derek Deroche

Growing up in southern Louisiana , just outside of the New Orleans metropolitan area, weather was always an interest of mine. When Hurricane Andrew made landfall there in 1992, I truly became passionate about weather and decided it was going to be my career of choice. I received my Bachelors of Science degree in Atmospheric Science from the University of Louisiana at Monroe in 2003. While attending school there, I was employee by the KEDM-FM radio station as a weather broadcaster/producer. After graduation, I accepted a position as a forecaster at Alert Weather Services, a private sector company located in Lafayette, Louisiana. My duties there weighed heavily on hurricane and severe storm warning operations for offshore Gulf of Mexico clientele. I was also involved in webcasts and radio broadcasts for south central Louisiana .

I began my National Weather Service (NWS) career in 2005 as a meteorologist intern at the NWS forecast office in San Angelo , TX . In 2006, I became a general forecaster at the NWS Forecast Office in Kansas City/Pleasant Hill, MO. My work responsibilities focus heavily on warning and forecast operations, local severe storms observations and research, and public outreach efforts. Of particular interest is utilizing and developing innovative means to more effectively communicate with emergency managers, media partners, and the general public. WAS*IS is as an excellent opportunity to broaden my understanding of public response to hazardous weather and collaborate with innovative individuals to further the integration of social science into meteorology.


Andrew (Andy) Devanas

Since 2002, I have served as the Science and Operations Officer at the National Weather Service forecast office in Key West, Florida. My work has focused primarily on tropical and marine meteorology, with an emphasis on improving the products and services provided by the Key West office. I have also been involved at the regional and national level in product improvement, having served on teams involving marine guidance, marine verification, the Learning Management System, and the Hurricane Local Statement (HLS).

Previous to joining the Weather Service in 2002, I served as the State Meteorologist of Florida with the Florida Division of Emergency Management from 1997 to 2002. Here my main responsibilities were to provide information to the State Emergency Response Team (SERT), train emergency managers statewide on meteorological products and services (what they are, what they mean, and how they fit into EM operations), and to act as a liaison between the state of Florida and other local, state, or federal scientific entities (including NCAR and the NWS). Before that, I was an Associate in Meteorology at Florida State University from 1992 to 1997 (12 month non-tenure faculty).

I received a BS in meteorology from FSU in 1989, and a MS in meteorology from FSU in 1992, with the emphasis on dynamic meteorology. I really was focused on the research side of the house throughout graduate school, and never envisioned getting involved in emergency management or operational meteorology. However, my years working in emergency management really sparked my passion for the social science side of the equation, because I was then a customer of meteorological products and services, not the provider. Here I really began to understand the communication gap (or understanding gap) between emergency managers and meteorologists, and I've been hooked since. When I first read the vision and mission of WAS*IS, I realized I'd found a group of like minded people, working towards similar goals. I am very much looking forward to the workshop, and working with all those associated with WAS*IS.


Daniel Dix

Upon attending Mankato State University I began as a Geography major gearing toward cartography and planning, but the long-time desire of weather lured me to the atmospheric science side of the department and the rest is history. I graduated with a BS and MA in Geography with an Atmospheric Science concentration, in '91 and '94, respectively. The department weather lab allowed for a manager/admin-type position as a graduate student, where I learned and gained considerable knowledge and experience in applied meteorology and the various technologies in use. This prepared me for my internship as an aviation meteorologist at Northwest Airlines headquarters near Mpls/St. Paul International Airport and then Kavouras/DTN, also located in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota .

Moving to Kansas I began work at WeatherData, Inc., a company well-known for severe weather meteorology forecasting and warning services, as a storm warning meteorologist. A considerable amount of utility forecasting was also done giving a greater understanding of the power and energy industries reliance on weather information.

A move to The Weather Channel in 1998 has brought me considerable experience and knowledge of forecasting, dissemination of information and product creation, look and presentation for a third major clientele, the general public. Along with the general consumers of the public that include a whole spectrum of people; numerous online sites, emergency management offices, government entities and many others are also included in the millions of subscribers to the network. As a product engineer for on-air display and internal systems used by customers of all types, it is key to best understand what best represents the weather information to be presented to the end user. Much coordination with on-camera meteorologists, in-house weather experts and programming producers is key to accomplish this goal.

Despite the experience gained up to now, there is still much to learn and improve to get the best possible information to customers as nearly each day we see people not adequately prepared or informed of an impending weather situation. There has been considerable strides made at all levels and fields of meteorology, but a continued better understanding via research and applied methods is definitely in need. This is where an opportunity to learn and work with WAS*IS and to take this information to improve and enhance weather information that is distributed to the end users to save lives and property is vitally important and ultimate reason why we are in the business.


Jessica Fieux

While growing up in Florida, Jessica's interest in weather quickly developed from watching the daily afternoon thunderstorms and tracking hurricanes as they moved across the Atlantic basin. She attended Florida State University for both a B.S. and M.S. Degree in Meteorology. During her undergraduate time, she participated in the Student Career Experience Program (SCEP) with the National Weather Service in Ruskin, Florida. She not only participated in operations, but was able to take part in lightning research that was presented at the annual American Meteorological Society (AMS) conference. Jessica received an AMS Fellowship sponsored by the Office of Naval Research for her first year of graduate school. She worked under the direction of Dr. Paul Reasor to calculate angular momentum budgets in the inner core of Hurricane Guillermo using dual-Doppler radar data from NOAA's P-3 Hurricane Hunters. Also during graduate school, Jessica was President of the North Florida Chapter of the AMS (2006-2007) and served on the advisory board as Past President (2007-2008).

After graduating with a M.S. Degree in Meteorology, Jessica started as a Meteorologist Intern at the National Weather Service in Peachtree City, GA and later became a General Meteorologist in the office. She has had the opportunity to participate in severe weather operations, present research regarding the March 2009 Georgia snowstorm at the National Weather Association (NWA) Conference, and participate in a multitude of outreach activities. In addition, Jessica is a member of both the national AMS and NWA and is the secretary of the Metro Atlanta AMS/NWA Chapter.


Holly Hassenzahl

Like many Meteorologists, I have been passionate about the weather since I was a child. By the 8th grade, I had already decided to pursue Atmospheric Science as a future career. Five years later, I began my undergraduate studies at the University of Wisconsin – Madison . After receiving my Bachelor's degree in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, I decided to continue my education at the UW as a member of Dr. Greg Tripoli's Multi-scale Atmospheric Simulation Laboratory. My research during this time was focused on the numerical modeling of high-resolution tornadoes, using a technique developed by an engineer in Tennessee whose original intent was to improve the look of vortices in Hollywood graphics. My goal was to determine whether this technique worked, using the University of Wisconsin Non-Hydrostatic Modeling System (UW-NMS), and if it was scientifically defensible within the realm of atmospheric physics.

Almost four years after beginning my graduate career, I was ready for a change. Thus, after receiving my Master's degree in January of 2008, I accepted a position at Weather Central, a leading provider of weather and traffic solutions for media, business and individual consumers around the world. My initial role at Weather Central was in the Customer Development department as a trainer. In this position, I traveled to various television stations around the country, installing our products and teaching broadcast Meteorologists how to use them. This was an excellent experience for me, as it showed me a completely different side of Meteorology than what I had been used to. After a year in the Customer Development department, I began my current role at Weather Central as a Science Analyst in the Data Products department. This role has brought me back into the world of numerical modeling, this time using Weather Central's proprietary forecast model, Super MicroCast TM . As a Science Analyst, I strive to create new value-added algorithms and data products that are unique to Weather Central, and ultimately help us compete in the worldwide market. An example of this would be the Dust Storm Index I created for a customer in the Middle East , which forecasts when conditions are favorable for the initiation of sand/dust storms.

Through my experiences in both academia and the professional world, I've learned that knowing how to effectively communicate ideas to your audience is an integral part of being a well-rounded scientist. At Weather Central, our success rests in our ability to not only make our products accurate and visually appealing, but also to make them easy to use and understand for consumers across the board. As we look to the future of weather prediction, it is obvious that we are in the midst of a paradigm shift that is ushering us into the world of probabilistic, ensemble forecasting. A question that we at Weather Central have been asking ourselves is how do we most effectively communicate this shift to consumers around the world? If the average person is used to receiving a deterministic temperature forecast, how do we teach him/her what a probabilistic temperature forecast really means, without invoking confusion? And how do we best convey that this approach is in many ways an improvement? This is just one area in which an interdisciplinary collaboration like WAS*IS could be extremely beneficial, not only to Weather Central, but to all sectors of Meteorology. I truly look forward to being a participant in this year's workshop and furthering the mission of WAS*IS.


Lauren Hill

I graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder in May 2010 with a B.A. in Political Science. I've also completed NCAR's COMET Modules (Principles of Convective & A Social Science Perspective of Flood Events) and NIMS/Incident Command System courses through FEMA's independent study program. I'm currently perusing a certificate in Weather Forecasting at Penn State University. In 2009-2010, I worked with the Center for Severe Weather Research deploying tornado pods on the Vortex 2 Project.

I am especially interested in the public policy aspect of severe weather and emergency response planning. This includes working with state and local agencies on behalf of the public to fund necessary improvements such as the implementation of energy efficient Early Alert Systems including tornado sirens and the construction of tornado shelters in schools and at-risk communities. My primary interests are in improving methods of relying critical warning information and increased public understanding and awareness of severe weather hazards.

I look forward to being a part of the 2010 WAS*IS class to gain valuable social science and meteorological insight in an effort to improve the language and means of how we communicate warning information to the public.


Paul Iniguez

I am a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Phoenix, AZ. Overall, I would say we, as an office and agency, do a pretty good job of forecasting the weather. Yet there remains a disconnect between how we as meteorologists perceive people obtain and use our information and reality. My interest in attending WAS*IS is to help me develop a greater understanding of how I can work better with our customers - learn what information they need, how they would like to receive it, and any other details which would make our services more useful - and how we can leverage technology to provide those services. Learning some social qualitative methods of surveying would greatly help. The new tools I learn will be brought back and shared with my co-workers.

I've been with the NWS for eight years now, working in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Arkansas, and now Arizona. At the Phoenix office I serve as the climate program manager as well as the local Webmaster. I often get involved in many different research projects, varying from determining criteria for issuing heat warnings to assessing drought. I recently completed a MA in Geography (climatology focus) at Arizona State University, writing a thesis focusing on possible impacts of the Phoenix urban heat island on summer-time rainfall. I also hold a BS in Meteorology from St. Cloud State University.


Sam Lashley

Like many Meteorologists, I have had an interest in weather since I was a young child. My first memory of weather and its power was immediately after April 4 th 1974 when one of the largest tornado outbreaks occurred in the Midwest . Tornadoes ripped through an area of west central and north central Indiana near my hometown of Crawfordsville , IN. I can remember seeing the devastation left behind with my most vivid memory being a concrete foundation where a home once stood. The only thing left was a bathtub and refrigerator. This was the beginning of my life-long interest in Meteorology.

I attended Purdue University and graduated in 1991 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Atmospheric Science. After nearly a year and a half of trying to find a job in Meteorology, I accepted an intern position with the National Weather Service (NWS) in Milwaukee , Wisconsin . After a short two years in Milwaukee , it was back home again to Indiana where I became a Journeyman Meteorologist with the NWS Indianapolis office. As the NWS began its modernization efforts in the late 1990's, I accepted a position as Senior Meteorologist at the new Northern Indiana office where I remain today.

During my career, I have enjoyed talking with people about weather and listening to their thoughts, concerns and suggestions about warnings and forecasts. I would like to learn new methods and resources from WAS*IS that will help me apply what I have learned from these people. I hope the results will be improved forecasts and warnings which will make people react appropriately through improved confidence and ultimately save more lives!


Alex Matus


I am currently a graduate student in the atmospheric sciences department at Texas A&M University . I received my bachelor's degree in meteorology from Penn State University . My research focuses on satellite remote sensing of the atmosphere. I have worked on projects using datasets from several satellite instruments, including CALIPSO, CloudSat, and AIRS. Over the past two summers I have interned at NASA Langley Research Center , where I have used satellite data to investigate the atmospheric transport of aerosols, including Saharan dust and volcanic ash. At Texas A&M, my current graduate research is a study of the natural variability of cloudy AIRS infrared radiances. I plan to continue research in this field and pursue a doctoral degree in the atmospheric sciences.

I believe satellite remote sensing is a field which can benefit greatly from WAS*IS. Satellite measurements have significant advantages and disadvantages compared to other types of measurement, including aircraft and ground-based. Taken separate, these measurements give us a brief glimpse of scientific insight. Taken together though, satellite, aircraft, and ground-based measurements may complement each other to give us a much more complete view of what is going on in the atmosphere. To achieve this will require collaboration among people from different backgrounds. There is tremendous benefit from combining different types of measurements which will allow us to gain further insight into physical atmospheric processes.


Peter Rogers

My fascination with weather began at a young age, but grew into a profession after a violent tornado devastated my grandfather's hometown while I was in high school. Because of this event, I pursued a career as a meteorologist with the desire to help educate and warn people of the dangers associated with violent weather.

I am currently a General Forecaster with the National Weather Service Forecast Office in Grand Forks , ND where outside of my operational responsibilities I am heavily involved with the outreach, student volunteer, and winter weather programs. I have also had the privilege to work at the National Weather Service forecast offices in Phoenix , AZ as a Meteorologist Intern and Great Falls , MT as a student summer employee. I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Atmospheric Sciences from the University of North Dakota in 2003, after which I received a Master of Science from Colorado State University in 2005. As part of my graduate studies, I participated in the 2004 North American Monsoon Experiment and was stationed at a surface and upper air observation site in Los Mochis , Sinaloa , Mexico .

My interest in the WAS*IS program primarily stems from my involvement with the 2009 Red River of the North record-breaking flood event. Record fall precipitation, saturated frozen soil, and a cold and snowy winter combined with a few ill-timed late winter/early spring storms to produce some of the worst overland and river flooding across eastern North Dakota and northwest Minnesota since 1997. An untold number of homes, farmsteads, and businesses flooded, disrupting the lives of thousands for several months across the region. Post-flood meetings with critical stakeholders revealed the necessity to integrate the human element and social sciences into National Weather Service hydrometeorological forecasts and information in order to maximize their effectiveness. I hope my involvement with the WAS*IS program will provide me with the tools, resources, and contacts needed to improve the utility of our products and services and make a lasting impact on our future operations.


Katherine (Kate) Sammler

I am originally from Oregon and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Physics from the University of Oregon in 2005. In 2009 I received a Master of Science in Atmospheric Sciences from the University of Arizona. As a part of Dr. E. Robert Kursinski's team, we developed an active radio occultation satellite system called ATOMMS (Active Temperature, Ozone, and Moisture Microwave Spectrometer). My specific task was modeling the system's ability to accurately measure vertical ozone profiles.

At present I am pursuing a Ph.D. in the School of Geography and Development , also at The University of Arizona. My current work is on a research project studying flood hydroclimatology of the southwest United States under the advisement of Dr. Katherine Hirschboeck . This includes investigating historical flood data and the possible implications of climate on flood frequency, as well as interacting and collaborating with flood managers to create a useful, interactive website that will make this data accessible in a practical format. This is part of a larger project on campus, the Climate Assessment for the Southwest (CLIMAS), which connects a variety of earth scientists with local and regional stakeholders. I am also a graduate research fellow of the Science Foundation Arizona . My other research interests include interdisciplinary approaches to climate change, atmosphere-surface interaction, ocean circulation, remote sensing, and climate impacts on society.

I am interested in the WAS*IS workshop because of its engagement of diverse participants in a conversation focused on a goal of exploring issues involving weather and society. I hope to build relationships with and learn from the other attendees in the hopes of addressing practical solutions to social problems related to weather and climate. I look forward to this experience and am grateful to the organizers for this opportunity.


Kimberly Sarmuksnis

I recently completed an internship at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Office of Communications and External Affairs. I interned at NOAA while they were in the process of officially launching the NOAA Climate Service. I was able to assist with the preparation of the Climate Service rollout. I was also invited to observe a discussion that addressed the communications plan following the Chile earthquake and the Pacific Coast tsunami warnings. The discussion emphasized how important it was for NOAA to be able to get the warnings out correctly and efficiently to the public While at NOAA, I also contributed to NOAA World , the employee Web magazine, by interviewing a scientist for an up close profile. The article focused not only on the life of a hydrologist, but on the difficulty of forecasting floods in the Red River Valley.

I am a recent graduate from George Mason University where I earned my B.A. in communication with a concentration in public relations. My studies at Mason taught me the importance of always being ethical when communicating with the public.

I am excited to be a part of the WAS*IS Summer Workshop because I am interested in learning from other WAS*ISers the more scientific side of meteorology, while contributing my communication and writing skills.


Amber Silver

I received my Bachelor of Science degree in geography from Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, Nova Scotia in May (2010). During my tenure at SMU, I took various courses that critically examined the concepts of vulnerability, risk perception, and disasters. In June 2009, I conducted a research project intended to gauge public perception of severe weather warnings in Nova Scotia, Canada. Through this project, I have become deeply interested in the social science of severe weather research.

In September (2010), I will be entering the first year of a Masters of Environmental Studies degree at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada. While at UW, I will be researching the actual versus the perceived risk of tornadoes in southern Ontario. As a trained geographer, I not only seek to understand the atmospheric phenomena that facilitates the development of severe weather in this region, but I also wish to understand how human beings perceive and respond to severe weather events. It is my opinion that atmospheric science can only be effectively applied by forecast centers and emergency management personnel after a solid understanding of public perception of severe weather has been obtained.

I first learned about WAS*IS through the Disaster Grads Listserv hosted by the Natural Hazards Center. The more I researched the WAS*IS movement, the more excited I became; not only did its mission and vision closely resemble my own research goals, but its list of past participants is a veritable “Who’s Who” of outstanding social science disaster research. As a geographer from a small university, I have had very little opportunity to interact with others in my research field. I sincerely look forward to becoming an active member of the WAS*IS community.


Dave Snider

Dave believes outreach is essential to his community's weather preparedness and safety. He communicates with schools, churches and community groups on a regular basis about the weather dangers of the Ozarks, where flash flooding kills more people than any other weather-related issue each year. Dave was instrumental in developing a stadium-filled weather event with the Springfield Cardinals baseball organization where several thousand students enjoy science and weather learning, safety and fun each spring. Dave encourages weather observation and participation by promoting CoCoRaHS and organizing precipitation-gathering volunteers in Southwest Missouri.

Dave began broadcasting in 1996 and since then, has been forecasting, experiencing and enjoying the wide variety of weather and climate our nation has to offer from blinding blizzards to tropical troubles and the most severe of storms. Dave started in KJCT-TV in Grand Junction, Colorado. He's worked for KRDO-TV in Colorado Springs, and launched News 14 Carolina in Raleigh, North Carolina where he helped to build one of Time Warner's successful 24-hour weather-focused newschannels. In 2005, Dave returned to his Missouri roots and joined KY3 in Springfield, MO to focus on severe weather and launched another local weather channel, now known as KY3 24-7.

Dave is a member of the  American Meteorological Society and holds the American Meteorological Society's Seal of Approval. In April 2004, he was recognized for the Best Coverage of a Hurricane from his peers at the Bahamas Tropical Weather Conference for his coverage of  Hurricane Isabel making landfall in North Carolina. In 2008, Dave was selected as one of Springfield Business Journal's 40 Under 40 Class of 2008 for outstanding service to the community and in his profession. In 2009, Dave received an Emmy nomination for coverage of a 12-hour severe weather outbreak that spawned more than 30 tornadoes and created widespread wind damage in the Ozarks. He covers environment and weather-related stories and is always looking for new and innovative ways to increase weather and environmental understanding through his weather broadcasts, web discussions and social media tools.


Amy Stevermer

Since late 2007, I have worked with UCAR's COMET® Program producing online learning materials for meteorologists, hydrologists, wildland fire professionals, and others needing information about weather and Earth science topics. My professional background includes several years at NOAA's Environmental Research Laboratories in Boulder, Colorado, as well as experience contributing to scientific and education-related products for various organizations. My educational background combines a bachelor's degree in natural science and master's degree in atmospheric science with graduate coursework in technical communication and additional training in environmental education. I feel fortunate to have had ongoing involvement in projects aimed at sharing science with diverse audiences and continue to focus on exploring best practices for communicating weather and climate information. I am excited to participate in this year's WAS*IS summer workshop and look forward to meeting and learning from others involved in bridging the connections between weather and society.


Taylor Trogdon

I am originally from Columbia, Missouri where I attended the University of Missouri and earned an undergraduate degree in Meteorology. Currently I live in Omaha, Nebraska where I am pursuing my Master's Degree at Creighton University. My graduate research concerns winter weather and specifically, convective snowfall. I am currently employed by NCAR as a temporary employee and assist the Societal Impacts Program. After gaining some experience in the social science aspect of meteorology this summer, I believe attending the WAS*IS summer conference will allow me to expand upon the knowledge base that I have already built and learn how to think more in terms of social science.


Tom Wachs

Tom Wachs is a Meteorologist at KCTV, the CBS Affiliate in Kansas City . Tom's main responsibilities include forecasting, preparing and presenting the weather on the weekend evening newscasts. In addition, Tom assists the other Meteorologists on staff with graphics, forecasts and maintains all of the weather-related computer equipment. During severe weather season, Tom coordinates the station's storm chasers and station helicopter.

Prior to joining KCTV, Tom spent three years as a Meteorologist at WJHL-TV in Johnson City , TN and two years as the Chief Meteorologist at KNOP-TV in North Platte , NE.

Tom attended the University of Oklahoma for two years, before graduating with a degree in Atmospheric & Oceanic Sciences from the University of Wisconsin . While in school, Tom was an intern at various television stations in Oklahoma , Wisconsin and at The Weather Channel in Atlanta .

Tom became interested in becoming a part of WAS*IS to become a more effective communicator. With so many ways to “get the message out,” from TV to Twitter and Facebook, Tom feels it's more important now than ever to reach people in ways where they will listen and react, if necessary.

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