I was born in Cleveland, OH and became fascinated with weather at an early age. I was once terrified of storms, especially lightning and thunder, but that fear led to curiosity and ultimately my interest in turning meteorology into a career. I excelled in math and science, and wanted a job that involved field work (not being stuck at a desk all the time), so I was naturally drawn to meteorology. I took as many math and science classes as possible, knowing that meteorology would require extensive work in those areas.
While searching for colleges to attend to pursue a degree in meteorology, I visited the University of Oklahoma during OU/TX Weekend in the Fall of 2003. I toured Sarkeys Energy Center and learned about the program, and at that point I discovered that the University of Oklahoma and NOAA partners were in the early stages of constructing the National Weather Center. I saw a scale model of the National Weather Center along with the blueprints and knew instantly that the University of Oklahoma was the place to go to become a meteorologist. The rest is history!
The National Weather Center was a big part of my life, and I wanted others to have that same appreciation for this amazing facility, so when discussions began about providing student-led tours of the building, I jumped at the opportunity and was part of the original group of National Weather Center tour guides! Currently, I am the only remaining individual of that initial group that still provides tours.
I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Meteorology from the University of Oklahoma in 2008, and received my Master of Science in Meteorology from the University of Oklahoma in 2010. Being in a professional work environment while studying and taking classes afforded me a lot of opportunities for collaboration with different National Weather Center partners. I was able to take part in a number of field campaigns (field work!) that directed my interest and studies.
Research Associate (CIMMS/NSSL)
Currently, I am part of the Severe Weather Applications Technology Transfer Team (SWAT) within NSSL’s Warning Research Development Division (WRDD). We are tasked with developing and testing algorithms and techniques to improve short-term probabilistic prediction and nowcasting to assist forecasters with the warning-decision-making process.
As part of an MOU with the NOAA Radar Operations Center (ROC), we are investigating Vertically Integrated Liquid (VIL) and Echo Top algorithms and products to determine optimal selections for analyzing these radar-derived features. These products have tremendous potential for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). We are also investigating and improving the Hail Detection Algorithm (HDA) used by operational forecasters.
Our group is also instrumental in leading the Experimental Warning Program (EWP) in the NOAA Hazardous Weather Tested (HWT). We invite a number of collaborators and users into this R2O space to test different products, techniques, and algorithms to improve the warning-decision-making process.
Coordinator of External Relations (NWC and A&GS)
National Weather Center Tours
As the tour coordinator of the National Weather Center, I had the opportunity to showcase our one-of-a-kind facility to over 40,000 visitors each year. The National Weather Center is a tourist destination in Oklahoma, and our award-winning tours have been recognized by TripAdvisor (2016 Certificate of Excellence) and TripSavvy (2018 Editors’ Choice Best Science Museums and Attractions). I have provided tours of the National Weather Center since the official opening and dedication of the facility back on September 29, 2006.
National Weather Center Outreach
As the outreach coordinator of the National Weather Center and the College of Atmospheric & Geographic Sciences, I identified and executed events where promotion of the NWC and/or the College could be achieved with presence from staff and/or students, which involved assisting with conference exhibiting and special events for business such as alumni relations, corporate sponsorships, and student recruitment. Given our collocation with various National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) partners, this work also involved collaborating with NOAA Public Affairs on requests that require crossover into both university and NOAA.
National Weather Festival
One of the most enjoyable parts of my job was the lead coordinator and event planner for the annual National Weather Festival at the National Weather Center! It’s basically like a giant celebration of all-things weather! The National Weather Festival is a free, open-house style event held each fall at the National Weather Center with the purpose of highlighting the many weather-related organizations and activities in central Oklahoma. Attractions and activities include:
- Hourly balloon launches
- Meeting local OKC, Tulsa, Lawton, and Wichita Falls broadcast meteorologists
- Emergency Response Vehicle Displays
- Drone Demonstrations
- Weather superheroes The Weather Friends
- Children’s Activities
- The National Weather Museum & Science Center Traveling Museum
- Touring the Storm Prediction Center and NWS Norman Forecast Office
- Issuing your own Tornado Warning with the Warning Decision Training Division
- Food Trucks
Social Media, Content Development, and Merchandising
Being a member of the Marketing/PR, Alumni Relations, and Development team for the College, my duties also included managing the layout, design, content implementation, and updates for the digital displays in the National Weather Center, including Science on a Sphere, the Weather Wall, Visitor Center digital kiosk, EndPoint Liquid Galaxy, Concerto. I also took some of this content to our various social media platforms to showcase all that the National Weather Center has to offer! It really let me flex my creativity muscles!
Follow the National Weather Center on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter!
We have National Weather Center-branded merchandise as well, so I was responsible for maintaining the inventory system, monitoring and updating the online store, fulfilling and tracking orders, managing the inventory selection, and marketing our in-house (merchandise vending machine!) and online sales!