This webspace informally archives past activities of both undergraduate and graduate student alumni from research projects associated with MESAS. Graduate and go do great things for our amazing planet!warren-thomas-spring-2015

Stephanie Edwards

Stephanie started in Spring 2016 as a Masters in Earth Sciences student after her work at NC State in their Meteorology program. She graduated from UNC Charlotte in Spring 2018 after finishing an excellent Masters project focused on digging out lightning-microwave relationships in the Southeastern USA. Specifically, she worked on empirically modeling the statistical relationship between lightning detected using the National Lightning Detection Network dataset and satellite microwave remote sensing data from SSM/I. She was storm-chasing in the world of data and found some pretty interesting results about the Southeast USA! We have a manuscript in preparation related to her Masters work.

Taylor Grace

Taylor worked on a great research project in the Summer 2018 Charlotte Research Scholars program here at UNC Charlotte where she tested the hypothesis that rain reduces air pollution concentrations using a recently deployed network of PM2.5 sensors that I helped set up around Mecklenburg County in 2017. Taylor dug into weather station and radar data as well as the PM2.5 data to pull the strings together and show how rain sometimes (but not always!) helps clean out the crud in the air.

Charley Fite

Charley graduated in Spring 2018 with his Meteorology BSc. He worked on ways to understand questions related to large-scale dynamics and climate science, and started with learning how to talk to data using python programming language. Charley did some really nice work related to the shifting bell curve of seasonal temperature distributions around the Southeastern USA using data from NOAA NCEI, worked as an air quality intern at the Environmental Protection Agency in Summer 2016, and worked as a atmospheric chemistry researcher as a part of the competitive NASA Student Airborne Research Program. He worked with UC Irvine researchers on questions about trace gas chemistry.

Charley attended multiple AMS conferences, and the mighty AGU conference in Fall 2017 to meet up with his peers from SARP. Charley presented at the student conference for AMS in January 2018. In his Senior year (2017-18), Charley was also the President of the local student weather club with responsibilities that included bringing speakers from industry to meet with students, fund-raisers, and the UNC Charlotte Weather Fest in spring 2018. In May 2018, he completed his Honors Thesis using the NCAR LENS ensemble to understand changes in aerosol patterns and the implications in a tightly defined project titled “Aerosol and Cloud Interactions Over South America During the Next Century”. He spent most of Fall 2017 learning how to navigate the multidimensional LENS output with python, and what “netcdf” means (long live netcdf!) in order to have the foundation to do the work he wanted to do for his Honors Thesis. Finally, in April 2018, Charley was the well-deserving co-recipient of the Top Senior award in our Meteorology program here at UNC Charlotte.

Charley graduated with honors in Spring 2018 but he’s not done. First, he is working a summer internship at NASA Langley with Dr Amber Soja, and then he starts graduate school at the Florida State University Department of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Science in Fall 2018.

Warren Pettee

summer2015-unidata-warren-01Warren was a long-time member of MESAS research group starting as an undergraduate, and then working “on the side” on projects of data visualization via our campus weather station (which is the project he started as an undergraduate!). He is now working at University of Nebraska Lincoln and the High Plains Regional Climate Center (HPRCC) on how weather and climate data can best be interwoven with the web and stake-holder needs. He is also working on finishing a Masters degree in Earth Sciences here at UNC Charlotte, noting he also graduating with a Meteorology BSc in Spring 2015. His research project is to use WRF in various configurations on UNC Charlotte computers to evaluate mesoscale and microscale forecasting in the Southeastern USA. Warren began working on WRF in Fall 2013, and by Spring 2014, he had an “operational” nested-grid run to predict North Carolina weather from WRF. Operational weather forecast here means that Warren compiled and ran WRF within a time window that beat the next data initialization. He quickly developed a high level of proficiency at shell-scripting, NCAR Command Language (NCL), Python, a little bit of Fortran, and a lot of code-debugging. A very versatile skill set! Warren is active on twitter (@wpettee), was the co-host of Skytalk on Radio Free Charlotte, and was active in the UNC Charlotte Meteorology program for many years, including being a key organizer of student-run Weather Fests. He presented climatology work he completed with Dr. Matt Eastin at the UNC Charlotte Undergraduate Research Conference in Spring 2014. Warren was selected to be a 2014 Charlotte Research Scholar at UNC Charlotte. I posted about this on the department webpage, but it is worth saying again that he was among the 54 students selected from a pool of 150 applicants. CRS is an excellent program for undergraduates, and Warren received $4000 funding for summer research related to studies of weather on UNC Charlotte campus. His specific project was supervised by myself and Professor Matt Eastin – we worked together to bring the UNC Charlotte Meteorology Program “Niner Nation Weather” Display to life on the 1st floor of the McEniry building. This very outreach-oriented CRS project will also include some major computer work behind the scenes, and this is what Warren focused on. He presented his work at the CRS symposium in July 2014. Warren worked as a paid intern in the MESAS group on weather modeling and weather data management and display in 2014-2015, before graduating and joining the research group as a graduate student. His research project is advised formally by Professor Matt Eastin, but Warren continues to explore data and web-data interfacing as a part of the MESAS group.

William Ruble

crs-2015-maxWilliam (or “Max”) graduated in Spring 2016 with a BS in Earth and Environmental Sciences. Max worked with me as a part of the UNC Charlotte Research Scholars program on NLDN lightning statistics. Separate from work in my group, he also went to Iceland to explore ideas in sustainability. Last I heard, he was working on a Masters in Climate Science and Solutions at Northern Arizona University starting in Fall 2016.

Cody Ledbetter

cody-ledbetterCody graduated in Spring 2016 with a BSc in Meteorology. In Fall 2016, he started at UNC Charlotte in our Masters in Earth Sciences program working with Professor Casey Davenport on severe weather research. Cody and another undergraduate (Eric Bunker) worked on building and deploying a make-shift weather station using Arduino micro-electronics and some rudimentary python programming. They even tested it against our rooftop Vantage ProII weather station to figure out how good the device they built was. Cody went on to finish a Masters degree in Earth Sciences with Professor Davenport and, as of Summer 2018, has a forecasting job at the NWS office in Sterling Virginia.

Eric Bunker

eric-bunkerEric graduated in Spring 2016 with a BS in Meteorology. In Fall 2016, he started at the SUNY Albany Atmospheric Sciences graduate program. Eric officially worked with Professor Davenport, but he and Cody worked together on the microelectronics project. As of 2018, Eric continues his graduate studies at SUNY Albany.

Thomas Winesett

thomas-winesettThomas successfully completed and defended his Masters degree in Earth Sciences with an emphasis on Meteorology. He started at UNC Charlotte in Fall 2013, and graduated in Spring 2015, and he is now at the National Weather Service office in Jackson, Mississippi. While Thomas was at UNC Charlotte, he was partly funded as a Teaching Assistant with the Department of Geography and Earth Sciences, and partly funded via external funding (Dr. Magi as Principal Investigator) from NASA NC Space Grant in Spring 2014, Summer 2014, and Fall 2014. His Master’s project investigated whether microwave remote sensing data from satellites sensors could be used to determine cloud-to-ground lightning. He used DMSP SSM/I data and ground-based National Lightning Detection Network data, and learned about the power of programming via Python, as well as bringing his forecasting expertise to bear on the problem via archived radar data from NCDC and GR2 Analyst. Thomas attended AMS 2014 in Atlanta as a Student Assistant, AMS 2015 as a presenter at the Student Conference and Full Conference (see Presentations), and made many trips out west for storm chasing in 2014 and 2015 (here), so he remained an active participant in the meteorology community as well as being a graduate student researcher. After he left for the NWS job, I wrote up his Masters research project in collaboration with him and Dr. Dan Cecil (NASA MSFC) for eventual publication in the Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology (JAMC), which is a top AMS journal. See publications page for a link to the article.

Amber McGinnis

amber-mcginnisAmber finished her Meteorology major in Spring 2014. She worked on an Independent Study course credit in her final semester at UNC Charlotte studying lightning climatology in the Charlotte region from the National Lightning Detection Network. Her work explored whether there were any detectable biases in where lightning tended to occur in Mecklenburg and surrounding counties. Initial results suggested parts of the counties indeed had more lightning, but more investigation is needed to study a longer time series of data. Amber was hired by Accuweather in Wichita, Kansas.

Sean Malone

bluemarble.westSean finished his Meteorology major in Spring 2014 and worked on Independent Study course credit in Fall 2013. His project investigated the correlation between NLDN ground-based lightning and OTD/LIS space-based lightning observations. Preliminary conclusion suggested seasonal lightning patterns were similar, but more investigation is needed to understand magnitude differences.

Daniel Cunningham

danielcunninghamDaniel Cunningham graduated with a Meteorology BSc in Spring 2013. He was a part of MESAS through the CRS Scholars program at UNC Charlotte that provided $4000 in summer funding for Daniel to do this research. Daniel was one of the 50 UNC Charlotte undergraduate students selected out of a pool of over 170 applicants! Daniel worked with Dr Magi on a project called Lightning and Fires from June-July 2012. For the Lightning and Fires project, Daniel examined whether there is a statistical relationship between lightning over North America where data is readily available and where data is not readily available. This is a study using remotely-sensed lightning observations from NASA satellite sensors. Daniel presented his results on 25 July 2012 at a CRS Symposium. Daniel continued his research from CRS during the Fall and Spring Semesters of his senior year in Independent Study with Dr Magi. He presented his work at the January 2013 AMS conference in Austin and at the UNC Charlotte Undergraduate Research Conference in April 2013. Daniel won 1st place for his URC poster. Daniel was working on a Masters degree in Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Alabama Huntsville, but I am not sure what he is doing now.