Two Wisconsinites awarded Verner E. Suomi Scholarship

May 28, 2019 | Jean Phillips

Two Wisconsin high school seniors, Leila Jean Gabrys and Gabriel M. Karr, have been selected to receive a $2000 Verner E. Suomi Scholarship.

Leila Jean Gabrys was selected to receive the Verner E. Suomi Scholarship and intends to study atmospheric and oceanic sciences at UW-Madison. Photo credit: Leila Gabrys

The scholarship is competitively awarded by the University of Wisconsin-Madison Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies (CIMSS) to students who exhibit a strong aptitude for the physical sciences and who exemplify many of the qualities for which Suomi, the founding director of the university’s Space Science and Engineering Center (SSEC), was admired.

Gabrys will graduate this spring from Pewaukee High School. She intends to study atmospheric and oceanic sciences when she comes to campus in the fall. Like Suomi, she is driven by a commitment to science and shares his “spirit of public service and desire to help people.” She intends one day to use her knowledge to work for the National Weather Service as a forecaster.

Gabriel Karr was selected to receive the Verner E. Suomi Scholarship and intends to study Earth sciences at UW-Madison. Photo credit: Gabriel Karr

Sharing a similar passion for Earth science, Karr hopes to approach it from the vantage of an environmental engineer. A student at Oregon High School, he has grown increasingly concerned about “fossil fuel emissions and their impact on the atmosphere.” Karr envisions a time when he lends his expertise to help create a more sustainable future for planet Earth.

Suomi was one of the most influential meteorologists of the 20th century and is known worldwide as the “father of weather satellites.”  In addition to his role as SSEC director, he had an illustrious teaching career as a faculty member in the UW-Madison Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences. Beyond his scientific achievements, Suomi was well known for his love of teaching, especially undergraduates, who he taught until his retirement.

The scholarship, offered for one year, will be applied to the students’ first year of undergraduate studies at UW-Madison.