Through the Atmosphere Summer/Fall 2019

August 14, 2019 | Eric Verbeten

Photo credit: Bryce Richter / UW-Madison

Director’s note
by Brad Pierce
SSEC Director

“I shall never be content until the beneficent influence of the University reaches every family of the state” – Charles Van Hise, UW President, 1905

Van Hise’s vision became The Wisconsin Idea, encompassing all aspects of the university and extending well beyond the boundaries of the state.

For the Space Science and Engineering Center (SSEC) and the Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies (CIMSS), our education and research activities extend around the globe. Tristan L’Ecuyer, the new director of CIMSS, and I agree that alongside our research, we must continue to engage and educate the next generation of scientists.

Through the Atmosphere Summer/Fall 2019

While this issue of Through the Atmosphere is rich with stories of our research, from advances in observing techniques (for which we are known) to incorporating AI into forecasting, the thread connecting them, whether explicitly stated or implied, is education.

To that end, our scholarship committee recently selected two Wisconsin high school seniors, Leila Jean Gabrys and Gabriel M. Karr, to receive a Verner E. Suomi Scholarship. The scholarship is awarded through 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 SSEC, was well known.

Also this spring, CIMSS, in cooperation with NOAA, awarded the first William L. Smith, Sr. Graduate Scholarship to incoming graduate student Nuo Chen.

The scholarship was established in partnership with NOAA to advance our common mission of education and our commitment to improving public safety through more accurate weather prediction. Smith, for whom the scholarship is named, is a UW–Madison alumnus, emeritus professor of AOS, and first director of CIMSS who is known worldwide for his decades-long leadership of remote satellite sounding capabilities.

Two other students are launching their post-baccalaureate work and graduate studies, following their experiences at SSEC. Grace Peterson and Kenton Halbert, both worked side-by-side with SSEC researchers to gain valuable experience. Peterson will apply that knowledge in the field of engineering and Halbert is pursuing a Ph.D. in atmospheric science here at UW–Madison.

We need innovative scientists and engineers who will help solve the environmental challenges facing our society. In the spirit of Suomi, Smith and the Wisconsin Idea, we are committed to engaging and educating the next generation of researchers.