NCAS Weather Camp Comes To ESSIC For Fourth Annual Visit

By Maeve Dunigan

Students participating in Howard University’s NOAA Center for Atmospheric Sciences (NCAS) CAREERS Weather Camp came to ESSIC on July 20 as part of their fourth annual visit to the center.

The NCAS CAREERS Weather Camp is a two week program that gives high school students with interests in atmospheric, environmental or applied physical sciences the ability to gain knowledge about the fields and hear from working scientists. Students came from all over the U.S., some traveling from California while others hailed from Maryland and the D.C. area.

The students heard lectures from past and present CICS-MD Summer Institute Interns as well as from the University of Maryland Environmental Decision Support Science Lab and from Dr. Scott Rudlosky, a visiting research scientist and a physical scientist with the Satellite Climate Studies branch at the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) who mentors the CICS-MD internship program.   First, the weather campers were welcomed by Dr. Xin-Zhong Liang, an ESSIC researcher and a professor for the CMNS-Atmospheric and Oceanic Science department, who introduced them to ESSIC and talked about what the center was working on.

“Think about the future,” Liang said, gesturing to a chart depicting population growth. “We are going to feed 2 billion more people.”

Liang explained ESSIC’s mission to find solutions to food and water related issues through interdisciplinary research. He spoke about how education, science, technology and adaptation are all important factors in this pursuit and challenged students to “join [ESSIC’s] force to work together.”

After the introduction, CICS-MD interns gave presentations. Kayla Brown, a rising freshman at the University of Maryland, College Park, spoke about her studies regarding weather incidents over the ocean. She was followed by Zuriel Herran, a rising freshman at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, whose work covers relationships between lightning and wildfires. Herran had participated in the NCAS Weather Camp before becoming a CICS-MD intern. Mathew Bielec, a rising sophomore at the University of Maryland, College Park, gave a presentation on using raspberry pi, a small single-board computer, to photograph lightning.

Next came students from the UMD Environmental Decision Support Science Lab, who spoke about the intersections between the environment, social science and policy. The presenters were comprised of University of Maryland students Jason Winik, Carly Brody, Beatrice O’Connor, Angelica Li and Natalia Jaffee.

Rudlosky rounded out the presentations by showing the students pictures and videos of recent lightning strikes.

Before leaving the center, the weather campers were able to talk to CICS-MD interns and members of the UMD Decision Support Science lab about different aspects of college and how to get involved in undergraduate research.