My interests

My interests are in the field of cloud physics: from storm electrification and hail formation to aviation icing and cloud seeding research. My research includes observational analysis using aircraft and radar data, as well as numerical cloud models, especially focused on improving model parameterizations of cloud microphysics. Outside of work, I enjoy spending time with my family, including two young kids who keep me quite busy. I also enjoy gardening, hiking, cooking/baking, and blogging.

How I became a scientist

I grew up in tornado alley and I have always been fascinated by severe thunderstorms since I was 4 years old. I wanted to know why the weather does what it does, so after I got my degree in meteorology, I set my sights on obtaining a Ph.D. and becoming a research scientist. While an undergrad, I was accepted into the SOARS (Significant Opportunities for Atmospheric Research and Science) Program and spent the next four summers doing research under the mentorship of scientists at NCAR. SOARS gave me experiences and helped me build skills that have enhanced my career in so many ways! My SOARS and graduate research focused on severe storms, including tornado formation, hail formation, and storm electrification using dual-polarization and dual-Doppler radar data. After graduate school, I wanted to expand my horizons by learning how to use cloud models to study aerosol impacts on storms. This led me to my current job at NCAR where I work with observations and models to improve microphysics in models and study applications of improved cloud physics in models for aviation icing, water resources, and cloud seeding research.

How my work benefits society

Fresh water is one of the most valuable resources on the planet, yet in many regions it is in limited supply. Studying how to better predict rainfall with models and how it might be enhanced by cloud seeding helps society with water resource planning. Moreover, research to improve icing forecasts helps prevent aviation accidents due to in flight icing. I received the Peter B. Wagner Award for Women in Atmospheric Sciences in 2004 for my research paper using radar data to study the kinematics and microphysics of a supercell thunderstorm, which was part of my graduate research. I also spent two years working for the GLOBE Program, which allowed me to work with K-12 students and teachers to train them on how to collect data and do scientific research to benefit their communities.