My interests

My passion is writing and debugging computer programs. I also enjoy the sciences and was able to find a job that merged all my interests together at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). Being a mom is also very important to me and I was glad to have a career where I could be home most evenings and take off when my kids had field trips or other special events. I love to travel and camp and expand my cooking skills with new recipes and cooking techniques.

How I became a scientist

I started out in college as a pre-med student, but decided during my freshman year that I didn’t really want to be a doctor. After I took my first computer programming class, I was hooked and changed my major. I have always loved solving logic problems and discovered that programming is all about organizing computations into logical steps and solving puzzles. While I was still a student, I applied for a laboratory assistant job at NCAR. Even though the job did not have any computer programming aspects to it, I was hopeful that it would lead me to a full-time programming job at NCAR after I graduated, which it did. I have had a career which has allowed me to work with data from instruments on satellites which study the atmosphere as well as now working with the NCAR Community Earth System Model (CESM). This computer model is helping us to better understand the atmosphere and the impacts we are having on it and to simulate past, present and future scenarios.

How my work benefits society

My work has been an integral part of allowing atmospheric scientists to study the atmosphere. It is exciting to see the work that I’ve done being published in papers, presented at conferences and most importantly helping us to understand the world we live in. My expertise with computer programming is essential to the studies which the atmospheric scientists are performing. Some of my programs have been used to study the Antarctic ozone hole, document and study pollution world-wide and study the impact of increased airline travel on the atmosphere.