REU program gives undergraduates firsthand atmospheric research experience
Every summer since 2007, Colorado State University’s Department of Atmospheric Science has given undergraduate students hands-on research experience and a real-life look at what it means to be a scientist or scholar. College students from across the U.S. work with faculty members and researchers who lead their field, and interact with graduate students on cutting-edge research projects through the Research Experiences for Undergraduates, or REU, program.
Justin Stow, an undergrad majoring in meteorology and physical science at Florida State University, was drawn to the CSU program’s objectives, mission and reputation in atmospheric research.
“This program offers a world-class research experience that allows students to discover their passions and motivate their ambitions for future endeavors,” he said.
Stow has been working with research scientists Chris Slocum and John Knaff at the Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere, or CIRA. As part of their tropical cyclone (TC) group, Stow is analyzing a major forecasting model – evaluating its predictors, assessing how each is calculated, and trying to understand the global variability of TC environmental conditions. The team’s goal is to determine if adding more parameters improves the accuracy of the model’s intensity forecasting.
“This experience has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my undergraduate collegiate career,” he said.
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Photo at top: Atmospheric science REU students visit the National Center for Atmospheric Research, an NSF-funded lab, to learn about its research. Front row, from left to right, Justin Stow, Abby Stokes, Charlotte Connolly and Elana Cope; back row, left to right, Richard Garmong, Jaime Anderson, Alex Ng, Brandon Molina, Erin Sherman and Emily Lill.