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November 20, 2020

Kate O’Dell and Sean Freeman awarded Dietrich and Shrake-Culler scholarships

In a virtual ceremony Friday, Kate O’Dell received the David L. Dietrich Honorary Scholarship and Sean Freeman received the Shrake-Culler Scholarship.

O’Dell’s advisers, Professors Jeff Pierce and Emily Fischer, nominated her for the Dietrich Scholarship and announced her as the recipient.

“Kate’s just a wonderful person, who’s hard-working and easy to work with, who has made terrific contributions to air pollution research,” Pierce said.

“Kate’s work has enabled many other collaborators to estimate the impact of smoke on human health and most recently crime,” added Fischer.

O’Dell’s research has been overall to quantify people’s exposure to wildfire smoke as well as assessing how smoke concentrations have been changing in the U.S. over recent decades, understanding what hazardous air pollutants are in smoke and quantifying smoke health effects. She also volunteers as a mentor for undergraduates.

The Dietrich Scholarship recognizes a CSU student who has demonstrated outstanding ability in air quality research and education. Fort Collins-based Air Resource Specialists Inc. funds the Dietrich Scholarship each year. It is given in honor of retired ARS President David Dietrich.

Freeman was nominated by Professors Sue van den Heever, his adviser, and Sonia Kreidenweis for “his academic achievements, significant contributions to research activities both within ATS and the broader community, and his enthusiasm for graduate education, along with his incredible can-do attitude.”

Freeman focuses on the microphysical and dynamical processes of convective clouds in his research. Currently he’s looking into the role of various environmental factors, including thermodynamics, radiation and aerosols, on the life cycle of tropical convection.

“Those of you who know Sean know he has this remarkable suite of technical capabilities and skills, and he has put this to great use in a number of recent field campaigns,” van den Heever said.

Freeman oversaw all of the drone instrumentation, communication and data as well as the training of student pilots during the C3LOUD-Ex campaign. He also helped establish the CSU Drone Center. During the CAMP2Ex campaign, Freeman was one of only two students selected to be part of the flight planning team and served as the flight scientist on one of the 19 research flights.

The Shrake-Culler Scholarship is given annually to a senior Ph.D. student. The student must have passed their preliminary exam, have a GPA of 3.5 or above, and demonstrate a strong work ethic and enthusiasm for higher education.

O’Dell and Freeman each briefly presented their work, an added feature to this year’s ceremony. In the past, winners were not notified in advance.