From a highly competitive field of more than 1,100 applicants, William Smith College rower Macy Howarth was named a Goldwater Scholar. The Goldwater Scholarship is the premier undergraduate award of its type in the fields of mathematics, the natural sciences, and engineering.
The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship was established in 1986 to honor Senator Barry M. Goldwater, who devoted 56 years to his country as a soldier and statesman, including 30 years of service in the U.S. Senate. Many Goldwater Scholars go on to garner the attention of prestigious post-graduate fellowship programs. Recent Goldwater Scholars have been awarded 80 Rhodes Scholarships, 117 Marshall Awards, 112 Churchill Scholarships, and numerous other distinguished fellowships such as the National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowships.
Howarth a geoscience major with a concentration in atmospheric sciences, was one of only 283 students to be named a Goldwater Scholar. As such, she will receive funds to cover her tuition, fees, books, and room and board for the 2014-2015 academic year.
When she arrived at the Colleges, Howarth says she was not inclined to study meteorology but after being placed in the “Introduction to Meteorology” course in her first year, she was “hooked.”
“As I continue my education and research, my passion for meteorology grows,” she explains.
Among the aspects of meteorology Howarth finds fascinating is how everything in the field connects and is intertwined, yet there are still mysteries to solve. Last summer, she worked with her adviser, Assistant Professor of Geoscience Nick Metz, to learn more about the mystery of why a severe thunderstorm that crossed Lake Michigan was significantly underforecast-24 to 32 times more rain fell than was forecast. The storm resulted in $17 million in damage, hundreds of thousands of power outages and one death. Besides the scientific challenge, Howarth was drawn to this research project because of the real-world impacts on the people who live in cities downstream of Lake Michigan. She presented the findings of their work at both the 2014 American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting and the 2014 Northeastern Storm Conference. She also intends to continue this research with Metz as an independent study and later an Honors project at HWS.
This winter, Howarth was one of nine student researchers working on the National Science Foundation-funded Ontario Winter Lake-effect Systems (OWLeS) project. OWLeS brought together more than a half-dozen colleges, universities and agencies from across the country to collaborate on research in the Lake Ontario and Finger Lakes regions. During lake-effect snow events, HWS student researchers worked shifts to launch weather balloons to collect data on variables like wind speed and temperature throughout the atmosphere. Howarth also worked to “nowcast” and keep teams in the field updated on the position of the lake effect bands, or present the forecast for the day.
Following HWS, she intends to obtain a Ph.D. in atmospheric sciences with a focus in mesoscale meteorology, in order to pursue a career in teaching and research at the undergraduate level.
“I want to teach at an institution like HWS because it has made such an impact on my education,” says Howarth. “Through classes, research opportunities and working closely with faculty, I have received the best, hands-on education I could. I want the opportunity to conduct my research with undergraduates and give them the educational experiences I have now.”
Howarth, who is minoring in environmental studies and mathematics, is also a rower, resident assistant and William Smith Judicial Board elected member. A sophomore academically, she is in her first season with the Heron rowing team. During the fall semester, Howarth earned a bronze medal as a member of the novice four at the Head of the Fish Regatta. Ranked third in the nation in Division III, William Smith is scheduled to begin its spring racing schedule on Sunday, April 6, at UMass.
Since 1999, 12 HWS students have been named Barry M. Goldwater Scholars or Honorable Mention recipients in the Goldwater Scholarship competition