Atmospheric Science Research in the Spotlight – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Atmospheric Science Research in the Spotlight

HWS geoscience students and faculty recently presented on several atmospheric science research projects at the 41st Annual Northeastern Storm Conference (NESC) hosted by the Lyndon State College local chapter of the American Meteorological Society in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. With 12 students and two faculty members from HWS at the conference, it was the largest contingent from the Colleges ever to attend.

Macy Howarth ’16, Emily Ott ’17, Matt Sanders ’17, Assistant Professor of Geoscience Nick Metz and Professor of Geoscience Neil Laird each delivered presentations. Kely Ame-Seshie ’18, Sean Bernieri ’19, Dan Bristol ’18, Peyton Capute ’18, Molly Neureuter ’18, Abou Okeke-Diagne ’16, Lukas Ruddy ’18, Jesse Schaffer ’17 and Harry Simblaris ’17 also attended.

“This was an opportunity for students to expand their horizons with an academic experience that’s off campus,” Laird says. “Many had not yet been to a scientific conference, and students get to see what one has to offer. The earlier they do that, the more familiar and prepared they will be if there is an opportunity for them to present research later on.”

At the conference, Howarth presented “Building a Weather-Ready Nation: External Engagement and Effective Communication,” a project focused on weather safety information and weather education that was completed in conjunction with the National Weather Service (NWS). Howarth was involved with the NWS project when she interned at the organization’s headquarters in Silver Spring, Md. as part of the prestigious Ernest F. Hollings Undergraduate Scholarship Program. It was the fourth time Howarth attended NESC.

During the poster presentations, Ott showcased her project “A Climatology of the Interaction between Short-Wave Troughs and Shore-Parallel Lake-Effect Snowstorms off of Lake Ontario.” In addition, Sanders presented, “Preliminary Analysis of Aerosol Concentrations Near a Proposed Silica Transfer Station,” work he conducted at Texas A&M University as part of the Research Experiences for Undergraduate Students supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Sanders, who has been to NESC three times, says attending is a great way to get exposure to a range of topics worked on by students from across the country.

“I have also been able to figure out what interests me most when it comes to making future decisions about graduate schools and topics I would like to focus on,” Sanders says.

For Ott, the conference allowed her to connect with like-minded peers and professionals. Her presentation was based on work she did at HWS as a summer research student with the Atmospheric Science Research Group in the Geoscience Department.

“Professors Laird and Metz fostered a true community by engaging with us on our papers and challenging us to push for a better end result,” says Ott, who is in the final stages of preparing a research paper for publication.

At NESC, Metz presented “The Impacts of the Passage of Three Distinct Short-Wave Troughs on a Prolonged Lake-Effect Snow Event During OWLeS” and Laird presented “Influence of Upstream Connections to Lake-effect Snow Amounts in the Lake Michigan and Lake Ontario Snowbelts.”

Laird and Metz also contributed to “A Seasonal Analysis of Dendritic Growth Zones during Lake-Effect, Synoptic-Scale, and Lake-Enhanced Winter Storms,” which was presented by Kelley Murphy, a SUNY Oneonta meteorology student that worked with Laird and Metz as part of the HWS Atmospheric Science Research Group during the summer of 2015.

The NESC is one of the largest student-run atmospheric science conferences in the United States with more than 300 attendees annually, including students and faculty from nearly 20 colleges and universities, as well as professional meteorologists from the NWS, television stations and the private sector. The HWS students and professors Laird and Metz were able to attend the 41st Annual NESC through support provided by HWS Student Activities, HWS Provost’s Office, HWS Geoscience Department, and grants received from the NSF.