Contact: Keli Tarp
NOAA News Releases 2003
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Warren Township High School graduate Rebecca Mazur, a senior meteorology major at Northern Illinois University at Dekalb, Ill., was one of 10 students selected to participate in a summer research program at the Oklahoma Weather Center in Norman, Okla.

The program pairs undergraduate students with government and university weather researchers for 10 weeks to conduct research on a variety of topics including severe weather, tornadoes, numerical weather prediction models and climatology. In addition, students prepare and present papers reporting the results of their research. Their experience is supplemented by tours, field trips and lectures, all designed to provide students the opportunity to judge whether or not they want to pursue a future career in research.

The students’ mentors, who are leading scientists in the field of meteorology, are from five of the organizations that make up the Oklahoma Weather Center, including NOAA’s National Severe Storms Laboratory, Storm Prediction Center, as well as OU’s Oklahoma Climatalogical Survey, School of Meteorology and Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies.

Mazur, the daughter of Joan Jewell and Phil Mazur of Wadsworth, Ill., worked with meteorologist Greg Stumpf and research associate Valliappa Lakshmanan from the OU Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies on a project to improve the forecasting of severe weather events. The project involved performing an analysis on the Quality Control Neural Network, a program designed to filter out non-precipitation echoes in radar data to see how well it improved the detection of severe thunderstorms and tornadoes.

Mazur said her experience has been a dream come true because she has had a fascination for weather ever since childhood. She has enjoyed her experiences working with the professionals and seeing how meteorology works in the research world.

“What I gain from this program will be invaluable to my career,” said Mazur. “You can’t learn about the fine details of meteorology and research in a classroom.” She said one of the best parts about REU is that students from all over the United States were chosen to spend 10 weeks in an environment where they could freely share their love of meteorology.

Students apply for participation in the Research Experiences for Undergraduate (REU) program, which is funded by the National Science Foundation and the Center for Analysis and Prediction of Storms. The 10 participants were chosen from almost 100 applicants in the fields of meteorology, atmospheric science, physics, engineering, chemistry, mathematics, computer science, physical geography and other disciplines.

The aim of the National Science Foundation is to promote and advance scientific and engineering progress in the United States. Projects supported by the national REU program provide opportunities annually for several thousand undergraduate students to participate in active mathematics, science and engineering research experiences.

On the Web:


National Weather Service:

Oklahoma Weather Center REU program:

National Severe Storms Laboratory:

Storm Prediction Center:

Center for Analysis and Prediction of Storms:

Oklahoma Weather Center:

University of Oklahoma School of Meteorology:

National Science Foundation: