NOAA 03-R296
Contact: Keli Tarp
NOAA News Releases 2003
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Dustin Rapp, a senior physics major at Union University in Jackson, Tn., 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.

Rapp, who is the son of Millie and Don Rapp of Ste. Genevieve Mo., worked with Jeff Basara research scientist at the OU Oklahoma Climatological Survey on a project examining windflow through downtown Oklahoma City.

The purpose of this project is to determine how wind flows through the city during high wind events as a function of wind speed, wind direction, street orientation and building structures using numerous street level wind sensors. This research will be used to give a better understanding of how contaminants flow through a city to better prepare for chemical and biological attack.

Rapp said the REU has been a fun experience because he is able to interact with world class meteorologists at OU, NSSL and the SPC. “I am getting to see what research is like from some of the best,” said Rapp. “I am also more able to make a decision about whether or not a career as a research meteorologist is right for me.”

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:

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: