NOAA 03-R299
Contact: Keli Tarp
NOAA News Releases 2003
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Alden High School graduate Nick Metz, a senior meteorology major at Valparaiso University at Valparaiso, Ind., 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 (NSSL), Storm Prediction Center, as well as OU’s Oklahoma Climatalogical Survey, School of Meteorology and Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies.

Metz, who is the son of Lori and David Metz of Alden, N.Y., worked with Dave Schultz, research meteorologist at the OU Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies and SPC meteorologist Bob Johns on a project researching secondary gradients in a cyclone’s warm sector to gain a better understanding of cyclones and their frontal structure, and to determine the structure of these secondary boundaries to see if they serve as a focal point for severe weather.

Metz said his experience has been positive and he has learned more about his topic and the research process in general. “The experience should hopefully help prepare me for graduate school following next year.”

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: