Talea Mayo, University of Texas at Austin • No two days are the same for this student of computational and applied mathematics. She's working to improve hurricane storm surge predictions by focusing on how data gets added, or "assimilated," into a forecasting model.
Clarence Mann, University of Michigan • Mann is crossing many boundaries on the way to a master's in environmental and land use planning. His research is creating new tools for urban planners and decision makers.
Matthew Woitaszek, NCAR's Computational and Information Systems Lab • It doesn't take long to figure out that this computer scientist is in his dream job, where he spends much of his time collaborating with physical scientists.
Dione Lee Rossiter, University of California, Santa Cruz • This Ph.D. student studies clouds, especially over the subtropical ocean—the area just north and south of the tropics. She's interested in their invisible physical changes, or microphysics, and a whole lot more.
Bret Harper, Consultant • Harper's graduate study focused on wind climatology, but he works on a variety of questions as a consultant, including hydroelectric feasibility studies, dam inspections, and integrated resource planning.
Travis Metcalfe, NCAR's High Altitude Observatory • How common are planets like Earth around other stars like the Sun? Are we unique, rare, or typical in that regard? Metcalfe likes asking big questions.
Geoffrey Tyndall, NCAR's Atmospheric Chemistry Division • As a physical chemist, Tyndall likes "quantifying things, putting numbers on them—how fast does this go, and why is this reaction faster than that one?"
Mercy Borbor-Cordova, NCAR's Advanced Study Program • Two things are critical for academic success, says Borbor-Cordova, who combines interests in environmental science and public policy. One is persistence. The other is what makes persistence possible: choosing subject(s) you really love.
Cory Morse, NCAR's Research Applications Laboratory • Morse trained in science, but has the soul of an engineer, which makes her job as a software engineer in NCAR's applied research group a perfect fit.
Andrea Sealy, NCAR's Advanced Study Program • If you are from the Caribbean and you're good at math and science, the advice you get is to become a doctor, says Sealy. "But I never liked biology much," she adds. Now she's a researcher at the Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology.
James Done, NCAR's Mesoscale and Microscale Meteorology Division • A meteorologist, Done examines weather forecasts generated by computer models to better understand severe weather and long-term climate change. Recently, that has meant homing in on tropical meteorology and hurricanes.
Julien Wang, Significant Opportunities in Atmospheric Research and Science (SOARS) • When it came time to choose a major, Wang was torn between the arts and her growing interest in the environment. Finally, she chose environmental engineering. One recent project: designing a green roof.
Lou Verstraete, NCAR's Earth Observing Laboratory • As a senior technician, Verstraete manages a self-contained meteorological observing system that's deployed on field projects around the country and the world.
Aaron Pratt, Howard University • Pratt became hooked on hurricanes when the one named Hugo took aim at the Carolina coast 18 years ago. Now, the Ph.D. candidate is studying how dust affects the birth of such storms on the other side of the Atlantic.
Aiguo Dai, NCAR's Climate and Global Dynamics Division • After graduating from high school, Dai applied to the math department at China's Nanjing University.
"They didn't want me, so they put me in the meteorology department instead," Aiguo says. "But I think it turned out very well for me."
Christopher Castro, University of Arizona • Castro always had what he calls a passing interest in weather, but he never thought of his hobby as a career path. Now he’s a professor of atmospheric science and a researcher working on better forecasts of the Southwest's torrential summer rains.
Hector Socas-Navarro, NCAR's High Altitude Observatory • When this astrophysicist was 10 years old, he watched Cosmos, Carl Sagan's famous television series about the universe and our place in it. It was then that Socas-Navarro decided to become a scientist.
Waleska Rivera Rios, Significant Opportunities in Atmospheric Research and Science (SOARS) • In 2005, Rivera Rios was on her way to earning a doctorate in environmental science from the Universidad del Turabo in Puerto Rico.
Marina LaGrave, Spark: UCAR Science Education • When she began translating an educational website about Earth and planetary science, LaGrave realized that her intended audience wouldn't visit the site if they didn’t know it existed.
Doug Nychka, NCAR's Institute for Mathematics Applied to the Geosciences • A statistician by training, Doug leads IMAGe in its mission to bring mathematical models and tools to bear on fundamental problems in the geosciences.
Casey Thornbrugh, University of Arizona • Mention statistics to most middle schoolers and, unless you're talking about odds for poker hands, the response is likely to be an eye roll. When Thornbrugh was in middle school, though, his hobby was climate statistics.
Laura Pan, NCAR's Atmospheric Chemistry Division • Pan describes herself as an "accidental" scientist. She never intentionally set out to pursue a science career, but her pursuit of knowledge and understanding, however, is anything but accidental.
Jack Fox, NCAR's Design and Fabrication Services • Jack's favorite part of the job is brainstorming with researchers who come to the machine shop with everything from hazy visions of the instruments they want to highly detailed drawings they've prepared.