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.
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.
Jielun Sun, NCAR's Mesoscale and Microscale Meteorology Division • Sun likens data analysis to a form of meditation. "It's all about discovery," she explains. "Every time I look at data, I see something and feel like I learn things."
Claudia Tebaldi, NCAR's Institute for Mathematics Applied to Geosciences • One of Claudia's favorite things about her job is working closely with the scientists who interpret the data that she analyzes. "Because I'm a statistician, I couldn't be anything but a team player," she points out.
Andrew Gettelman, NCAR's Atmospheric Chemistry Division • "My job is to try to figure out how the world works," Gettelman says. "There's a lot of fun in that, as well as infinite job security, since we'll never completely figure it out."
Joan Kleypas, NCAR's Climate and Global Dynamics Division • "Jacques Cousteau was my idol while growing up," confesses Kleypas. The undersea world revealed in his groundbreaking television programs inspired her to become an ocean scientist.
Holland recalls that when she entered graduate school at the University of Colorado, she had "the fuzzy idea of doing something with climate." She left graduate school with a sharp focus on the role of sea ice in the climate system.
Beth Holland, NCAR's Atmospheric Chemistry Division • Beth says that one of the most important things a scientist can do is communicate the results of his or her work. “I really believe in the science I’m doing and its ability to serve society.”