2017 award winners honored at holiday party

Annual event recognizes outstanding accomplishments, celebrates holiday season

December 12, 2017 | Staff and family members gathered at Center Green 1 on Friday, December 8, to celebrate the year's accomplishments and connect with colleagues from across the organization. Just before the award ceremonies, a cappella singing group Three Story Limit got the party going. A holiday buffet dinner followed. During dinner, Old's Cool Rock had some staff singing along or dancing to renditions of popular tunes from the 1960s and 70s.

UCAR President Antonio Busalacchi provided a warm welcome; thanked the organizing committee from Events Services, Human Resources, and the Employee Activities Committee; and then asked for a moment of silence and remembrance as the names and photos of colleagues who passed away this year were displayed on large screens (see Colleagues We Will Miss for their names).

NCAR Director James Hurrell recognized this year's winners of external awards from the American Geophysical Union, European Geophysical Union, American Meteorological Society, and other community organizations. Then Busalacchi returned to the stage to thank the nominators and the anonymous jurors and to announce the winners of the UCAR Outstanding Accomplishment Awards. At the finale, Busalacchi announced the recipient of the Distinguished Achievement Award, the organization's highest honor. Congratulations to all the winners.

Outstanding Accomplishment Award Winners - 2017


Olga Wilhelmi and Jennifer Boehnert (Research Applications Laboratory)

Wilhelmi and Boehnert are being recognized for their work in the creation and implementation of the workshop series, Broadening Participation in the Interdisciplinary Geosciences: Hands-on Training and Education. Over the past five years, BRIGHTE has involved over 200 students, professors, and young professionals from minority-serving and underrepresented higher education institutions in the integration of GIS, atmospheric, and interdisciplinary science into classrooms and research through workshops hosted at NCAR and through participation in Research Experiences for Undergraduates workshops at various institutions.

2017 UCAR Diversity Award winners
Celebrating the 2017 Outstanding Accomplishment in Diversity Award: (left to right) Antonio Busalacchi (UCAR president), award winners Jennifer Boehnert and Olga Wilhelmi (RAL), Michael Thompson (NCAR deputy director), and James Hurrell (NCAR director). (All photos ©UCAR, by Carlye Calvin.)


Education and Outreach

Bruce Carmichael (Research Applications Laboratory)

Carmichael is being recognized for his sustained efforts to educate students, air traffic controllers, pilots, and the general public about aviation meteorology and the need for improved weather awareness. Carmichael’s varied outreach activities, including training sessions, workshop organization, and teaching, have brought together entities from across the aviation community to address challenges regarding the diverse weather requirements of the aviation industry. Supporting letters of reference paint Carmichael as "... a passionate advocate for better weather information to increase the safety and efficiency of the national airspace system, a person with a great ability to engage and coordinate a diverse and wide range of stakeholders, and someone that works tirelessly toward advancing aviation weather services and ... education for the aviation industry."

2017 UCAR Education & Outreach winner
The 2017 Outstanding Accomplishment in Education and Outreach Award went to Bruce Carmichael (RAL, third from left).



William Randel (Atmospheric Chemistry Observations and Modeling Laboratory)

Randel has mentored an impressive number of visiting graduate students and postdoctoral scientists within ACOM’s remote sensing group over the last five years. These student visits and postdoctoral fellowships were highly productive, and led to a large number of publications where Randel’s mentees were the lead authors, which attests to Randel’s “ability to provide thoughtful guidance to the students’ research, while still allowing them to pursue and develop their own ideas and research path[s]." Most of Randel’s mentees have gone forward to become successful early career scientists.

2017 UCAR Mentoring Award winner
The 2017 Outstanding Accomplishment in Mentoring Award went to William Randel (ACOM, third from left).


Outstanding Scientific Publication

Andrew Monaghan (RAL), Cory Morin (University of Washington), Daniel Steinhoff, Olga Wilhelmi, Mary Hayden (all of RAL), Dale Quattrochi (NASA Marshall Space Flight Center), Michael Reiskind (North Carolina State University), Alun Lloyd (North Carolina State University), Kirk Smith (Maricopa County Environmental Services), Christopher Schmidt (RAL), Paige Scalf (Durham University), and Kacey Ernst (University of Arizona)
On the seasonal occurrence and abundance of the Zika virus vector mosquito Aedes aegypti in the contiguous United States, 2016. PLoS Currents: Outbreaks, 1, doi:10.1371/currents.outbreaks.50dfc7f46798675fc63e7d7da563da76.

This groundbreaking paper was one of six studies highlighted in the National Science Foundation’s FY18 budget request to Congress — a demonstration of its strong significance to NSF, as well as NCAR and the UCAR community. NSF noted that the paper "lays a foundation for forecasting, handling, and possibly preventing future outbreaks of Zika and other serious diseases." The authors’ analysis demonstrates the critical relevance of climate and weather modeling and of interdisciplinary research by documenting a successful rapid response against an imminent public health threat. Using a novel multidisciplinary approach, the researchers recruited weather-driven models, a mosquito population model named “Skeeter Buster,” socioeconomic factors, and human travel patterns, to assess the risk of Zika virus transmission in the US. Remarkably, this body of work was completed, peer-reviewed, and published in less than eight weeks.

2017 UCAR Outstaning Scientific Publication Award
The 2017 Outstanding Scientific Publication Award: Olga Wilhelmi (RAL) accepted the award on behalf of the 12 authors on the winning interdisciplinary team.


Scientific and Technical Advancement

David Gochis, Roy Rasmussen, Wei Yu, Aubrey Dugger, James McCreight, Logan Karsten, Arezoo Rafieei Nasab, David Yates, Laura Read, Michael Barlage, Kevin Sampson, Linlin Pan, Yongxin Zhang, Andy Gaydos, Molly McAllister, Joe Mills, Andrew Newman, Andrew Wood, and Katelyn Fitzgerald (all of the Research Applications Laboratory)
The National Water Model

The National Water Model is the first operational, high-resolution, hydrologic prediction model to be implemented across the continental U.S. This model is being used at NOAA’s new National Water Center to track water flows across the country, which is helping emergency managers, local communities, and decision makers respond to issues such as flooding, drought, water availability, and water quality. It is also proving itself as a valuable research tool and as a mechanism for moving research to operations.

2017 UCAR Scientific + Technical Advancement Award winners
The 2017 Scientific and Technical Advancement Award went to the the National Water Model Team (RAL). All but three members are pictured here. Left to right, back row: James Hurrell, Michael Thompson, and Antonio Busalacchi with the team: Arezoo Rafieei Nasab, Dave Gochis, Mike Barlage, Roy Rasmussen, Linlin Pan, Aubrey Duggar, Wei Yu; middle: Laura Read, Logan Karsten; front: Kevin Sampson, Molly McAllister, Joe Mills, Katelyn Fitzgerald, Yongxin Zhang, Andy Newman, and Andy Wood (click on the photo to enlarge).


Distinguished Achievement Award - 2017

Michael Dixon (Earth Observing Laboratory)

Dixon is being recognized for his valiant efforts to improve community radar and lidar analysis software. As co-principal investigator of the Lidar Radar Open Software Environment (LROSE) project, Dixon envisaged a new software paradigm and reinvigorated NCAR’s role as a leader in radar software. By shepherding LROSE to fruition, Dixon has helped address pressing needs expressed at the 2012 NSF-hosted Community Workshop on Radar Technology.

Via an open source framework, LROSE provides novel, open-source tools and data formats to meet the needs of the research community. It has the ability to convert data from 25 formats, displaying real-time data to meet user needs. Additionally, by soliciting broad research community input, and by developing and championing a globally accepted data interchange format, as well as a metadata data standard, Dixon’s efforts have saved researchers considerable time.

While mostly behind the scenes, software tools are essential to observational data analysis and scientific discovery. Dixon’s software engineering leadership has not only returned NCAR to the forefront of radar and lidar software, but has paved the way for NCAR’s future excellence in this area.

2017 UCAR Distinguished Achievement Award
The organization's highest honor, the UCAR Distinguished Achievement Award, was presented to Michael Dixon (EOL, third from left).


On the web

UCAR Awards Honor Roll of Previous Winners

About UCAR awards to staff