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Predicting Weather and Tomorrow’s Meteorologists

The American Meteorological Society (AMS) encourages advances in the science of predicting and understanding weather by recognizing budding scientists at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair with Special Awards. The AMS gives three awards and three honorable mentions. In addition to a cash prize, winners receive a one-year student membership in the AMS, which includes either a subscription to Weatherwise or the Bulletin of the AMS.

“The AMS sponsors an award at the Intel ISEF to support the role that science fairs play in sparking an interest in science among pre-college students in general, and to highlight science fair projects that address topics in the atmospheric and related sciences,” said AMS Executive Director Keith Seitter. “With weather and climate impacting everyone’s lives in a very direct manner, and environmental issues being critically important to the future of society, the AMS wants to encourage top students to consider scientific careers in disciplines that address these topics.”

AMS’s lead judge, Charles Holliday, noted that this year’s judges were impressed by the students’ persistence and dedication. He said selecting the winners and deciding on the ranking was a difficult decision because it was so highly competitive.  

“Hearing my name during the awards ceremony was such a special moment. It meant so much to me that an organization of professional scientists wanted to recognize the work I had done as a high school student,” said Kyra Grantz, third place award winner. “In college, I find that professors take notice when they see that I have won a national award from such a prestigious and well-known group.”

The top winner, Christopher Gerlach, said, “It is a great boost to my future research to know that the representatives of such a venerable organization think my project is worthy of such an award.” Particularly, the prize has helped him gain notice in his weather alert and forecasting service, the Weather Information DissEmination Network. He hopes that the recognition generated by the award “will assist me in my ultimate goal of making a difference by giving people and organizations the warning they need to take action preserving their lives and property.”

2011 winners

First Award of $2,000

Washington, DC Severe Thunderstorm Wind Events: An Analysis of Correlated Thermodynamic Convective Parameters and Doppler Radar Signatures 
Christopher Aaron Manning Gerlach, 16
T. C. Williams High School, Alexandria, Virginia

Second Award of $1,000

Investigating Climate Change: A Comparative Analysis of Colonial and Modern Weather Data 
Marni Jordyn Wasserman, 18
Commack High School, Commack, New York

Third Award of $500

The Effects of Ocean Temperature on Aerosol Particle Absorption 
Kyra Holister Grantz, 17
The York School, Monterey, California

Certificate of Honorable Mention

Computer Modeling IV: A Particulate Dispersion Model Employing Real-Time Wind Calculations 
Jessica Marie Constant, 16
Poudre High School, Fort Collins, Colorado

Characterization of Volcanic Lightning and Modeling How Volcanic Lightning Occurs at Sakurajima Volcano in Kagoshima, Japan 
Nobutada Kawazoe, 17
Kagoshima Prefectural Kinkowan Senior High School, Kagoshima, Kagoshima, Japan 
Taiki Maehata, 17
Kagoshima Prefectural Kinkowan Senior High School, Kagoshima,
Kagoshima, Japan 
Rushia Kanai, 17
Kagoshima Prefectural Kinkowan Senior High School, Kagoshima, Kagoshima, Japan

Stratosphere – Ionosphere Coupling: The Effects of Sudden Stratospheric Warming on the Ionosphere 
Cayley Erin Dymond, 15
North Point High School for Science, Technology, and Industry, Waldorf, Maryland