Jay Wimhurst has come a long way, over 4,000 miles to be exact, to study at the University of Oklahoma where he is currently pursuing a PhD in Geography. Wimhurst received his Integrated Master’s Degree in Meteorology and Climate (MMet) in 2017 from the University of Reading in the United Kingdom. He chose the University of Oklahoma for graduate school after taking part in the exchange program offered by OU and Reading’s meteorology departments during the 2015-2016 academic year. He enjoyed being on the OU campus and everything OU had to offer making it an easy decision to return to the University for graduate school. Wimhurst completed a Master’s in Environmental Sustainability at OU in May of 2019 prior to starting his PhD studies.
During his exchange year at OU, Wimhurst met Dr. Scott Greene, Associate Director of the Department of Geography and Environmental Sustainability (DGES). He knew right away that he wanted Dr. Greene as his graduate advisor because of their shared research interests. “I knew I wanted to continue studying beyond undergrad so it just made sense to take the opportunity that had been presented before me,” Wimhurst said. Wimhurst cites Dr. Green as the mentor that has made the biggest impact on his education. “I have heard so many horror stories about students and their advisors having a bad rapport or even disliking each other, so I am very grateful to have an advisor whom I get along with very well and together we have produced such interesting work.”
When asked what impact pursuing a degree through the College of Atmospheric and Geographic Sciences has had on his education, career, and professional accomplishments Wimhurst responded that there has been many surprises that have crossed his path. These include having the opportunity to be a Graduate Teaching Assistant. “I have been a TA for a couple of undergraduate classes offered by DGES which have shown me how much I love watching and assisting in other students’ success. Because of this I recently decided that I want to pursue a teaching career in college environments. This is something that I did not expect I would want to do when I started graduate school.”
Wimhurst has had other exciting opportunities during his academic career. He has been able to attend major annual conferences led by the American Meteorological Society and the American Association of Geographers to present his research. This past fall Wimhurst was thrilled to have his first journal article published in Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews. “These experiences have afforded me so much growth as an academic and as a person, for which I feel very accomplished,” said Wimhurst.
DGES Associate Professor Dr. Laurel Smith praised Wimhurst on his attendance at the 2019 Summer School on Sustainability Climate Risk Management run by the transdisciplinary research network for Sustainable Climate Risk Management (SCRiM) at Penn State University. Conference sessions discussed details of climate modelling processes, consideration of ethics and epistemics when conducting research, and applications of computer programming modules to address practical environmental modelling scenarios. Wimhurst was able to make numerous contacts with other climate scientists as well as people working in industries adjacent to, but integral to, climate science. He intends to apply what he learned at the Summer School to his dissertation with a focus on what he gained from environmental modelling sessions. Just how far Wimhurst will go is anyone’s guess and the Department and College look forward to the journey!