College of Atmospheric & Geographic Sciences
Spring 2019 eValuate Course Evaluations
The Spring 2019 eValuate course evaluation windows are NOW OPEN and will remain so until 11:59 PM on Sunday, May 5th. Go here to log in and evaluate your spring courses. This is your opportunity to have your voice heard concerning your classes.
All evaluations are completely anonymous and are not available for instructor review until after spring grades are posted. Please eValuate today!
FINAL CALL! Shellberg Applications close this Friday
David James Shellberg earned a BS in Meteorology from Purdue before coming to the University of Oklahoma for graduate school. He earned an MS in Meteorology from OU in 1994. After completion of his degree, he joined the Oklahoma Climatological Survey (OCS) and was and an integral part in making the Oklahoma Mesonet a reality. David died in an airplane crash in Indiana on October 31, 1994. He was only 25 years old.
David’s parents established an annual scholarship in his name; it is awarded to a student exhibiting exemplary vision focused on the utility of surface observations in the realm of meteorology or climatology. To be considered for the 2019 award, students must submit a conference preprint, extended abstract, abstract of any paper or poster, or research paper that was submitted to a relevant meeting, workshop, conference, collegiate class or symposium during the 2018-2019 academic year. The student must be the first author on any submission which also should include a summary of the project, analysis, and results of the relevant work.
The competition is open to both undergraduate and graduate students. A single scholarship will be awarded based upon the recommendations of a review panel. All submissions must be received via email to Brad Illston (email@example.com) no later than this Friday, May 3, 2019 at 5:00 PM. The scholarship recipient will receive a $500 award, which will be recognized at the annual College awards ceremony the following April (2020). The recipient’s name will be engraved on a plaque in OCS main office. For more information, please see the attached application or contact Brad Illston, firstname.lastname@example.org, 405-325-5445.
Student Spotlight - Heather Stelter
Back in high school Heather Stelter thought that recycling was a hoax and that green initiatives were a waste of time. Today she has done a complete 180 and is working to implement sustainable practices in the fashion industry. She began as an undergraduate at the University of Northern Colorado studying American military history and African textile history. She cites her studies in African textile history as what drove her to go into textile preservation. While in college, Stelter visited many museums around the world but said the National Museum-Decorative Arts and History of Ireland was her favorite museum because of the unique textile history in Dublin. Their culture emphasizes sustainability for clothing and it’s ingrained in their way of life. Due to the poverty that plagued Ireland “part of the reason they were able to care for clothing is because it was so expensive, and it was very inaccessible to a lot of people” says Stelter. People had to learn how to repair clothing, and take really good care of what they had because they didn't have much. One aspect of Stelter’s research is figuring out how to get consumers to care about their clothing again in a world full of affordable fast fashion. The ease and accessibility is what consumer love, but fast fashion creates billions of pounds of textile waste per year, which usually ends up sitting in landfills or being burned and creating pollution.
After college Stelter began working at the Greeley History Museum in Colorado where she helped preserve a textile collection that had been left in storage for two decades. Textiles are extraordinarily expensive and difficult to maintain, mostly because sewing, darning and repair are skills most people don't have anymore. Finding someone who has that specialization is really tricky but Stelter already had many of the skills needed. The Greeley collection included about 1,000 textiles and were anywhere from 20 to 130 years old. Prior to her arrival, the collection had been moved from building to building, stored in lockers, and musty old moldy buildings. “The fact that this clothing was still intact is a testament to how well it was made in the first place and how well it had been cared for throughout its lifetime” said Stelter. She said that “working with those piece and helping to put on exhibits...really got me interested in how we extend lifetimes of current clothing.” The Greeley Museum also has a centennial village attached in an attempt to make living history possible, part of which includes replicas of clothing. “We did this whole display before I left on 100 years of dress in Greeley in the Union Colony, and people from all over Greeley...would come in. People had stories about remembering seeing their grandmother in that or having seen an aunt or a friend wear something. It was a really cool connection, and to see people have those fond memories of clothing really sparked a lot of my study for sustainability.”
After leaving the Greeley Museum, Stelter worked full time for a women's athletic wear company called Athleta. Athleta was one of the first B Corporations in the United States, which means the company puts as much money into the environment as they do creating and advertising their products. This includes supporting fair labor practices, being credible and transparent about their sourcing, and making materials that are either from recycled objects or are recyclable. “It's a really rigorous process, there's a lot of vetting to it, so to have earned that tag, to be a B corp is a huge deal and it really means you are buying from one of the most sustainable companies you can” said Stelter. She mainly focused on community outreach programs at her branch, working to bring fitness and healthy diets to girls and women. Though she enjoyed her work, Stelter felt like pushing sales goals was counterproductive to her belief that consumers should purchase less and waste less clothing.
She settled on OU for her masters degree because of the notable sustainability program. Many professors have long sustainability careers and were pioneers in the Oklahoma Wind Initiative, which has pushed Oklahoma to be the 3rd highest wind producing state in the US. Though there is no specialization in fashion sustainability, Stelter doesn't see it as an issue. “There may not be anybody here who focuses on fashion but there are people here who focus on agriculture. Well agriculture directly laces over a lot of my research because I have to look at cotton production, I mean we even look at flax, hemp, and pineapple production...there's a huge cross over. Same thing with people who focus on employment initiatives and fair labor practice, which directly overlays with the fashion industry.” Sustainability is the nexus that has many different aspects. There's so much overlap of subject matter in sustainability that it doesn't really matter what you study.
Since Stelter’s main goal is to involve consumers in sustainable practices, her thesis is developing an app for your phone that will let you scan and enter the information from the “Made In” tag on any piece of clothing you're buying first hand or from a second hand store. The app will give 2 scores, says Stelter, “the first score is a sustainability score so it’ll tell you how environmentally friendly the garment is overall, from where it was produced to what fibers were used in it. The second score is a lifetime expectancy, so lifetime expectancy would help you understand about how many washes the item would last you, whether its durable or not.”
This idea is based on the tagging that Patagonia and Athleta currently have where they discuss the perks of their clothing. It’ll tell you if the garment is water resistant, naturally grown, and even pesticide free. Stelter is also proposing in her thesis that companies add a wash expectancy to their tags. Whenever you would pick up a piece of clothing in a store, on the bottom of the price tag it would say about how many washes you would expect it to last and whether or not that's worth your investment.
Unfortunately, sustainability in fashion is still in its infancy. “10 years ago this wasn't a conversation you could have with anybody” said Stelter. “A year ago we were still talking about how many bags Burberry (a high end clothing retailer) was burning and that it was ok that they were burning them because it was preserving their integrity as a brand. Just 2 months ago Burberry announced that they are no longer burning bags, so this is all very new.” In February 2019 Stelter attended a United Nations sustainability fashion summit, which kicked off Men’s Fashion Week in New York. “It's really cool to go and kick off fashion week with a bunch of designers and students within the industry” said Stelter. The summit was hosted by the ethical clothing company Slow Factory, who has completely stopped production of any clothing until they can find a way to produce items that are totally circular, meaning they won’t end up in the waste cycle. The summit had panelists who were designers, textile developers, and fashion industry professionals, but it also included biologists, NASA Astronauts, MIT Lab researchers, and environmentalists in the discussion. They reminded the industry of the role of global stakeholders and reemphasized that sustainability cannot touch one industry without touching the other. “You can't just talk about reforming how clothing is made or wasted without talking about how people are treated, without talking how people are educated, or how we forward science” said Stelter.
Stelter plans to complete a PhD that focuses on furthering her app and in the future she wants to work as a professor teaching general sustainability. “I really think it should be something that's taught the same as an English class. Everyone has to learn it at some point and I think unless we start teaching it that way, we’re never going to see people fully get into the circular cycle.” She hopes to develop both professional and student programs that allow people to learn sustainability and increase their knowledge or ability as the field grows. This summer she will be interning at the company Natural Fiber Welding that produces products such as natural plant based leather, free of synthetic glues or binding. They are currently working on developing a fully cotton yarn, welded together from other recycled cotton fabrics. With this yarn, they can create a cotton sewing thread, unlike the usual polyester or silk, which can create fully recyclable garments. Stelter will be their sustainability intern, creating samples, testing products, helping with Life Cycle Analysis, and assisting with their cradle-to-cradle program.
Donor Spotlight: Bill Schriever
Bill Schriever August 19, 1926 – March 1, 2019
This past March the College lost a dedicated and passionate donor, Dr. William “Bill” Schriever. Anyone who knew Bill knew he wanted to solve problems and make the world a better place, starting with his community, and carrying on to his county, state, and planet.
Bill had a lifelong interest in politics, and he believed in studying issues in depth. That habit came from his academic background. Bill's father was a professor of physics and head of the Physics Department at the University of Oklahoma from the 1920s into the 1950s. Bill received his undergraduate degree from the University of Oklahoma in 1946, then went to the University of Illinois and then to Harvard in pursuit of a PhD.
If Bill got into a discussion with someone over something, he would often give them a copy of a favorite book on that subject. He assumed that if someone was interested in a subject then surely they would want to read a good book about it. Dean Berrien Moore at the University of Oklahoma was always interested and he read the books Bill sent him because they were always on point. Besides a generous gift that will establish the William Schriever Endowed Professorship in A&GS and the Schriever Graduate Stipend, he also wanted OU to have numerous books, manuscripts, and memorabilia from not only his personal studies, but also those of his fathers. There were over 60 plus years of material covering climate, physics, and meteorology, plus many other topics in his wonderful donation.
Bills passion for learning and generous spirit will truly be missed. He made the world a better place, and for that we are grateful.
Celebrate Earth Day with DGES! We are launching an annual awareness and fundraising
day and we want you to be part of the festivities.
Help support the Department of Geography and Environmental Sustainability through the greatest needs fund or be part of our campaign to honor Richard Nostrand. Thanks to an anonymous donor, we are excited to announce a matching challenge. For every dollar you donate to the greatest needs, they will match it, up to $2,000. That is double the impact!
Follow these links to donate now!
DGES Greatest Need
Richard L. Nostrand Scholarship
Faculty Spotlight - Dr. Cameron Homeyer
Dr. Cameron Homeyer drinks his tea from a Mike Wazowski mug (a popular character from the film Monsters, Inc.) underscoring his sense of humor and personable nature. After finishing his Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, Cameron began searching for faculty positions. The University of Oklahoma (OU) caught his eye immediately. “OU was really high on my list... it made the most sense for me and my family because the reputation of this program, what it does, the quality that it strives for in both the education and research, and the support that the program has from the university at all levels in terms of enabling our success in meteorology. It is just unmatched in other places.”
In July of 2014, Cameron began his career at OU and as an Assistant Professor and the Associate Director of Graduate Programs in the School of Meteorology (SoM). He stressed the importance of funding when it comes to research projects. He launched his Convection, Chemistry, and Climate (CCC) Research Group using a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). CCC studies radar meteorology, the Upper Troposphere and Lower Stratosphere.
Dr. Homeyer recently received a new grant from NASA for his “Earth Ventures Suborbital 3” proposal. This project aims to increase the understanding of the summer stratosphere and the linkages between convection, large-scale dynamics, and atmospheric composition. This grant brings $843,000 to OU and his research group, allowing for advances in computational abilities and real-time radar products. Additionally, the grant will fund two students to assist with research and field work.
With the new capabilities of aircraft, satellite, and radar observations, Dr. Homeyer and his researchers have more information than ever before to analyze. While the goal of his research isn’t directly to improve early warning times, it could prove to be an outcome in the future. “…it’s possible that a forecaster could use that information to inform their decision-making, and potentially push the warning issuance up further in time and allow it to be valid for a longer time period; because they can have more confidence in making that decision at an earlier time.”
One of the most significant outcomes of this research thus far has been in severe hail events. Dr. Homeyer’s group focused on unique satellite features called “Above-anvil Cirrus Plumes,” which occur when strong thunderstorms inject ice into the stratosphere. “We found that if we only used that cloud-top signature from satellite to update existing weather service warnings to say that we expect to have two inch or greater diameter hail, we capture 99% of all events…”
Dr. Homeyer is a husband and father of three, with another on the way very soon, and he enjoys getting his kids excited about science in the same way that he does. “… if you introduce them to things they can see, or hear, or feel, then they’re more prone to be curious about that over time.” Every year he grows a garden and teaches his kids about the complexity of nature through flowers and leaves, and each time something happens with the weather, he takes them outside and explains what is going on. “The only reason I study the atmosphere is because I really want to understand how those things work... I want to figure out why, and how, and what. You have to be driven by that curiosity.”
Alumni Spotlight - Stacia Canaday
Can one class change your life? That’s exactly what happened for DGES alumna Stacia Canaday.
Starting out as a geology major, Canaday stepped out of her comfort zone and took a leap of faith. A leap of faith that paid off and led to a nearly 20-yearlong romance with GIS.
Enlivened by the resources offered at the University of Oklahoma, Canaday loved the smaller college feel within the Department of Geography and Environmental Sustainability. She felt connected to her roots. The balance brought by such resources opened the door to new relationships and opportunities, like national conferences and working in the Dean’s Office. These experiences opened Canaday’s eyes to what universities and their alumni can offer students.
The summer before her senior year, she began working in an undergraduate research program utilizing GIS and Mesonet data through the National Science Foundation. Her plans to become an analyst or technician post-graduation were now in question. One of her professors encouraged Canaday to look into the business side of GIS. In 2001 she graduated to begin a career at a survey and consulting company. She learned about business and developing relationships, but more importantly, she became connected to ESRI, Canaday’s current employer.
ESRI is the developer of ArcGIS, one of the world’s most powerful mapping and spatial analysis softwares. The mission of ESRI is to solve problems.
“The axiom that everything is somewhere holds true,” Canaday said about her work. “Whether you run a business, manage a city, or make a difference in the world, why not use maps and location to communicate and make better decisions.”
Canaday’s journey with ESRI began as an instructor. She turned her opportunities into growth to become a sales manager on the Utilities Team. She leads and inspires a team of seven account managers who complete projects for companies ranging from electricity to telecommunications.
Canaday loves how much her current job may change from day to day. She enjoys learning new things and she rarely goes a day without learning something new.
“One day I’ll be working with an electric utility - experimenting with infrared sensors on drones to detect busted solar panels based on their IR signatures - and then next I’ll be talking to a group of people at a cable company working to figure out the best areas to offer low-cost or free internet service to underserved populations,” she said.
Learning new things day-to-day means dealing with all sorts of new and upcoming technologies. Canaday has seen her fair share of technological improvements over the past 18 years in the GIS industry.
“I am fascinated by the democratization of GIS and how accessible GIS has become,” Canaday said. “Sure, we still need GIS professionals, but the way technology has enabled more people in an organization or community to use GIS has actually freed up the GIS pros to be more creative and tackle even bigger challenges.”
Canaday wants students and alumni to know the many great opportunities ESRI has to offer. ESRI is a great place to create a career and grow. She encourages those in GIS to pursue their passion while staying up-to-date on the latest trends and technology at ESRI.
“Whether you are just starting out or in the middle of your career, ESRI is at the forefront of GIS science and we need more people from OU driving the industry forward,” Canaday said. “Don’t be intimidated… If I can do it, anyone can!”
A&GS Friends Society
To support the amazing activities happening within the College of Atmospheric and Geographic Sciences, the College and its Board of Visitors is proud to establish the Atmospheric and Geographic Sciences Friends Society. Funds raised from memberships will be used to support the educational learning experience for the college’s students, faculty, and staff.
Benefits of membership include an annual membership party, AGU and AMS reception tickets, as well as special access to College events. We encourage you to make a financial contribution to support these worthy efforts and to get involved with our friends!
$100 Annual Member (annual membership fee)
$500 Supporting Member (annual membership fee)
$1,000 per year Sustaining Member (5 year commitment)
$2,000 per year Founding Member (5 year commitment)
Click here to join!
Thank you to the following Founding Members who helped start this great group:
Edwin Adlerman, Fred Carr, James Davis, Claude Duchon, Mike Eilts, Joe Friday, Jeff Kimpel, Mohan Ramamurthy, Vicki & Lynn Rose, John Snow, and Chuck Thompson
Faculty Highlight: Dr. Laurel Smith
In June of 2017 Dr. Laurel Smith and her family relocated to Puebla, Mexico, where she co-led a three-week summer program, “Indigenous Music and Media,” with a colleague from OU’s School of Music, Dr. Jennifer Slater. Students also traveled to the Sierra Norte mountain community of Cuetzalan, where they visited the Indigenous cooperative Tosepan, which pursues organic and fair trade coffee production, operates a community radio station, and fights for environmental justice.
After the three-week “Indigenous Music and Media” program, Smith returned to the city of Puebla in early August, when she assumed the position of faculty in residence at OU’s Puebla Study Center for the 2017-2018 academic year. During this time, she taught OU students in three classes: “Regional Geographies of Indigenous Media,” “Indigenous Peoples and Resources,” and two rounds of “Environment and Society.” The OU in Puebla program is embedded in the campus UPAEP, a Mexican university where OU students took the rest of their courses. Students either lived with Mexican families or stayed in OU apartments with their peers.
In addition to teaching OU students, Smith had the opportunity to reanimate her research related to Indigenous media made in Oaxaca. She and a grad student interviewed a group of women who made a video in 2003 called Eso viene sucediendo/This has been happening about the violation of Indigenous women’s reproductive rights by medical professionals. Doctors “bullied women into having IUDs inserted without consultation, education or even consent” said Smith. Because the women’s testimonies were recorded on VHS tape more than 15 years earlier, Smith reached out to Witness (an NGO based in NYC) that had supported the video’s production. “I asked them would they please, please, please make that video available online,”. Fortunately they did, and the creators were excited to once again utilize the video because reproductive rights violations in the region continue to this day despite efforts to draw attention to the problem.
In June of 2018, Smith co-led the “Journey to Latin America” education abroad program with OU political science professor, Dr. Charles Kenney. This program consisted of Smith’s class “Indigenous Peoples of Contemporary Peru” and Kenney’s class, “The History and Politics of Peru.” The students stayed with families in various places including “swanky” areas as well as marginalized area that was a shanty town 20-30 years ago.
Smith is honored to return to the position of graduate liaison in the department of geography and environmental sustainability. Smith is now looking to create a service learning course in Puebla that would allow OU students with website creation and entrepreneurial skills to help women promote their enterprise, and in the process, further empower themselves, their families and their community.
Alumni Spotlight: Dr. Kelvin Droegemeier BS Meteorology 1980
Dr. Kelvin Droegemeier was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on January 2 to serve as President Donald Trump’s science advisor. The meteorologist and former University of Oklahoma vice president for research was nominated by the President to head the White House's Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). This position helps create policy for science, but also provides science to help create policy.
Droegemeier said of his role, “"Science for policy is where the job of this office is to make sure we bring the best possible science to the table when there is any kind of policy decision to be made," he said. "Whether the policy deals with a potential disease outbreak, water contamination, the creation of new industries, removing regulatory barriers — science usually has something to say about that. We make sure we bring the best science forward so that the president and members of the executive branch have what they need to make decisions."
This is not his first political appointment: He was appointed to the National Science Board, which governs the National Science Foundation, by George W. Bush and Barack Obama, and served in former Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin’s cabinet as the secretary of science and technology. He said he enjoys communicating scientific principles to non-scientists.
Droegemeier had the support of Oklahoma's senators throughout the confirmation process. Sen. James Lankford, an Oklahoma City Republican, said on twitter, "Dr. Droegemeier is a highly qualified scientist and researcher, and I am confident he will serve our nation well."
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, a Tulsa Republican, also congratulated Droegemeier on Twitter, calling him a good friend. Sen. Jim Inhofe, another Tulsa Republican, said the OU professor is the right person for the job.
"The president requires the most well-qualified advisers and Dr. Droegemeier provides the experience and ability necessary to get the job done right," Inhofe said in a statement.
An expert on extreme weather, Droegemeier earned a B.S. with Special Distinction in Meteorology in 1980 from the University of Oklahoma, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in atmospheric science in 1982 and 1985, respectively, from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He joined the University of Oklahoma faculty in September, 1985 and in 1987 was named a Presidential Young Investigator by the National Science Foundation. He served as a faculty member until taking a leave of absence to serve in the White House. He will be the first meteorologist to serve as a president's science adviser; all others have been physicists.
NWC Research Exploration
Dr. Berrien Moore III, dean of the College of Atmospheric & Geographic Sciences and director of the National Weather Center, discusses how the NWC impacts research and student engagement at The University of Oklahoma.