Toms, a junior from Aurora, Colorado, maintains a 4.0 grade-point average and is pursuing degrees in civil engineering and meteorology. He has extensive research experience, including a project detecting black ice on Oklahoma roads with Jeffrey Basara, OU associate professor of meteorology and director of research for the Oklahoma Climatological Survey, and Yang Hong, professor of civil engineering and environmental sciences; test cases for fire flow with Randall J. McDermott, National Institute of Standards and Technology; the effects of a flood at the Colorado Front Range with Basara; an ongoing project at the National Severe Storms Laboratory, where he works with its director, Steven Koch, and David Turner of its Forecast Research and Development Division; and a mobile X-radar system for mountainous areas in Colorado with Pierre Kirstetter, research scientist with the National Weather Center Advanced Radar Research Center. His summer plans include two projects, one with Turner researching the environment of convective precipitation during the nighttime, and another with Kirstetter to place a mobile X-band radar within the Rio Grande National Forest in southern Colorado. His future plans include obtaining a Ph.D. in hydrometeorology and conducting research on terrestrial hydrometeorology while teaching at the university level.
Among his awards and honors are the OU School of Meteorology Non-Resident Award of Academic Excellence, Best Undergraduate Oral Presentation Award at the National Weather Association 39th Annual Meeting, OU College of Atmospheric and Geographic Sciences Excellence in Academia Award, Wylie Barbour Hamilton Excellence in Engineering Award, OU School of Meteorology Junior Academic Achievement Award, National Institute of Standards and Technology Summer Fellowship and NASA Student Airborne Research Program Summer Fellowship.
The national scholarship competition is conducted by the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program. This year, 1,206 college sophomores and juniors across the country competed for the 260 scholarships. The one- and two-year scholarships will cover the cost of tuition, fees, books, and room and board up to a maximum of $7,500 per year.