Performance Report: March 1, 2020 to August 31, 2020

Executive Summary

Howard University is pleased to report on the activities conducted during the performance period March 1, 2020 to August 31, 2020 by the NOAA Cooperative Science Center in Atmospheric Sciences and Meteorology (NCAS-M).

NCAS-M continues to promote expanded participation in education, training, capacity building, and collaborative research with specific focus on groups that are traditionally underrepresented in NOAA mission-relevant STEM fields. While the NCAS-M research and training focus is on weather, meteorological, and climate applications, concerted efforts are made to include students engaged in the study of social, behavioral, and economic sciences disciplines (including communication sciences) for support of NOAA’s mission and to ensure that they are environmentally literate in addition to their disciplinary specialties. The NCAS-M research and training activities support its primary goal of producing a diverse and highly skilled cadre of technical and environmentally literate professionals who will help build a more resilient nation in the face of increasing vulnerability to weather extremes and other environmental threats.

This reporting period was marked by the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the challenges posed by the crisis, continued engagement took place between NCAS-M and NOAA’s Office of Education and NOAA Grants Management Division (GMD) to support continual improvement in the grants administration of the award and fostering greater collaborative partnerships with NOAA and NOAA stakeholders. To this end, in spite of the physical access limitations occasioned by the COVID-19 global pandemic, using available virtual communication platforms and tools, the NCAS-M leadership developed various innovative ways to maintain and enhance collaboration with NWS, NESDIS, OAR, and the other CSCs (CCME, CESSRST, LMRCSC). In that process, NCAS-M successfully highlighted specific projects for which NWS, NESDIS, and OAR personnel were seeking student and faculty collaborators, and proceeded with fruitful engagements. This period also saw the departure of NCAS-M Founding Director and principal investigator, Dr. Vernon Morris, at the end of May 2020 to pursue other important responsibilities of national interest, and Dr. Terri Adams assumed the role of NCAS-M Interim Director and Principle Investigator (PI).

NCAS-M continued recruitment of the fourth cohort of students and the coordination of NERTOs for existing NCAS-M Fellows. The Center successful implemented innovative Professional Development and enrichment programs using virtual tools, with the participation of a large number of professionals from NOAA, NASA and various other agencies and institutions, non-profit organizations and private industry, to the benefit of all NCAS-M fellows and other leveraged students. Additionally, the Center continued to connect cohort and leveraged students to relevant opportunities across NOAA. Examples of the student engagements and achievements during the reporting period included:

  1. NOAA personnel serving as co-advisors of graduate students. Examples include Dr. Adam Clark (NSSL) for Arianna Jordan (Cohort-3, HU), and Libby Jewett (OAR) for Carla Mejias (Cohort-1, UPRM).
  2. NOAA personnel served as NERTO mentors for graduate students. Examples include Sean Griffin (NOS) for Maria Cardona (Cohort-2, UPRM); Jennifer Sprague- Hilderbrand (NWS), Vankita Brown (NWS), Gina Eosco (OAR), and Christopher Lauer (OCFO) for Anas Askar (Cohort 3, HU); LaToya Myles (ATDD) for Anaiya Reliford; Winston Luke (ESRL) for Maurice Roots (Cohort 3, UMBC) and Malachi Berry (Cohort 4, HU); Daniel Melendez (NWS) for Briah Davis (Cohort 4, HU); Dimitrios Vassiliadis (NESDIS) for Alia Wofford (Cohort 4, HU); and Alexander Tardy (NWS WFO) for Briana Ramirez (Cohort 3, SDSU).
  3. Collaborative engagement of NCAS-M faculty and NOAA personnel included: Jeff McQueen (NCEP), Ariel Stein and Mark Cohen (OAR) with David Whiteman, Ricardo Sakai, Charles Ichoku (HU), Belay Demoz (UMBC), Jose Fuentes (PSU), William Stockwell and Rosa Fitzgerald (UTEP) on planning and implementing the summer PBL workshop virtually, with the participation of 16 cohort and leveraged NCAS-M students. Vernon Morris and Ricardo Sakai (HU) and Belay Demoz (UMBC) continued engagements with Howard Diamond (OAR), Tony Reale (NESDIS), Mitch Goldberg (NESDIS) on the GRUAN efforts and to improve satellite products such as NOAA Products Validation System (NPROVS), and Daniel Melendez (NWS) continued engaging with Sen Chiao (SJSU) on mentoring students.
  4. JSU undergraduate meteorology students received training from the NWS Weather Forecast Office (WFO) in Jackson, MS.
  5. NOAA personnel contributed to undergraduate courses and training at JSU (e.g. Latrice Maxie and Anna Wolverton of the Jackson WFO).

NCAS-M also engaged NOAA leadership and personnel in regular conference calls and virtual meetings, and a briefing was provided to the new technical monitor, Russ Schneider (NWS).

The following semi-annual performance report details the activities and accomplishments for the current reporting period.

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