I have integrated undergraduate students into my research endeavors at Bridgewater State College (BSC) over the past seven years (tenured 2005):
I enjoy integrating new technology into meteorological studies, particularly microclimate computer modeling and monitoring systems in complex landscapes: regions with alpine terrain, forest cover and suburban sprawl.
My continuing service as member of the Executive Committee for the Eastern Snow Conference (ESC) is as co-editor for the annual Proceedings publication. My duties include advertising for paper submission, paper formatting, and managing the peer-review and co-managing the editing and publication of the Proceedings, ranging from 20 to 40 papers per issue. I am starting my fourth year as co-editor and will have more challenging responsibilities. Participation in the ESC facilitates and promotes collaboration with other principal investigators in the highly specialized field of snow-related research.
I continue to encourage student participation in active inquiry through supervising Student Laboratory Technicians. Student Laboratory Technicians learn to set up labs, record weather observations, organizing maps and rock collections, and design experiments for the BSC Wind Tunnel.
Major initiatives include the BSC automatic weather station, wind tunnel and the southeastern Massachusetts Evapotranspiration Network (ETnet):
During the spring and summer of 2001 I coordinated the acquisition and construction of a state-of-the-art automatic weather station for the college. Graphical and tabulated raw data from the weather tower, available from www.bridgew.edu/weather/ or the temperature link on the BSC front page, are available to the public and updated hourly. I regularly use these data to support activities in my meteorology and climatology courses.
During the 2002-2003 year I initiated a multi-disciplinary wind tunnel project that is currently supplementing coursework and research in the Physics, Aviation and Earth Sciences and Geography departments at BSC. The Professional Development Fund #2 of myself and Dr. Jeff Williams, Physics, provided the materials necessary to build the wind tunnel. Dr. Martina Arndt, who teachers Phyisics for Aviation students, has incorporated the wind tunnel lab into her class. Dr. Williams and myself have co-taught a summer content institute focusing on renewable energy over the past two years, and I guided participants to design and test wind turbine using the wind tunnel. During the Fall of 2004, I will interfaced LabView control and real-time data analysis software/hardware with the wind tunnel. I included students in the fabrication and testing of the wind tunnel. I am currently employing a student to assist in data collection and instrumentation development for my Faculty Research Grant work Fall 2004 and Spring 2005.
During the 2006-2007 year I directed a group of four undergraduate students in the ETnet project under support by the Presidential Fellowship award at BSC. ETnet currently consists of seven automatic weather stations at severn natural and urban/suburban locations in SE Mass. The primary goal is to assess the impacts of anthropogenic landscape change on local climate and evaporation and transpiration in SE Mass. More information and new results of the project are available at http://bscetnet.googlepages.com .
My latest initiative: My primary goal is to develop a wireless micrometeorological network for measuring redistribution of snow by drifting processes. The network will utilize the HOBO portable automatic weather station, currently located behind the Conant Science Building (BSC campus), to measure standard variables, such as wind speed, wind direction, solar radiation, air temperature, humidity and snow temperature. The novel portion of this project is the development of a network of five snow surface height and drifting probes that incorporates state-of-the-art micro-loggers, various micro-sensors, and wireless radio transmitters for spatial measurements of snow distribution under different meteorological conditions. The five network “nodes” will potentially cover an area as large as 1 km in diameter. Justification for this type of measurement system is the critical need for verification of existing numerical models that measure snow drifting and mass balance. Some applications of such a network include basic research of snow mass balance of glaciers, seasonal snow cover on agricultural fields, and snow management on roadways and at airports. The BSC Wind Tunnel Lab and BSC Weather Station will provide valuable test beds and data sources for the instruments designed under this project. I intend to use the understanding and results from this project to strengthen proposals to external grant sources.
All my research endeavors above include support for undergraduate students as assistants or through directed studies. With a four-course load every semester, I have found, given the time constraints, that it helps to include undergraduate students in my research. In addition, several students have used the experience to help prepare them for graduate school or jobs.