The JSU Atmospheric Science / Meteorology Program consists of several significant components including basic curricula, academic support, research, and outreach. When integrated together these components provide a supportive framework for the preparation of minority atmospheric scientists. Programmatic emphases include a strong commitment to student learning and professional preparation, increasing the number of African American atmospheric scientists, increasing the number of African American graduate students in atmospheric science, and an expansion of research and development with regard to basic and applied research, computer-related training strategies, and outreach and cooperative efforts.
The JSU Atmospheric Science / Meteorology Program curriculum was fashioned after traditional programs at leading United States Universities at the time of its initiation. Basic coursework in meteorology and the usual calculus sequence is supplemented by special topic courses, student involvement in the research process, and a variety of computer, statistics, and numerical analysis courses. Students may elect to take other courses in the natural sciences, business, and social sciences. Graduate course offerings are made through the Environmental Science Ph.D. program.
The current curricula are intended to be interdisciplinary in nature so that students may be prepared for a variety of career options. These include climatology, weather and aviation forecasting, environmental, broadcast, tropical and satellite meteorology, and others. Experience has shown that past graduates who have completed the curriculum have pursued successful careers with employers such as the National Weather Service, The Weather Channel, the Tropical Analysis and Forecast Office, and the United States Army.
Students and Mentoring
The JSU Atmospheric Science / Meteorology Program places a strong emphasis on student learning and professional development. These are accomplished through coursework, frequent student-faculty interaction, and opportunities for students to complete research under the direction of the faculty and other research scientists. Each of these provides for a full mentoring and advising and personal relationship between faculty and students which is crucial to student retention and performance. These are critical issues for many minority science majors whose backgrounds in math and science are poor or inadequate.A significant portion of faculty time is used to meet these obligations which require significant use of departmental and university resources. In addition, the Meteorology Program’s goal to enhance meteorological instruction through computers and other techniques is aided by a variety of collaborative and outreach activities. The Program is strongly committed to providing students opportunities to work with professionals in the field. Students frequently take summer positions at national laboratories (e.g., the National Center for Environmental Prediction’s Techniques Development Laboratory, the Army High Performance Computational Research Center, and the National Center for Atmospheric Research).The facilities available to JSU Atmospheric Science / Meteorology Program students include state-of-the-art computer platforms and standard meteorological equipment. The computer labs within the parent department and school include Sparc-20, SGI, and IBM RISC/6000 workstations and numerous microcomputers. Access to the Mississippi Center for Supercomputing Research and the Minnesota Supercomputing Center provide for high level modeling and visualization of atmospheric processes by undergraduates using Cray J916, T3D, and other computers. Access to other platforms includes campus IBM 4381 computers, 3B2/1000 computers, computational and GIS laboratories, SGI Power challenge, and onyx/Indigo machines. - more on facilities -
Weather instruments, supplies, guidebooks, and observational references are available for student use. Full suites of meteorological data and satellite information are available to students through Internet connections (via the World Wide Web) and the Program’s homepage (http://santa.jsums.edu/). These platforms provide for classroom training, studying, completion of assignments, and preparation of forecasts. In addition, the Program has access to McIdas and other software packages (e.g., GEMPAK and NCAR Graphics) which are available for classroom and research use by faculty and students. Student training is often required through summer intern programs for use of these equipment.
The JSU Atmospheric Science / Meteorology Program’s physical location in Mississippi’s state capital is also beneficial to students. Located in the southern portion of Jackson (population of nearly 200,000), the University is centrally located with regard to the Army Corps of Engineers Waterways Experiment Station in Vicksburg, NASA’s Stennis Space Center in Bay St. Louis, Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, and Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi. The proximity to downtown Jackson also provides students with an opportunity to explore urban and cultural programs on a daily basis. Recreational areas (and good places for weather observations) include the Ross Barnett Reservoir, state and local parks, the Natchez Trace, sporting events and museums, the fairgrounds, and many restaurants.
A variety of research projects are conducted within the JSU Meteorology Atmospheric Science / Program, many of which include educational and training components and/or outreach activities. Many of the research initiatives are made possible through competitive grants which faculty apply for. Most research projects involve the hiring of undergraduate majors to offer them experience in the research process. As part of this experience, students are often given an opportunity to author an abstract, preprint, and make a professional presentation (oral or poster) at a national conference (e.g., the American Meteorological Society or National Weather Association Annual Meetings). These provide students with an opportunity to discuss meteorological concepts with some of the leading meteorologists and atmospheric scientists in the field.
Research grants have included the HPCC Interdisciplinary Research Program in High Performance Computational Modeling and Embedded in an Integrated Development Environment including Stratospheric Dynamic Modeling and Fractal Fingerprints of Atmospheric Data and the Army HPCRC Mesoscale Modeling over the Mississippi Gulf Coast project. Grant support has been received from sponsors such as the Department of Energy, the National Science Foundation, the Army Research Laboratory, the David and Lucille Packard Foundation, the U.S. Department of Education, the U. S. Department of Commerce, and the COMET program of UCAR. These research grants have resulted in a variety of preprint and peer-reviewed publications, often co-authored with undergraduate meteorology majors. They also serve as a means for improved outreach and educational initiatives for the local community.
From Vivian Brown and Tomeica Moore at The Weather Channel; Vaughn Smith, Patricia Brown, and Latrice Maxie with the National Weather Service; Ken South and Paul Williams on Jackson Television and Dave Tillman in Tennessee; and Preston Heard, Andrea Sealy, and Monesa Watts at Graduate School; they’ve all worked very hard to
Faculty and students from the Jackson State University (JSU) Meteorology Program recently attended the 79th Annual Meeting of the American Meteorological Society (AMS) in Dallas, Texas during the period 10-15 January 1999. Faculty members, Dr. Paul J. Croft (Coordinator of the Meteorology Program within the Department of Physics, Atmospheric Sciences, and General Science), Dr. Patrick J. Fitzpatrick (tropical meteorology and hurricanes), and Dr. R. Suseela Reddy (satellite and air-sea interaction) presented papers, attended sessions, served as session chairs, and worked in committee and board meetings. Also attending were JSU Meteorology Program Visiting Assistant Professor Dr. Loren White and Research Associate Yongzuo Li.
The Department graduate faculty participates in the School of Science and Technology’s Ph.D. program in Environmental Science.
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