Rob, me, Rob, and Dean. Campo, Colorado, May 31, 2010. Taken by Willoughby Owen. Used with permission.
Growing up near the Washington Cascades, I became interested in science at a young age. I saw my first tornado in Ellensburg, Washington, on July 3, 1998. The tornado was weak, but I was terrified, and decided to learn what I could about severe weather so that I wouldn't have to be afraid if I ever saw more. I didn't make the decision to go into meteorology as a career, however, until a junior in college.
I majored in geography at Central Washington University. In the summer of 2005, I flew to Oklahoma to work on an undergraduate meteorology research project for several weeks. I did a little bit of chasing with some experienced chasers, and quickly became hooked. In the summer of 2006, I went back to start my MS in meteorology at the University of Oklahoma. After a couple more chases in 2006, and trying to learn as much as I could about storm chasing, I began to take my own car out chasing in 2007.
It has certainly been a big adventure over the past several years. I graduated from OU with my MS and began my PhD there, researching storm electrification and lightning. In addition to storm chasing as much as I could on my own time and money, I was able to chase with a team of scientists at the National Severe Storms Laboratory in an effort to better understand lightning formation. We launched instruments into the storms, sometimes waiting until the lightning was right above us. I was also given the opportunity to teach a severe weather class at OU for a year, which was a lot of fun and a great experience.
Me, diving the Prinz Eugen battleship. Kwajalein Atoll, Marshall Islands, June 18, 2012.
Taken by Spencer Moorman. Used with permission.
In the spring of 2011, I accepted a job offer to work for a couple years as a meteorologist on Kwajalein in the Marshall Islands. The private weather company I work for is based in Norman, Oklahoma, but has a contract to do the weather work here on a missile testing site for the US Army.
Kwajalein has been an amazing opportunity for me, and I've had the chance to explore many new things on this beautiful tropical island, such as scuba diving and underwater photography. Storm chasing remains a great passion of mine, though, and now that it's in my blood I expect I will be drawn back to the Plains again before too long.
Here's a December 2010 article about my storm chasing from the Yakima Herald Republic, a newspaper from central Washington.