We offer many opportunities within the department for experiential learning. Our students gain valuable experience through a variety internships and hands-on research. The Vermont Institute of Applied Meteorology (VIAM) allows us to hire students for client projects to solve real-world research and weather forecast problems. These opportunities involve close personal attention from a faculty member to help accomplish the intended research outcomes. Our students have co-authored peer-reviewed papers and presented their work at national conferences.
For over 10 years, student meteorologists have produced winter road weather forecasts to the Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans). This partnership is a win-win for our students and VTrans. Students gain valuable real-world weather forecasting experience, working collaboratively to produce daily weather forecasts. The forecasts allow VTrans road crews to have more confidence about the precise time a storm will arrive. This helps them know when to send out crews to lay down salt or plow the roads to help improve driving conditions during a storm's first few hours.
Currently, we are working on two funded research projects. These are just two examples of the research that the department is engaged in. First, Dr. Janel Hanrahan is participating in the Basin Resilience to Extreme Events (BREE) project, which was funded by VT EPSCoR. This is investigating climate change impacts on the Lake Champlain Basin. It is led by UVM faculty and is a collaboration among several institutions including Lyndon State College, the University of Vermont, Johnson State College, and Dartmouth College. Dr. Hanrahan is working with a climate modeling team to dynamically downscale climate model projections over the Lake Champlain Basin. Specifically, the team will investigate the impacts of climate change on extreme weather events in the region. In addition to her own work on the project, two undergraduate students will compete nationally to work on this project. Also, the students will get to present their research at national conferences.
Second, the Vermont Low Income Trust for Electricity (VLITE) is a local project examining weather and climate connections to the electric grid. Dr. Janel Hanrahan is researching trends in solar radiation across New England using a new methodology. Dr. Jason Shafer’s work examines how winter weather produces power outages, to better predict their extent prior to major storms. Over a dozen students have been hired since 2014 as research assistants.
Our students have completed many valuable internships, including:
- Conducting field work that examined the processes governing tornado formation
- Developing a technique to identify heat bursts
- Forecasting ocean weather conditions in remote locations
- Producing graphics for major-market TV weather broadcasts
- Observing weather on Mount Washingon
- Research at the National Severe Storms Laboratory
- Forecasting and research at a financial services firm
- Researching the influence of space weather on our environment
- Forecasting at National Weather Service offices
These experiences were both incredibly positive. Both of these internships allowed me to apply the skills I obtained in my courses at Lyndon State College to real life situations in the news room
I gained real world experience and time management skills
VIAM taught me how to forecast accurately and communicate my forecast effectively to clients
…they gave me real word experience that I can now use on my resume
I gained experience and connections with other professionals in the field