Emily Wisinski, an honors student in the Department of Atmospheric and Earth Sciences at the University of Alabama at Huntsville, part of the University of Alabama system, has been named the 2022 Goldwater Fellow.
The Barry Goldwater Scholarship was established in 1986 by Congress in partnership with the National Defense Education Programs (NDEP) of the Department of Defense to honor Senator Barry Goldwater, who served 30 years in the United States Senate. The undergraduate scholarship is awarded annually to candidates in the natural sciences, engineering and mathematics to approximately 300 sophomores and juniors nationwide with the aim of providing the country with a continuous source of scientists, mathematicians and engineers highly qualified.
“I was so shocked!” the student says upon learning that she had been shortlisted for the award. “The scholarship is very selective, so I felt extremely proud when I found out I had been chosen. The first thing I did was email all my mentors to let them know. share the good news because I wanted to share this moment with everyone who helped me through the application process!This scholarship will help my graduate school applications to stand out and enable me to pursue other scholarships and fellowships I would like to pursue a career in research, so this scholarship will help propel my career forward.
The Goldwater Scholarship is awarded based on merit and provides up to a maximum of $7,500 per academic year. Colleges and universities are only allowed to nominate four undergraduate students per year, making it a top award in the United States. Wisinski credits a number of UAH faculty for mentoring him throughout his career.
“There were so many people who helped me get to where I am today,” she says. “Ryan Wade and Megan Sirbaugh were fantastic mentors and teachers during my first three years of college and always went out of their way to help me. I learned so many valuable lessons from them at the times in and out of the classroom that I will carry with me forever.
Wisinski has been working on a project with the Earth Sciences Branch of the Marshall Space Flight Center Disasters Program since March 2020.
“Jordan Bell, who is my mentor on the project with the disaster team, was one of the most influential mentors I’ve had,” she says. “We have worked together for almost three years and he has pushed me to become a better person and a better scientist every day. I am very grateful for the opportunities he has given me on the projects we have worked on and for the support he has given me through all the ups and downs I have faced throughout my college career.
The honors student recently created a comprehensive ‘swath event’ database of hail damage covering the Great Plains and the Midwest that uses remote sensing and geographic information systems. “With the completion of this database, there are multiple avenues for future work, such as developing a machine learning technique to detect windrows through an automated process, impact analysis agriculture, improved seasonal and sub-seasonal forecasts, etc.,” says Wisinski. “Currently, my mentor Jordan Bell and I are working on writing a manuscript for this work, which is super exciting! The Disaster Team has provided me with invaluable research experience during my undergraduate career and continually pushes me to become a better scientist.
UAH’s newest Goldwater Scholar says the application process was daunting on its own and also wants to thank the Honors College for their support.
“Goldwater’s application process was very demanding as it required a lot of information and took a long time to complete the process. I would not have been successful with this scholarship if it were not for Jennifer Staton (UAH Honors College Scholarship and Graduate Advisor), who has acted as a fantastic leader and mentor to me during the application cycles. I am so grateful to have so many great mentors at UAH who continue to support me and push me to grow.
Last fall, Wisinski received the Hollings Fellowship from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and was thus able to complete an internship at the Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (PMEL) in Seattle, WA.
“I worked with the Ocean Climate Stations team on a project that focuses on comparing data from Saildrones, TAO (Tropical Atmosphere Ocean) mooring and NOAA/NCEP Modified Coupled Forecast System v2 model outputs, with a focus on surface currents,” she said. said. “These findings may guide future field campaigns from the tropical Pacific to the eastern end of the tropical Pacific warm pool. Compared to my other project at UAH/MSFC, this has a completely different focus. I wanted to explore the topics oceanography and climate modeling during this internship to see if these topics could be areas of research I would like to pursue during my graduate degree!I really enjoy the project and the team I am working with work, and I feel like I learned a lot in such a short time.
Wisinski reports that his experience at UAH “has been extremely rewarding over the past three years. I had incredible opportunities and met some extremely impactful mentors and friends who helped me grow into the person, student, and scientist that I am today. UAH offers a multitude of opportunities for undergraduate students, which is extremely unique for a research institution. I learned that they want to engage students in every way possible, which is fantastic for gaining research experience early on! I am so grateful for everything! Also, I want to add that my family has supported me through all of the internship, scholarship, bursary, etc. applications and have truly been my biggest supporters and cheerleaders through it all! I am so lucky to feel their constant support.
As for her future plans, the Honors College student has mapped out the short term, but wants to leave her options open regarding what areas she might explore in the years to come.
“After completing my bachelor’s degree, I would like to pursue my doctorate in earth science, particularly atmospheric science or oceanography,” says Wisinski. not quite sure what I would like to pursue specifically just yet! I am so grateful to be able to have opportunities that allow me to explore several different topics and areas of research in the field of Earth Sciences. »