Atmospheric Science Projects 

Report of PM2.5 levels for Fairbanks, Alaska

Performed a statistical analysis on PM2.5 data from reporting stations within the downtown area of Fairbanks, Alaska. Reported on statistically significant increases in PM2.5 values for days of interest for the project. (2015)

Impact of a volcano eruption on regional weather

Modified the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model source code to include theoretical values of the heat, water vapor, and CCN release as well as ash fall from the 2006 Augustine Volcano eruption. Performed a model evaluation as well as a 4x4 ANOVA on the model outputs to determine significant changes in weather variables as a result of the eruption. Publication is available here. (2007-2008)

Report of PM2.5 levels in Eastern Iowa

Performed a statistical analysis on PM2.5 data from reporting stations across eastern Iowa, focusing on the meteorological conditions that existed during non-compliance episodes. Contributed to the report that documented the findings to the state of Iowa. The report can be found here. (2008-2009)

Impact of ENSO events on Midwest temperature anomalies

Performed a statistical analysis on temperature anomalies for the Midwest region of the US during ENSO events over the past 100 years, determining statistically significant correlations between ENSO cycles, PDO cycles, and winter temperature anomalies for the region. (2001-2003) 


Education Research Projects

Using Social Media to improve student discourse in online learning environments

Many learning theories stress the importance of peer dialogue to support learning. There are many studies that support strategies to improve dialogue for in-person learning environments, but there is very little that supports dialogue development in an online environment. Using social media is one way to encourage participation and improve dialogue when teaching an online course.

Teaching about WRF in an online environment

Collecting and analyzing quantitative and qualitative data from online courses designed to teach scientists and decision makers how to run WRF. Publications are currently ongoing, but the courses and information about the project are available at 

LEAD: An online approach to capacity building

Developed a theoretical approach to justify the use of long-term, online courses to teach scientists in developing countries about regional climate modeling. This approach replaces the current approach, which involves week-long in-person courses, which are not as effective. Publication is available here.

Teachers use of models while teaching about climate, weather, and energy topics

Developed an approach to model-based inquiry and taught the approach to middle school teachers during a week-long professional development about climate, weather, and energy. Data was gathered from 5 teachers as they taught their climate/weather units. Data from 3 teachers was qualitatively analyzed to determine how the teachers' use of models aligned with model-based inquiry. Dissertation available here, or upon request. (2011-2013)

Interdisciplinary approaches to teaching science in the K-12 classroom

Documented existing NSTA resources for teachers designed to help them utilize other school subjects while teaching science content in the K-12 classroom. A statistical analysis was performed to determine significant characteristics of the resources provided over a 5 year period. Publication available here. (2009-2011)

Discourse analysis during argument-based inquiry lessons

Performed qualitative research on transcripts from elementary classrooms using the Science Writing Heuristic. Argument-based inquiry practices were looked at when students where having whole-class discussions about claims and evidence. Categories of dialogue were developed and quantified based on the characteristics of dialogue. Publication can be purchased here. (2011-2013)