Ph.D Candidate Katie Wilson Wins First Place Presentation

Katie Wilson, a Ph.D student in the School of Meteorology, won first place for her poster titled “An Instantaneous Self-Assessment of Forecaster Cognitive Workload” at the 2017 American Meteorological Society’s 97th annual meeting.

Wilson has attended many AMS meetings in the past but this was her first time presenting at the annual AMS meeting and her first time presenting in the Transition of Research to Operations Conference.

“Developing a clear vision for why your work matters is so important,” said Wilson when asked what advice she would give students who would like to achieve something similar. “I have found that this vision has been essential for producing creative research and maintaining an exciting relationship with my work, especially during times when tricky obstacles arise.”

Her graduate studies focused on “…understanding the impact of new technology and data on forecasters’ warning decision processes, specifically with respect to phased array radar.” According to Wilson, in order to understand this research, one must understand the role of a forecaster, warning operations environment and knowledge and methodology from other research domains in order to answer operational meteorology research questions.

She credits her advisor, Dr. Pamela Heinselman, a research scientist with the National Severe Storm Laboratory, colleague Charles Kuster, a research assistant at the Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies, and Dr. Ziho Kang, an assistant professor in the college of engineering, for collaborating on this successful project.

Her initial interest in meteorology is unique. “Unlike many meteorologists, there was no single weather event that inspired me to study meteorology. Rather, I simply studied the subjects that I enjoyed most at school, leading to a specialization in mathematics, physics, and psychology.”

Meteorology has many applications in various disciplines. This allowed Wilson to apply her previous studies to science that can be heard, smelled, and felt every single day. “To me, there was no other application that was quite as fascinating. I pursued my Masters and now PhD degrees because I felt like there was still so much to learn, and having the opportunity to dive deep into a more focused discipline within meteorology allows me to obtain (and hopefully add to!) this depth of knowledge.”

Wilson had never visited Seattle before and when asked what her favorite thing about this visit was she said, “I watched a glass blowing demonstration at the Chihuly exhibit and was completely captivated! Seattle was also a wonderful meeting place to reunite with friends that are now studying and working at other institutions.”

Katie’s work in this area has been fruitful, and we believe it will continue to be! Congratulations, Katie!