Potvin Wins Presidential Award

The School of Meteorology would like to commend assistant adjunct professor Corey Potvin for winning the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers! (PECASE) The PECASE award is the “highest honor bestowed by the United States Government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers.” The award was established in 1996 by President Clinton to encourage innovative research that contributes to the American economy.

Potvin was nominated for the award in 2014 by the National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL). The NSSL is a federal research laboratory under NOAA’s Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research. His nomination was then one of the three nominations selected by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for submission to the Secretary of Commerce and, ultimately, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

Potvin was chosen for the award by President Obama. The office of the president released the following statement in regards to the selection:

“I congratulate these outstanding scientists and engineers on their impactful work. These innovators are working to help keep the United States on the cutting edge, showing that Federal investments in science lead to advancements that expand our knowledge of the world around us and contribute to our economy.”

Potvin’s research focuses on improving analysis, understanding, and prediction of supercell thunderstorms, and thereby improving forecasts and warnings of thunderstorm hazards, including tornadoes. His funding comes from the NOAA Warn-on-Forecast project, in which the primary goal is to increase the average tornado warning lead times beyond the current lead times (~15 minutes.) “I was thrilled to hear I won the award! I simultaneously felt a lot of gratitude to my mentors and colleagues who have played an invaluable role in forming me into the scientist I am today,” said Potvin when asked his reaction to receiving the award.

Potvin is an OU School of Meteorology Alumni who completed his graduate studies here within the School. He credits the School as one of his main reasons for becoming a successful scientist.

“My graduate studies at OU provided me a solid foundation in radar meteorology, dynamics, and data assimilation, all of which are core to much of the research I do. I am grateful to my graduate research adviser, Alan Shapiro, for helping me sharpen my ability to design intelligent experiments and write cogent scientific papers. I am fortunate to continue to collaborate with Alan. My success as a graduate student, which I owe in no small measure to the quality of OU’s meteorology program, set me up for a successful postdoctoral fellowship at NSSL, which in turn led to me being hired as a research scientist at CIMMS/NSSL”

Potvin hopes to continue his research with an aim to advance the understanding and forecasting of severe thunderstorms and tornadoes using sophisticated analysis and ensemble numerical weather prediction techniques. A few examples of this include improving and evaluating wind retrieval techniques for analyzing mobile Doppler radar datasets collected during VORTEX-2 and other tornado field campaigns.  He also enjoys dabbling in other topics; for example, he’s “currently working to improve our understanding of the reporting biases in the SPC tornado database in order to obtain more accurate tornado climatology.” He hopes to soon branch out into investigating how the frequency and intensity of thunderstorms and tornadoes may evolve due to anthropogenic climate change.

The School is thrilled to congratulate Corey on his award and wishes him the best of luck in his future research!