Michelle's Blog

Who is Michelle?
Michelle is studying atmospheric science with a focus on wind energy. She hopes to find real-world solutions to environmental issues.


Michelle's College Blog

Linking to Opportunities
Aug. 27, 2010

I hope you enjoyed the information and links from last week on the wind energy field. As I said before, there are many options for those of you in the fields of math, science and computer programming.

There are also educational opportunities with NASA. NASA requires many different areas of expertise. And they have been doing a lot with education and outreach. I had the opportunity to work for the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama this summer. I was part of the Undergraduate Student Research Program (USRP). I worked with atmospheric scientists.

This is my senior year in college, and I have to say that this experience was wonderful. It helped me experience research, write a technical paper and learn how to present research to the academic community and to those outside the field. NASA takes on people from various backgrounds. Some of the disciplines include engineering (aerospace, mechanical, chemical, etc.), physics/astrophysics and computer science. Other disciplines include chemistry, biology, atmospheric science/meteorology, and many others.

The opportunities with NASA aren't limited to one academic level. There are high school internships (such as INSPIRE). There are undergraduate programs (such as USRP). And there are graduate programs (such as GSRP), among others.

NASA-Environmentally Responsible (Green) Aviation High School Student Challenge This project is for high school students. The project and guidelines are outlined in the website below. http://aero.larc.nasa.gov/era_high/competitions_high_era.htm

NASA-Student Engineering Design Challenge This challenge is geared towards groups working on designs for the James Webb Space Telescope. http://www.nasarealworldinworld.org/

The NASA Student Web Page This web page breaks categories into grade levels. http://www.nasa.gov/audience/forstudents/index.html

NASA Education Programs This website lists the internship I was a part of. It also lists competitions, homework help, and science news and information. http://www.nasa.gov/offices/education/programs/descriptions/Students-rd.html

There are a lot of opportunities out there for all ages, and NASA is just one of the many great providers of educational programs.

What is Wind Energy?
Aug. 23, 2010

Hi everyone, my name is Michelle. I am currently a student at North Carolina State University studying atmospheric science with a concentration in mathematics.

I wanted to give all of you some information about possible career options if you are interested in science and math. There are a lot of great opportunities, especially in the new field of renewable energy. The call for renewable energy is growing. Research has shown that wind energy would be a viable option to offset some of our energy needs.

This is still a relatively new field. So for those of you who know nothing about wind energy or just the basics, I'm going to give you some information.

First of all, the idea of harnessing the wind for energy is not new. It has been going on for many, many years. But newer designs and a better understanding of the atmosphere have led to more efficient ways to harness the wind's power. And wind energy is becoming a more popular option for energy generation. Choosing a site for these turbines is done by analyzing the wind patterns to try to determine the best location.

For those interested in atmospheric processes like I am, there are areas of this industry working in research, wind analysis and wind forecasting, among other things. For those who are interested more in structures, civil and mechanical engineers are often employed to help design the structures and to make them efficient. Other engineers and scientists are involved with construction, wiring, computer programming, design and more.

For those of you who want to know more specifics about wind energy, there are some great resources out there. Check out kidwind.org and need.org. Both of these sites can provide you with a basic understanding of wind energy. Events are often sponsored by kidwind through summer camps and through turbine contests where students compete to create the best designs. These websites provide great links to information.

I'll get back to you with more information soon...hope you all enjoy learning about wind energy!

Who am I?
Aug. 16, 2010

I attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, obtaining a BA in journalism and mass communications. I am now attending North Carolina State University for a B.Sc. in atmospheric science, and I will graduate in December, 2010.

I am currently applying for graduate schools to pursue an advanced degree in atmospheric science. While at North Carolina State, I had opportunities to do undergraduate research on instruments that measure atmospheric parameters, intern with the North Carolina Solar Center on the Coastal Wind Initiative, and perform research for the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, in the Short-term Prediction Research and Transition (SpoRT) Center.

All of these opportunities have been very exciting and helpful in deciding on a career path. From my experiences, I have found that my main academic interests are in understanding atmospheric processes, global climate change and renewable energy. I have always been intrigued by the atmosphere and how things worked, and now I want to take that understanding and combine it with working towards real-world solutions to environmental issues.

I enjoy the outdoors, reading and playing with my cat Rossby. I look forward to providing all of you with more information on an exciting field that is growing rapidly!