Archived News | Return to News Center

September 19, 2008

ULM atmospheric science students become certified for weather balloon launches

Four ULM atmospheric science students were recently certified by the National Weather Service to launch weather balloons.

Jacob Darby, Lara Keys, Jessica Talley, and Donald Jones were taught how to prepare and launch weather balloons with sensor devices that record atmospheric variables like temperature, wind and dew point as it ascends into the atmosphere. The balloons are launched twice daily, and more often if severe weather is forecasted in the area.

The students were also instructed to make adjustments on the receiving computer, make corrections, and disseminate the information to the National Climatic Data Center located in Ashville, N.C.

Darby, a senior from Pride, and Jones, a senior from Slidell, were certified to launch weather balloons while volunteering at the NWS weather forecast office located at Slidell.

Keys, a sophomore from Haughton, and Talley, a junior from Shreveport, are participating in the Student Career Experience Program, a paid internship for college students through the NWS. Upon completion of the required work hours and graduation, the SCEP students may be offered a full-time, career-conditional position within the NWS on a non-competitive bid basis. Both were taught how to launch weather balloons while working at the NWS forecast office located at Shreveport. Jones, also a SCEP student, was trained in Slidell.

Dr. Boniface J. Mills, assistant professor of atmospheric sciences, said, “The combination of classroom instruction and hands-on experience prepares the student for all types of forecasting-related tasks after graduation. We are very proud of our atmospheric science students getting involved with the NWS and contributing to the weather analysis and forecasting process.”

PLEASE NOTE: Some links and e-mail addresses in these archived news stories may no longer work, and some content may include events which are no longer relevent, or reference individuals and/or organizations no longer associated with ULM.