2018 Candidate Biographies

President-Elect Candidates

Bill Murray

Hello NWA Friends!  

 I was very thrilled and flattered to be elected as your Vice President in 2014 and the opportunity to now earn your vote as President is very humbling and energizing to me.  Working under President Freeman and President Hartsfield-Supina and serving on the Executive Committee has given me tremendous insight into the role and the import that it carries 

 As many of you know, I served a term as an NWA Councilor in 2012 and 2013 and am in a two-year term as Vice President.  Serving as Vice President has afforded me an exciting chance to be involved with the Program Committees for Norfolk and Anaheim.  Getting to concept and execute the fabulous WeatherReady Fest in Norfolk with so many of you was very rewarding.  

 I served on the Membership and Marketing Committee under John Gordon from 2009 through 2011, which was a great introduction to NWA Volunteer Work and the epitome of a well-run committee in my opinion.  It taught me the importance and value of our committees.     

 I have served as the NWA Digital Seal Manager since its inception, and hold the first Digital Seal issued by our organization.  I believe that there is a huge opportunity here for our organization to make a difference in the world of fake weather news which has become so burdensome for our broadcasters and operational meteorologists.  The Digital Seal should be a must have for any one publishing weather information in the electronic realm.   

 We are at a critical juncture with our local chapters and I will do everything in my power to help them understand the vital work they do in outreach for our organization.  I have served for several years in the Central Alabama Chapter, which won Chapter of the Year in 2012.   

 If I am fortunate enough to serve as your President, I will work very closely with staff and your input to identify ways to increase membership engagement within our community through our electronic presence, volunteer opportunities and partnerships.  Adding value to our membership in order to attract more members will be my primary focus.  

 I currently own my own Private Weather Forecasting firm, The Weather Factory, with James Spann.  I cover forecast shifts and hazardous weather situations.  We have grown the site to over 20 million page views per year.  I am the Guest Booking Officer for our popular WeatherBrains podcast, which just crossed the 600-episode milestone.  This role has allowed me to meet to many of the brightest and most influential minds in meteorology.   

 I also own a Hotel Management company which has steeped me in entrepreneurship and the corporate world.  I am the Immediate Past Chairman of the Greater Birmingham Convention and Visitors Bureau, an organization that I have held leadership positions in for 25 years, including Chairman for nine years.  

 I live in Birmingham, Alabama with my amazing wife Elle and our children.

Paul Schlatter

Paul Schlatter is back on the ballot running for NWA president. He became a lifetime NWA member in December 2016 and is humbled to run for president again this year.  Paul is the Science and Operations Officer (SOO) at the Denver/Boulder, Colorado, National Weather Service (NWS) Forecast Office.  As SOO, he is responsible for ensuring new science and technology is incorporated into operational products and services.  He is passionate about continuously improving operational meteorology for the benefit of society.  Prior to being the SOO in Boulder, CO, he was the NWS's Acting Chief of Staff and the Deputy Chief of Staff in the NWS Front Office in Silver Spring, MD.  Neither title is particularly useful to describe his role, but he directly supported the director and deputy director of the NWS on just about anything including policy development, coordinating internal and external communications, and enabling informed corporate decisions.  In 2011 and 2012, he worked in NOAA's Coordination Office (PCO), as the National Weather Service (NWS) liaison for NOAA and NWS leadership.  As PCO, he provided advice and staff support to NOAA senior leadership and represented the NWS's interests at the NOAA level.  From 2003-2011, he worked for at the NWS Warning Decision Training Branch (WDTB) in Norman, OK, as a meteorologist instructor. While with WDTB, he designed and delivered many training modules for the NWS, focusing on high impact weather warnings. He was the project lead for the dual-polarization radar operations course and played a critical role in the success of the development and deployment of the upgrade to the nation's fleet of 158 radars (Twitter handle @dualpaul). He graduated from Westmont College in Santa Barbara, CA with a B.S. in Engineering Physics, and received an M.S. in Meteorology from the University of Oklahoma.  He is an active and loyal member of the NWA, serving as Vice President in 2015, a councilor from 2012-14, and as a member of several committees, currently the Strategic Planning Committee. 

Vice President Candidates

Todd Lericos

Todd Lericos is currently the Meteorologist-in-Charge of the National Weather Service (NWS) Weather Forecast Office in Las Vegas, Nevada, a position he has held since November of 2012.  

Todd grew up in southwest Florida and began his career in Meteorology by joining the Air Force in 1991 as a Weather Observer/Forecaster. His first assignment was Homestead AFB, arriving 8 months before Hurricane Andrew hit the base in August of 1992. A passion for weather forecasting in high impact situations was instilled in Todd by that event. He later deployed all over the World to provide weather forecast support to various military operations. This included a deployment to Haiti in 1994 for Operation Uphold Democracy and an assignment to the Middle East to support Operation Southern Watch in 1995.  

After leaving the Air Force in 1997 to pursue a civilian career in Meteorology, Todd attended Florida State University from 1997-2002. He holds both a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Meteorology.  An opportunity to serve in the Student Career Experience Program (SCEP) in 1999 began Todd’s career in the NWS. He later went on to serve as a Journeyman Forecaster in Spokane, Washington, a Science and Operations Officer in Caribou, Maine and in Tallahassee, Florida. When the opportunity emerged to lead a Weather Forecast Office in 2012, he accepted his current position at NWS Las Vegas.  

Todd has been an active NWA member since the late 1990s. He is currently finishing his term as Councilor and serving on the Awards Committee. Todd previously served as Chair of the Aviation Meteorology Committee and co-chair of the Program Committee for the 2017 NWA Annual Meeting.

Lisa Spencer

Lisa Spencer is Chief Meteorologist at WSMV-TV in Nashville. She has been a NWA member for almost 30 years.  

Lisa has served as a NWA Seal Panelist, a member of the NWA nominating committee and as Chair for the AMS Broadcast Board. She was on the development team for the AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist Seal and the CBM test. She's a past president of the Middle Tennessee Chapter of the NWA, which was chosen chapter of the year. 

Lisa was awarded, "Broadcaster of the Year" by the National We

ather Association in 2015. She was also recognized by the American Meteorology Association with the Broadcast Meteorology Award of Excellence. Lisa has won eight regional Emmys for her weather coverage including the historic 2010 May Flood in Middle Tennessee. She has also be recognized by the Tennessee Associated Press as “Best Weather Anchor” five times. 

Lisa maintains a rigorous schedule of outreach to schools and community groups for weather education.  She organizes and produces “Surviving the Storm”, a severe weather preparedness road show that’s presented all across Middle Tennessee. Every year, Lisa leads the effort to collect thousands of coats for the needy with "Warm Coats from Warm Hearts".  She also spearheaded "Heat Wave Help," a drive to collect air conditioners for those without. The Metropolitan Action Commission honored her for the project. 

A graduate of the University of Memphis, Lisa earned a Master's degree in Geography with a concentration in Atmospheric Sciences and a bachelor's degree in Broadcast Communications. She also holds a Certificate of Meteorology from Mississippi State University. 

She has spent her entire career forecasting weather across the southeast from weekend weathercaster at WHBQ in Memphis to Chief Meteorologist at WNCN in Raleigh, NC. Lisa even spent five years in Atlanta at The Weather Channel before returning home to Tennessee. 

Secretary Candidates

Chad Gravelle

Chad Gravelle is the GOES-R Satellite Liaison and Science Coordinator for the National Weather Service Operations Proving Ground in Kansas City, MO where he leads the transition of GOES-R products into NWS Forecast Offices. He has a B.S. degree in meteorology from the State University of New York at Brockport and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in meteorology from Saint Louis University. Chad’s Ph.D. research developed a methodology to objectively identify conceptual model false alarms to distinguish statistically significant features in Northeast U.S. heavy snow events. While at Saint Louis University he was the lead developer of the CIPS Analog Guidance which is used by NWS Forecast Offices as an threat-based forecaster support resource. He was also the focal point on smaller research projects that assist NWS forecasters in identifying CWA-centric high-impact weather events. Chad has been a member of the American Meteorological Society and the National Weather Association since 2005. Currently, Chad is a member of the NWAWeather Analysis & Forecasting Committee where he was the co-developer and facilitator of the WAF Master Class that is held for students during the Student Workshop at the Annual Meeting. Previously, he was a member of the NWA Membership and Marketing Committee when he developed and facilitated the annual Student Speed Mentoring session. In 2012, Chad was recognized for his research and development of the CIPS Analog Guidance as he was the co-recipient of the NWA T. Theodore Fujita Research Achievement Award. Chad's contributions and experience on NWA committees has prepared him to serve as NWA Secretary for the upcoming term.

Miles Muzio

Miles has served as a broadcast meteorologist for 36 years, following 12 years as a weather forecaster in the US Air Force. His experience ranges from Command Weather Briefer for the Alaskan Air Command 3-star General to weather support for the Apollo 17 lunar landing training vehicle in Houston. 

He has worked in 7 TV markets across the country, currently chief meteorologist at KBAK-TV in Bakersfield, CA. Miles earned his AMS TV Seal of Approval in 1983 and subsequent CBM in 2005.  

He earned the NWA Seal of Approval in 1992 and has served the Association in various capacities ever since. As Seal Chair (2010-12) he modernized the evaluation process for Seal candidates. While Chair of the Broadcast Meteorology Committee (2013-15), Miles developed the Digital Seal Program for cyber weather webcasts. He updated and modernized the Seal of Approval written exam in 2015. 

Miles is the 2017 NWA Program co-chair and devised a new comprehensive method of abstract vetting. 

His decades of experience and organizational skills make him the perfect choice as NWA Secretary. 

Councilor Candidates

Matthew Euler

Matthew Euler is a United States Navy Meteorological Supervisor and Lead Forecaster.  His current responsibilities include the issuance of weather forecasts for the Norfolk area and Western Atlantic Ocean Basin during at sea periods.  Serving as the primary meteorological consultant to the Commanding Officer on board the United States Navy’s newest aircraft carrier, USS GERALD R. FORD (CVN-78), he provides daily wind, seas, ocean current, sea surface temperature, aviation terminal aerodrome forecasts, and round the clock forecasts for significant weather events.  In the past year, his team has provided crucial meteorological support for two record flooding events, Hurricane Matthew, and a significant winter storm across the Hampton Roads area.  Additionally, his forecasting team recommended the ship postponing sail for 5 days in avoidance of significant winds and seas offshore greatly contributing to the safety and personal welfare of 2,600 Sailors.  He holds a B.S. Degree and M.S. Degree in Geoscience with concentrations in Operational and Applied Meteorology from Mississippi State University, an Operational Meteorology Certificate from Mississippi State University, and California and Virginia Single Subject Teaching Licenses in Earth Science.   

Matthew is a proud member of the National Weather Association’s Professional Development Committee where he is formulating a draft for an Operational Meteorology Certification to acknowledge the hard work of every day weather professionals.  Promoting greater involvement from the military sector, he is currently working on the development of a NWA Norfolk local military chapter.  At the 2016 National Weather Association Conference, he provided a brief on meteorological careers within the Navy, professional advice to 60 college students participating in the Speed Mentoring Event, and won the forecasting challenge with the most accurate forecast among contestants.  An active member within his community, he provided weather lessons to 50 third and fourth grade students at local elementary schools and assisted in a cleanup at the Norfolk Zoo.   

Matthew has proudly served his country in the United States Navy for 23 years with more than 18 years of meteorological experience.  He has a professional background as both an Air Traffic Controller and Military Meteorologist.  He has provided meteorological support for at sea operations across the Pacific Ocean, Atlantic Ocean, Mediterranean Sea, North Arabian Sea, Arabian Gulf, and the Bering Sea.  Recognized for exceptional support and excellence within the Navy’s Senior Enlisted Meteorological Community, he was awarded the distinguished 2016 Senior Chief Aerographer’s Mate John R. Dungan award.  Additionally, his tireless efforts resulted in the stand up of the first meteorological division on board a Ford Class aircraft carrier.  His military service awards include four Navy Commendation Medals, four Navy Achievement Medals, and the Coast Guard Commandant Letter citation. 

Matthew currently resides in Virginia Beach, Virginia with his lovely wife of sixteen years and his two middle school children.           

Alex Garcia

Alex Garcia is the Chief Meteorologist and Weather Leader for KABB/WOAI in San Antonio, Texas. Alex is a multi-disciplined individual with professional experience as an educator and broadcaster. He holds several degrees and certifications, including a B.S. in Education, a Master's in Education with Certification as an Educational Administrator, and Broadcast Meteorology Certification from Mississippi State University.

Alex has served on the AMS Board of Broadcast Meteorology as a panelist.  He presently serves on the AMS Board on Continuing Professional Development and will assume the Chairmanship in January of 2018.  Additionally, he continues to serve on the AMS Board of Broadcast Meteorology as a panelist for Spanish language applicants. 

Alex is an eight time Texas Associated Press winner for Best Weathercast.  He also is the recipient of the National Weatherperson of the Year award from the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes and the AMS award for Broadcast Meteorology. 

He is the Executive Producer for several mini-documentaries on climate change, severe weather and astronomy.  He is a former public school educator and Adjunct Professor. He has taught students of all ages, from elementary school children, to college students with several school districts and the University of Houston-Victoria and the University of the Incarnate Word. He taught and mentored many meteorology students who are now working for the National Weather Service and broadcast stations. 

Alex has logged more than four decades of broadcast experience in a long list of roles, including radio production specialist, news director, assignment editor, videographer, producer, meteorologist and reporter. 

Alex is the founder of the Urban Science Initiative Inc, a non-profit corporation which produces science/STEM programs for children across South Texas.  USI Inc. also produces the annual National Tropical Weather Conference for broadcast meteorologists. 

Alex has received the AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist seal. He is a member of the American Meteorological Society, National Weather Association.

Tyra Brown Harris

Dr. Brown has 15 years of dedicated public service in the federal government. She is currently leading the Weather Information Mass Dissemination project in the NWS Office of Dissemination, a multiyear, transformational change effort aimed to optimize the dissemination of warnings, alerts and critical weather information essential to fulfilling the NWS mission. Dr. Brown is a member of the Measuring IDSS Impacts Sub-Team and supports various efforts aimed at improving social science integration within the NWS. Prior to this, she was appointed to serve as the U.S. Dept. of Commerce representative on the Sub-Interagency Policy Committee on Presidential Policy Directive-8 Preparedness Campaign led by the U.S. National Security Council Staff (2013-2015). Dr. Brown earned her doctoral degree in Conflict Analysis and Resolution Studies at Nova Southeastern University, researching mass media effects, risk perception and hurricane hazard adjustments. She has a M.A. in Human Services and Counseling from Regent University, and a B.S. in Psychology from Howard University. Dr. Brown is a member of the American Meteorological Society (AMS), the Association for Conflict Resolution, International Communication Association, and serves on the Societal Impacts Committee of the National Weather Association (NWA). She enjoys kickboxing, watching documentaries and the idea of gardening.

Jennifer Hogan

As graduate of The Ohio State University atmospheric sciences program, Jennifer Hogan pursued her passion of weather and forecasting as an aviation operational meteorologist for NetJets, Inc. in Columbus, Ohio. For over 10 years, she consulted pilots, customers, and co-workers in regards to weather from pinpoint forecasts for arrival/departures/enroute weather for flights, to vacations, weddings, and as joked about constantly within the weather group "anything that ended in "-ing." The forecasts were for anywhere that NetJets flew, worldwide, and it was a truly unique position that allowed for her to gain specific weather information and forecasting rules of thumb for many sites that typically only the local NWS WFO, local broadcasters, or military may know about. Daily conversations would jump from discussions about weather on the east coast, then to the west coast and then possibly Europe; the flight schedule for the day dictated which areas of the world would be talked about the most, with regards to weather of course. It was this experience, and networking, that brought about the opportunity for Jennifer to move into a slightly related field with The Boeing Company as a supply chain scheduling specialist for Dreamlifter Operations, the main transport system of the 787 Dreamliner supply chain. The interest in having an subject matter expert on the Dreamlifter Team was very enticing, and a change in the winds brought Jennifer to Boeing. With Boeing, she has been sought out for climate research on operational sites for the Dreamlifter, which is a modified 747 that can haul the large parts of the 787 Dreamliner aircraft within it, that require some specific conditions for flight, mostly weather related. Also, with one of the main 787 final assemblies residing right in hurricane country (Charleston, SC) when tropical cyclones threaten many seek her out for information and consultation.  

Jennifer is not a pilot, however the love of the aviation field and how weather affects all aspects of it has been the center of her weather passion for almost her whole life. Her family started an airport in Southwest Ohio (KHAO) in the late 1920s, owned and operated it through the 1980s. Flying is a normal activity for her and her extended family members, who are either employed within the commercial aviation field, are in the military, or just like to go to airshows on the weekends in the summer.  

Jennifer has been a member of NWA off and on since high school. Since joining The Boeing Company she has been more involved in NWA with the sentiment of keeping her passion for weather alive within volunteering and being active in this group since forecasting has more of a secondary role with in her current position. Jennifer currently holds a co-chair position with the NWA Diversity Committee. She has enjoyed developing visibility to this new committee in the NWA member body with the help of the committees' members. Awareness of our differences as humans, respect for all of our different backgrounds, and an overall open mindedness have always been reflected in this committee's actions and the goal has been to spread these ideals throughout the NWA. 

Sheldon Kusselson

Sheldon is a retired operational satellite meteorologist who worked for 36 years for NOAA’s National Environmental Satellite, Data and Information Service (NESDIS) located in Maryland. Specializing in the satellite analysis of precipitation, he interacted daily and around the clock with NOAA/National Weather Service (NWS) weather and river forecasters, who were tasked with supporting NOAA’s mission of protecting lives and property. Sheldon has been a member of the National Weather Association (NWA) since the mid 1980’s and currently serves as a member of the NWA Remote Sensing Committee, contributing his satellite data expertise to this group and the entire NWA membership. He has co-written, with fellow NOAA colleagues and university researchers, a number of satellite product and application papers for the NWA Digest and Newsletter; given seminars and presentations on satellite data applications at NWA and American Meteorological Society (AMS) meetings, local NWS offices and COMET and EUMETSAT workshops.  

A native of Pennsylvania, he spent his childhood growing up in Philadelphia. He received his BS in meteorology in 1975 from the Pennsylvania State University. After graduating Sheldon worked as a summer intern for NESDIS on the Chesapeake Region AFOS Weather Broadcast (CRAB) Project, demonstrating the early use of geostationary imagery in short-term (nowcasting) forecasting. From 1976-1979 he worked as a forecaster at Accu-Weather in State College, PA. In 1979, he returned to NOAA/NESDIS working in Satellite Analysis Branch (SAB). Sheldon was a member of the operational precipitation and analysis team from 1982 until his retirement in August, 2015. While at SAB, he consulted with government forecasters from Hawaii to Puerto Rico and issued over 15000 satellite precipitation messages to assist in their heavy precipitation forecasting. Starting in 1991 he was the polar orbiting microwave satellite product and applications focal point. Sheldon has collaborated with NOAA and university researchers and NWS weather and river forecasters to develop and produce satellite products that are used by forecasters worldwide. Some of these products include Blended Total Precipitable Water (TPW); Percent of Normal TPW; Operational Hydro-Estimator Satellite-Derived Rainfall; Ensemble Tropical Rainfall Potential (eTRaP); Blended Rain Rate; NESDIS Snowfall Rate; Experimental Layered Precipitable Water; Experimental Orographic Rain Index.    

Since his retirement from NOAA/NESDIS, Sheldon has attended and presented posters and talks at the NWA Annual meetings in Oklahoma City, Norfolk, and Garden Grove. He has been furnishing satellite analysis and applications information to broadcast meteorologists through email and Twitter, so they are fully engaged and educated in the use of all types of satellite data to help enhance their forecasts. He has also been providing annotated satellite analysis discussions for the Alabama Weather Blog and the Global Weather and Climate Center. In addition, Sheldon continues to mentor young meteorologists in how to remain relevant in the ever-changing world of atmospheric sciences.

Vytas Reid

Vytas is currently the Chief Meteorologist for the award winning FOX45 News at 4, 5, 10, and 11 pm newscast. He has served in the position for the past 10 years. 

Previously he was Chief Meteorologist for Sinclair Broadcast Group's News Central weather operations which produced weather forecast for several television markets across the country. Before coming to Maryland he worked for WRTV ABC 6 Indianapolis, and WKJG NBC 33 Fort Wayne, IN. He also had opportunities to do work at WB 17 Philadelphia, PA, WXIN FOX 59 Indianapolis, and FOX 28 South Bend, IN. Vytas holds a degree in Broadcast Communications from Indiana University and a Certificate in Broadcast Meteorology from Mississippi State University. He has also been awarded the seal of approval from the American Meteorological Society, and is a current standing member of the National Weather Association. He is proud to serve currently on the newly formed Diversity committee for the NWA. 

Originally from Grand Rapids, Michigan, Vytas now calls Maryland his home and enjoys being involved in a variety of activities with his wife and three children. He enjoys music of all kinds, cultural events and traveling. Vytas is an active supporter of the South Baltimore Learning Center, weather presentations to schools in the area, youth activities, and an active member of the Baha'i Faith. 

Jim Reynolds

Jim Reynolds serves as the Meteorologist in Charge of the Brownsville, Texas National Weather Service (NWS) office where he is responsible for the administrative functions supporting the provision of weather forecasts and warnings, as well as community outreach and disaster preparedness, for the residents of Deep South Texas and the Rio Grande Valley.  

Mr. Reynolds earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Geography with an emphasis on meteorology and climatology from Arizona State University (1991) and his Master in Management degree from Southern Oregon University (2006), where he graduated magna cum laude. He is currently working on his Doctoral degree in Organizational Leadership at the University of Phoenix. Since beginning his tenure in the NWS in 1993, Mr. Reynolds has served in San Diego, California; El Paso, Texas; Medford, Oregon; Hastings, Nebraska; Corpus Christi, Texas. He has served as the Meteorologist in Charge of the Albuquerque Center Weather Service Unit, as well as the Brownsville, Texas Weather Forecast Office, for a total of seven years. 

Mr. Reynolds has received numerous awards throughout his 23 year career with the NWS including: a NOAA Silver Medal (group) for the provision of outstanding fire weather forecasts and support services during the historic 2002 wildfire season in southwest Oregon, Supervisor of the Year award from the New Mexico Federal Executive Board, the National Weather Association Aviation Meteorology award, and two National Weather Service Southern Region Director’s awards. 

Mr. Reynolds has been the Chair for the National Weather Association Aviation Committee for the past three years and has been a private pilot since 1992. He resides in Brownsville, Texas with his wife, Amber. They have two children pursuing college degrees in Wichita, Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri. 

Kathy Sherman-Morris

Kathy Sherman-Morris is an Associate Professor in the Department of Geosciences at Mississippi State University. At MSU, she is able to teach classes that blend her interests in weather hazards and communication such as Weather and Society, and Hazards and Disasters. She also previously taught the department’s broadcast meteorology practicums. Additionally, Kathy has served as Director of the Geosciences Distance Learning Programs since 2012. 

Her research focuses on communication of weather information, human responses to weather hazards, and enhancing diversity in geoscience education. She has published in a number of journals including Journal of Operational Meteorology, National Weather Digest, Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, Weather, Climate and Society, Natural Hazards, International Journal of Mass Emergencies and Disasters, and the Journal of Geoscience Education. She is also co-author of the book Mississippi Weather and Climate. Students she has mentored at the undergraduate through doctoral level have gone on to work in broadcasting, education, and for the National Weather Service. 

Kathy has a history of professional service to Meteorology and Geography. For the National Weather Association, in which she has been a member since 1997, Kathy is a member of the Board on Broadcast Meteorology. She has also been a reviewer for the Journal of Operational Meteorology. She is the incoming chair of the American Meteorological Society’s Board on Societal Impacts, and has been co-chair of the Symposium on Societal Applications for the 2016, 2017 and 2018 meetings. Kathy is on the advisory panel for UCAR’s COMET program, as well as the Mississippi Geographic Alliance. She was Mississippi coordinator for CoCoRaHS from 2008 (the year Mississippi joined) through 2016. She has served as secretary and state representative for the Southeastern Division of the Association of American Geographers (AAG), and for the AAG, she has been a member of the Enhancing Diversity Committee as well as held several elected specialty group offices. 

Kathy received her degrees from Mansfield University in Pennsylvania (B.S.E. Social Studies), Mississippi State University (M.S. Geosciences), and Florida State University (Ph.D. Geography)

Student Councilor Candidates

Amber Liggett

Amber has been a proud student member of the NWA since 2015. She is the recipient of the 2015 David A. Sankey Minority Scholarship in Meteorology and has served on the 2016 and 2017 NWA Annual Meeting Student Workshop Committee.  

Originally from Beaver, PA, approximately 45 minutes northwest of Pittsburgh, Amber is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree at Millersville University (MU) majoring in Meteorology and minoring in Mathematics.  

In 2005, at the age of nine she founded the award-winning business Amber’s Amazing Animal Balloons (www.ambersballoons.com). By 12-years-old, as a Community College instructor, she taught entrepreneurship, music, and weather to general and special needs students. While in high school, Amber became the youngest exhibitor at the AMS 13th Annual WeatherFest, demonstrating through balloon art the importance of balloons to weather. She shared this lesson again at the 2016 NWA WeatherReady Fest. These opportunities provided a unique chance to reach an impressionable audience, sharing the importance of weather safety and awareness. Now, 12 years later, as CEO Amber has combined her talent of balloon art and passion for weather on a larger scale. As an international award winning “teenpreneur” Amber has learned the impact one can have on a global audience. Additionally, serving on PA Senator Vogel’s Business Advisory Board, she shares with legislators critical business and scientific issues facing society. 

Currently a senior at MU, Amber is very involved on and around campus while maintaining Dean’s List. This year, she is an earth science peer mentor for the First Year Experience freshman program, continues to be an on-air talent for MU Weather Watch (www.muweatherwatch.com), a Campus Weather Service (CWS) lead forecaster, casts CWS streaming videos, and recently became a blogger for the Global Weather and Climate Center. As a junior, she was the President of MU-AMS, and appointed to the AMS Local Chapter Affairs Committee. During her sophomore year, Amber was MU-AMS Treasurer, and Public Relations for Weather Watch.  

Additionally, Amber has participated in three internships. First, the 2015 REU at National Weather Center in Norman, OK she worked with gust front signatures, Doppler Radar, and machine intelligence detection algorithms. Second, the 2016 SOARS program in Boulder, CO, at NOAA, she worked with the HRRR Ensemble experimental model, and identified the best way to quantify convective forcing for the ensemble members. Most recently, as a 2016 NOAA Hollings Undergraduate Scholar, Amber is working in the NWS Headquarters Communications Office in Silver Spring, MD this summer. Here she is strengthening the Weather-Ready Nation initiative by utilizing effective communication and education to increase public awareness, safety, and preparedness of weather, water, and climate hazards.

Castle Williams

Castle Williams is a second-year PhD student in the Department of Geography at the University of Georgia. He holds both a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degree in Geography (with an emphasis and certificate in the Atmospheric Sciences), as well as a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from the University of Georgia. His overall research goals include examining how meteorologists communicate weather information and hazards to the many publics, as well as increasing the visibility and quantity of interdisciplinary projects within the atmospheric sciences. Further, his research interests lie at the intersection of risk communication, societal impacts, and meteorology. During his graduate career, Castle was awarded an AMS Fellowship and a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship (NSF GRFP), which allowed him to conduct research examining the communication and understanding of various weather-related hazards, with an emphasis on non-precipitation hazards such as extreme heat and high winds. While in the early stages of development and implementation, Castle’s dissertation research seeks to define, understand, and explore the operational viability of message consistency in the weather enterprise.  

Throughout Castle’s academic journey the weather community has provided endless support, and he is ecstatic to serve the community in return. Castle is currently a member on the NWA Committee on Societal Impacts of Weather and Climate. During his tenure on the committee, Castle has assisted in revamping the NWA Lightning Safety Policy and helped create the webinar on message consistency for NWA’s Webinar Wednesday. Recently, Castle was appointed as an inaugural steering committee member to the Alliance for Integrative Approaches to Extreme Environmental Events. Here he hopes to continue promoting the integration of social and behavioral sciences into the field of meteorology. Through his service to the societal impacts community, Castle has learned how to effectively communicate and foster long-distance professional relationships which he believes has prepared him for the NWA Council.  

Castle also enjoys taking his love for science communication in a more creative direction. Castle is the co-host and producer of a weather and society podcast called WeatherHype. Through interviewing guests and discussing hot topics, this podcast examines the latest weather and climate-related events and how they connect to people every day. He believes this medium for science communication serves as an informal and fun introduction to the social and behavioral sciences in meteorology. 

Castle is excited for the opportunity to serve as a student voice on the NWA Council and will bring enthusiasm for student inclusion/success, social science, meteorology, and interdisciplinary work to the Council.