On Our Radar: Dr. Sam Ng
by Becca Mazur, Professional Development Committee Chair
Dr. Sam Ng is a professor of meteorology at Metropolitan State University of Denver (MSU Denver). He received his doctorate in meteorology from Saint Louis University in 2005. His dissertation, under the supervision of the late Dr. James T. Moore, was titled “Development of a Dynamical Conceptual Model of Processes Producing Heavy Banded Snowfall Utilizing Numerical Simulations.”
His other degrees are from Millersville University of Pennsylvania and Texas Tech University. Sam’s research interests include regional and local climate change along the Chilean Andes (he has been there three times), initialization of mesoscale convective systems across eastern Colorado, mesoscale snowband formation over the Midwest, and high-impact strong tornado events along the High Plains.
Sam has been an active NWA member since 2001, and is currently an NWA director. He was the program chair for the NWA Weather Analysis and Forecasting (WAF) committee from 2010-2012 and served on the committee from 2009-2015. He also served on the Unidata Users Committee from 2012-2015 and the American Meteorological Society WAF committee from 2013-2019.
Sam is an avid hockey player and played club hockey at Millersville University. He still plays two nights a week when his schedule and old-man body permit. He is also a big Philadelphia sports fan even though he live in Denver now!
1. What do you do in your current position at Metro State University? What is your favorite part of your job?
I have been a professor of meteorology at MSU Denver since the fall of 2005, teaching a variety of meteorology classes including Synoptic Meteorology, Weather Analysis Techniques, Radar and Satellite, Field Observations of Severe Weather, and Mesoscale Meteorology. I also maintain the weather laboratory at MSU Denver. Teaching and advising students remain my strongest passions, and are what drive me to be better at work every day.
2. What inspired you to pursue a career in meteorology?
Heavy snow events are what inspired me to pursue a career in meteorology. As a little kid growing up in Philadelphia, the first real big snowstorm that I remembered was back in February of 1983, [when] more than 20 inches fell in the city. Walking back home that night from my aunt’s restaurant in thigh-high-deep snowfall is a memory that I will always cherish and be awed by.
3. What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your career so far?
My most significant professional challenge has been people who are consistently impeding my progress at work. The key is to remain positive and trust your judgment. And in the end, all things will usually work out. Trust the process.
4. What advice can you give to the NWA membership on advancing their careers?
Networking, Networking, Networking—build up your Rolodex, or in today’s terminology, fill your contact list on your smartphone! Another piece of advice is that the first impression is usually a lasting one—for the better or worse.
5. This is your first year on the NWA Board of Directors. How did you get into this position? What are you looking forward to most on the Board?
Paul Schlatter and I have a working relationship since we both are based in the Denver-Boulder area. He reached out to me and asked if I would consider running for the position. I wasn’t expecting to be voted in as a director considering the other candidates that I was running up against are all exceptional members.
I am looking forward to cultivating an organization that is inclusive to all aspects of the meteorological community.
6. How do you plan on Paying It Forward this year?
I would like to help out with student mentoring since, when I was a student in the NWA, I received plenty of helpful guidance from several fantastic NWA mentors.
7. What is your favorite activity outside of meteorology?
As mentioned earlier, I love hockey and have played the sport for over 35 years, although I don’t play as well as I want to and the same goes for my forecasting skill. I also enjoy hiking/camping, weather/astro-photography (I am no Ansel Adams), drinking crafted beers, and eating tasty food. Once in a while, I will binge watch TV shows on Netflix or Amazon.
Read more articles from our NWA April Newsletter.