3.5 Novel Approaches to Forecasting Internships for Credit: The Summer 2012 University of North Dakota Deep Convective Clouds and Chemistry (DC3) Forecasting Internship Class

Tuesday, 8 January 2013: 9:30 AM
Room 13AB (Austin Convention Center)
Jeffrey S. Tilley, Univ. of North Dakota, Grand Forks, ND ; and G. L. Mullendore

During the Summer of 2012, the Atmospheric Sciences Department at the University of North Dakota offered a 1-to-2-credit Undergraduate Internship course to be held in conjunction with the field phase of the Deep Convective Clouds and Chemistry (DC3) Experiment. This class served as a follow-on to an undergraduate special topics course taught in Spring 2011 and Spring 2012 that discussed forecasting issues (and provided a practicum environment) that would be related to the 2012 DC3 field operations. Such a class, tied directly to the field phase of an active experiment, is a departure from the typical way that forecasting-based internships are offered at UND (and in fact at many universities in the U.S.), where government (e.g., the National Weather Service) or corporate (e.g., Meridian Environmental Technologies) partners are utilized as the main vehicle for providing the forecasting internship experience. However, as we hoped, preliminary assessment has suggested that this course provided valuable real-world experience that will be applicable to forecasting applications in disciplinary, cross-disciplinary and cross-methodological contexts. Such experience helps to prepare the next generation of atmospheric scientists for a variety of future career paths ranging from broadcast meteorology to forecast operations to field research where an understanding of forecast methodologies and their relationships to project goals is important. The potential value of such experience was demonstrated by strong graduate student participation in the class even when there was no university credit or other direct, immediate payoff for the graduate students arising from their participation in the class.

In this presentation, we present a detailed look at: (1) the structure and mechanics of the DC3 Internship class as implanted during Summer 2012, including linkages to field operations and field experience obtained by several of the students; (2) lessons learned with respect towards keeping the class fresh, towards providing different perspectives on the forecast process (as well as DC3 objectives), and towards reproducing an environment similar to that faced in many real-world forecasting applications, (3) a summary of student feedback on the course objectives, approaches and goals. We conclude the presentation with suggestions, based upon our experience with this class, for those in the community who might wish, in the future, to pursue such an internship class tied closely to a field research program.

- Indicates paper has been withdrawn from meeting
- Indicates an Award Winner