Experiential Learning on Hydrometeorology Through a University Study Abroad Program

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Monday, 3 February 2014: 5:00 PM
Room C109 (The Georgia World Congress Center )
Curtis N. James, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Prescott, AZ
Manuscript (193.2 kB)

Study abroad programs offered by Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University's Prescott Campus give undergraduate students hands-on research experience and the opportunity to apply meteorological knowledge and skills in diverse climates of the world. A study abroad program offered in the Swiss Alps provides a unique setting for students to learn and conduct research abroad in collaboration with scientists at the Swiss weather service, MeteoSwiss. The program offers a mountain meteorology course that focuses primarily on the mechanisms that frequently produce heavy orographic precipitation and flash flooding in southern Switzerland. Another program is currently being planned for the Amazon Basin that offers similar learning experiences in tropical meteorology and climate.

Students in these one-month courses are required to propose and implement basic research projects to investigate selected topics. Each study abroad course is divided into multiple student research groups, where students utilize the scientific method from start to finish and reach conclusions related to their topics. The students often experience some of the same challenges encountered in actual scientific field projects and learn to achieve observational and scientific objectives while sharing instrumentation and collaborating with other research groups during special observing periods. Moreover, the students gain first-hand experience analyzing and forecasting weather events related to their research. Overall, this program has proven to be a popular and exciting highlight of the undergraduate educational experience and excellent career preparation for students minoring or majoring in meteorology.