Student creating iPad app based on award-winning meteorology research

Aside from slamming the snooze button, checking the weather forecast is an essential part of many students' mornings.

There might be those who take their fascination with the shifting skies to award-winning levels — and turn it around into a new application.

In February, Mount Pleasant graduate student Mike Piatek-Jimenez received Best Undergraduate Student Poster Presentation for Analysis of Microphysics Scheme Performance with the October 2006 Buffalo Snowstorm in October 2010 at the National Weather Association Conference.

"I am thinking of using model data in the app that is similar to the model I used in this poster project," he said.

His co-author was Marty Baxter, assistant professor of geology. The NWA is a professional association of people involved with weather forecasting, Baxter said.

Jane Matty, interim dean of the College of Science and Technology, reported to the CMU Board of Trustees during its April 14 meeting that the meteorology program at CMU is the only undergraduate program of its kind in Michigan.

Piatek-Jimenez writes weather apps for the iPad and the Mac operating system through his company Gaucho Software, which he said takes up most of his time.

For his project, he took a closer look at a snowstorm that hit Buffalo, New York five years ago.

“I drove through Buffalo the day after the storm and saw the damage firsthand,” Piatek-Jimenez said.

He said the award reception was a bit of a surprise, and did not even know the posters would be judged for awards

Piatek-Jimenez and Sterling Heights senior Sarah Trojniak will present their research projects at 1 p.m. Wednesday during the Student Research and Creative Endeavors Exhibition in Finch Fieldhouse.

“CMU meteorology students have posted first, second and third in the past three years of this award,” Baxter said.

Trojniak received second place undergraduate student poster presentation for New England Tornado Characteristics. She co-authored the poster with Dan St. Jean and David Glenn of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/NWS Forecast Office in Gray, Maine.

Trojniak said not getting an award would have been a letdown, not only to her but also the meteorology program at CMU.

“I had high expectations to live up to,” Trojniak said. “Receiving this award not only helped to get my name out into the meteorology world, but it also continued to remind them that CMU’s program might be new but it is going far and is a force to be reckoned with."

Trojniak said students were judged more on how they presented their research, rather than what was researched or how extensive it was.


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