Meet the Scientist
Coordinator of External Relations at the National Weather Center
What scientific field do you work in?
"Have a great work ethic and focus on your goals"
Could you briefly explain what your job involves?
As Coordinator of External Relations for the National Weather Center in Norman, Oklahoma on the campus of the University of Oklahoma, I am responsible for bridging the gap between science and the public through informational tours and external outreach for the purpose of marketing and public relations, alumni relations, and recruitment. I get to showcase our one-of-a-kind facility to over 40,000 visitors annually!
Do you have any secret talents?
I can do impressions of lots of different characters and actors
When did you decide you wanted to work as a scientist?
From a very young age! When I was in second grade (primary school), I saved all of my money so I could buy a television for my room to watch The Weather Channel all the time! I used to be terrified of storms, but that fear led to a curiosity of how the atmosphere works!
What's your favourite food?
I love any and all Indian food!
What educational pathway did you take to get to where you are now?
Since I knew I wanted to be a scientist, I took as many math and science classes as I possibly could! I really liked my math and science classes because it was always a discovery of something new! After high school, I decided to attend the University of Oklahoma, one of the best meteorology programs in the world, to get my Bachelor of Science in Meteorology, a four-year degree program. I enjoyed meteorology so much and wanted to take part in more research, so I stayed an additional two years and received a Master of Science in Meteorology.
"I used to be terrified of storms, but that fear led to a curiosity..."
What was the best thing about your job?
I really enjoy teaching, and my position allows me to teach in a different format than being in a traditional classroom! I love teaching people about the weather because I love it so much!
"I can do impressions of... characters and actors"
What was the worst thing about your job?
I really love my job, but I do miss taking part in research, similar to my work during my undergraduate and graduate studies, so I do miss having those opportunities. I actively try to find ways to incorporate my current work into opportunities to take part in different kinds of research, so there are some opportunities, just a different avenue!
If you could take one thing with you to an island, what would it be and why?
I would take my wife so I would have some company!
Have you taken part in any research?
I’ve taken part in lots of cool research! As an undergraduate student, I worked with a faculty advisor (one of my professors) and a graduate student to look at the false-alarm rates of lightning sensors around Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida (funded by NASA)! I really liked lightning research, so I continued similar work during my graduate studies. I worked with a facility in Florida and a facility in New Mexico to study artificially-triggered lightning! These facilities attach copper wire to rockets and fire them into the sky when storms are over their respective facilities to create lightning strikes to study how they work! We brought one of our mobile Doppler weather radars (Shared Mobile Atmospheric Research & Teaching Radar) to each facility to look at the atmosphere during those trigger attempts to see if the atmosphere behaved in a certain way during successful and non-successful trigger attempts. I also got to fly in NASA’s DC-8 aircraft during the Deep Convective Clouds & Chemistry (DC3) Experiment to look at the transport of atmospheric chemicals during storms. When I was not flying, I was providing forecast support for the experiment by alerting the research teams of current and future weather so they could plan to sample storms when they formed!
If you could be anyone in the world for 24 hours, who would you be?
I would have loved to be a famous scientist, like Newton, Einstein, etc. so I could know what it was like to be that brilliant!
Do you have a favourite movie quote?
“I gotta go, Julia, we got cows!”
Do you have any advice for young people who are interested in your career path?
Have a great work ethic and focus on your goals. Work hard to get what you want, and accept that there will be times of failure, but every experience is a learning experience!
Anything else you'd like to add?
Math and science are so cool, and vital to the world we live in! I encourage students to look at STEM careers because they are very rewarding and fun!
Ask Patrick a Question