Gab at the Lab: Jian Zhang

Jian Zhang, Research Scientist


Background:Ph.D. Meteorology, University of Oklahoma (1999)
M.S. Meteorology, Chinese Academy of Meteorological Sciences, Beijing (1987)
B.S. Peking (Beijing) University (1984)
Experience:Jian was born in Loyang, a city in the Henan Province of China. She lived in the cities of Taixing and Lanzhou before moving to Beijing to pursue an education in meteorology. After she earned her Master's degree, Jian became a research associate at the Chinese National Satellite Meteorological Center. She came to Oklahoma when her husband was offered a Ph.D. Graduate Research Assistantship at OU School of Meteorology. She decided to pursue her Ph.D. at OU, and completed the program in 1999. Jian was a research scientist with OU CIMMS until 2009, at which time she was offered a Federal research meteorologist position with NSSL.
What She Does:Jian is the Team Leader of the Warning Research Development Division's Storm-Scale HydroMET Applications Research & Development Group. She is also the Lead Scientist for Multi-Radar Multi-Sensor (MRMS) Quantitative Precipitation Estimation Research & Development. She considers herself a Subject Matter Expert on the MRMS System. This operational system combines multi-sensor data and produces high-resolution severe weather and precipitation products for the National Weather Service. Jian was an integral part of the MRMS team that was awarded the Department of Commerce Silver Medal in 2015. Her research has been published in numerous peer-reviewed journals.
Trivia: When she is away from the Lab, Jian enjoys spending time with her family, which includes her husband and two children. She likes traveling, cooking, movies, and music. Her favorite TV shows are Seinfeld, The Big Bang Theory, and Shark Tank. Jian also enjoys walking and fits in a 3 mile walk every day.

She also notes that there are 87.5 million people with the surname 'Zhang' in China, making it the 3rd most common surname after Wang (92.8M) and Li (92.1M). It is purely coincidental that her husband, CIMMS/NSSL's Pengfei Zhang, has the same last name!

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Gab at the Lab: Kurt Hondl

Kurt Hondl, MPAR Program Manager


Background:M.S. Meteorology, University of Oklahoma (1990)
B.S. Meteorology, University of North Dakota (1987)
Experience:Kurt hails from Dickinson, North Dakota, a small town in the southwestern part of the state near the North Dakota Badlands. He attended college at the University of North Dakota, a school of 15,000 on the border with Minnesota. After earning his bachelor’s degree in meteorology from UND, Kurt made the move to Oklahoma, where he received his Master’s at OU. Kurt was hired by OU’s Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies in 1990, and was a CIMMS employee for three years. In 1993, he was offered a position with the National Severe Storms Laboratory, and he has been with the Lab ever since. During his career with NSSL, he has worked on the Warning Decision Support System, the award-winning Multi-Radar Multi-Sensor project, and Multi-Function Phased Array Radar.
What He Does:Kurt is the MPAR Program Manager at NSSL. The Multi-Function Phased Array Radar project aims to demonstrate the potential for aircraft tracking, wind profiling, and weather surveillance performed by a single phased array radar. Multi-function radars could eventually replace aging aircraft traffic radars and weather radars, resulting in significant cost savings and more data for various federal agencies. MPAR’s adaptive scanning and rapid update capabilities for weather observations will also improve severe weather warning lead times. Kurt oversees the MPAR project, ensuring that funding is in place and that the program is on-schedule. Kurt frequently travels to give presentations on the project status and latest achievements, and he has published related work in several peer-reviewed journals.
Trivia: Kurt and his wife recently celebrated his stepson’s graduation from US Air Force Basic Training and he is now serving as a fireman for the Air National Guard. They have two dogs - Gabi, a Shih Poo, and Zoe, and Cockapoo. In his free time, he enjoys woodworking and building furniture. One of his biggest projects was building a bed frame entirely out of reclaimed barnwood!

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Gab at the Lab: Tiffany Meyer

Tiffany Meyer, Research Associate (NSSL/CIMMS)


Background:M.S. Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University (2012)
B.S. Meteorology, University of Oklahoma (2010)
Experience:Tiffany Meyer was born in Maple Grove, Minnesota, a suburb of Minneapolis. Growing up, she enjoyed spending time outdoors, playing softball, and boating. She even appreciated Minnesota’s winter weather! When it came time to choose where she would go for college, Tiffany elected to pursue her bachelor’s degree in meteorology at the University of Oklahoma. At OU, she also minored in math and computer science. During her undergraduate studies, Tiffany was a student mesonet operator with the Oklahoma Climatological Survey. In addition, she worked on projects with NSSL, and was part of the Severe Hazards Analysis & Verification Experiment at the Lab. She went on to earn her Master’s degree in atmospheric science from Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado, where she focused her studies on gigantic jet lightning. In 2012, Tiffany returned to Oklahoma as a research associate with OU CIMMS.
What She Does:Since 2015, Tiffany has been a technical advisor to the NOAA Hazardous Weather Testbed. She helps to develop AWIPS2, researches total lightning, and hacks code.
Trivia: Tiffany enjoys hiking and spending time outdoors with her boyfriend, NSSL/CIMMS’ Kiel Ortega. The two have visited Great Basin National Park and the Grand Canyon together, and even camped during a snowstorm! They have two dachshunds, who they love like children. Tiffany is also a die hard OU fan and a fan of the Minnesota Vikings and Minnesota Wild.

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Gab at the Lab: Thomas Jones

Thomas Jones, Research Scientist (NSSL/CIMMS)

Thomas Jones

Background:Ph.D. Meteorology, University of Alabama - Huntsville (2006)
M.S. Meteorology, University of Oklahoma (2002)
B.S. Meteorology, University of Oklahoma (2000)
Experience:Thomas was born in Wichita Falls, Texas, where he was fascinated by the April 10, 1979 tornado. He grew up wanting to learn more about the weather, which eventually led him to pursue his degree in meteorology at the University of Oklahoma. He would go on to earn both a Master’s degree and a Ph.D. in the same field. During his graduate studies, Thomas wrote his Master’s thesis on radar derived mesocyclone climatologies. His Ph.D. dissertation at the University of Alabama - Huntsville focused on improving statistical hurricane intensity forecast models using passive microwave satellite observations. He remained in Huntsville until 2010 as a research scientist. There, he used satellite observations to measure aerosol radiative impacts, studied aerosol indicate effects on clouds and precipitation, and tracked smoke plumes with radar data. He particularly enjoyed writing the paper “Polarimetric radar observations of an apartment fire,” which was published in the Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology in 2009.
What He Does:Thomas returned to Norman in 2010 as a research and teaching associate with OU CIMMS. He is part of the Warn-on-Forecast group with NSSL, working to develop an improved system for hazardous weather warnings. In his research, Thomas assimilates high resolution clear-sky and cloudy satellite observations into high resolution Numerical Weather Prediction models. He is currently looking into opportunities to integrate radar and satellite observations into a combined observation data set.
Trivia: Thomas enjoys gardening, home improvement projects, fixing old clocks, and playing poker. He is a big fan of IndyCar racing, and tries to attend at least one race per year.

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Gab at the Lab: Alan Gerard

Alan Gerard, Deputy Division Chief, Warning Research & Development Division

Alan Gerard

Background:M.S. Emergency Management, Millersville University
B.S. Meteorology, St. Louis University
Experience:Alan was born in Granite City, Illinois, a suburb of St. Louis. He attended St. Louis University, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in meteorology. He then went on to earn his Master’s degree from Millersville University in Pennsylvania. At Millersville, Alan’s Capstone project was entitled “A Comparative Analysis of Tropical Cyclone Warning and Disaster Management Programs Worldwide.”

Prior to joining NSSL, Alan spent over 25 years as a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. He began his career in 1990 as an intern at the Weather Service Office in Columbus, Ohio, then spent three years as a forecaster in Cleveland, Ohio. In January 1996, he made the move to Jackson, Mississippi, where he was a Senior Forecaster for two years, then was promoted to Science and Operations Officer, and finally served as Meteorologist-in-Charge from 2002 until 2015.

Alan is a longtime, active member of the National Weather Association, and served as President of the organization in 2007. He is the current NWA Treasurer. Additionally, Alan has been a member of the American Meteorological Society for a number of years. He is currently working with the Board of Enterprise Communication.
What He Does:Alan came to NSSL in November 2015 as the Deputy Division Chief of the Warning Research and Development Division. During his long tenure with the National Weather Service, he experienced first-hand the impacts of significant severe weather events. He had been on the front lines during tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, and ice storms. He was involved in forecast operations during Hurricane Katrina and the April 2011 tornado outbreak. Having worked closely with those who try to keep people safe (Emergency Managers, public safety officials, etc.), he knew he wanted to help build society’s capacity to save lives and reduce weather impacts, not just in the United States, but around the world. With NSSL, he is able to assist with oversight on programs that are developing new warning techniques and methodologies for all types of weather hazards. Notably, Alan is taking the lead on the Forecasting A Continuum of Severe Threats (FACETs) program, a proposed next-generation watch and warning framework that is designed to communicate clear and simple hazardous weather information to the public. FACETs supports NOAA's Weather-Ready Nation initiative to build community resilience in the face of increasing vulnerability to extreme weather events.
Trivia: Having grown up near St. Louis, Alan is a big fan of the St. Louis Blues hockey team and the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team. When it comes to football, he roots for the Arizona Cardinals.

Alan is also an avid golfer, and is working on brushing up his game. While visiting his daughter during her overseas study in the U.K., he took advantage of the opportunity to attend The Open Championship.

Alan, his wife, and their two children all enjoy traveling. They especially like to visit Disney Parks, and have been to the resorts in Florida, California, and Paris!

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Gab at the Lab: Eddie Forren

Eddie Forren, Software Engineer (NSSL/CIMMS)

Eddie Forren

Background:B.S. Computer Science/Engineering, University of Oklahoma (1986)
Experience:Eddie earned his bachelor's degree in computer science in 1986, then began his career working on general accounting software at Oklahoma Gas & Electric. After seven years with OG&E, he moved on to a position in Wichita, Kansas with a small software company. He remained in Wichita until 1997, when he was hired by OU CIMMS as an open radar product generator (ORPG) developer and signal processing specialist with NSSL.
What He Does:Eddie focuses on radar enhancements with NSSL’s Radar Research and Development Division. Beyond his work on ORPG, he is also involved with developing real-time processing, recording, and playback for the National Weather Radar Testbed and KOUN radar. He is part of the team responsible for the Advanced Technology Demonstrator, an integral part of the Multi-Function Phased Array Radar program. Eddie is helping to design processes to allow for implementation of new radar features and improves formatting for the ATD product database and offline processing. He is particularly interested in database design and implementation, object oriented languages/web development technologies, C++ and high performance programming, and radar and computer graphics.
Trivia: Eddie was born in West Virginia, while his family was on vacation. By the time he reached high school, he had lived in 8 different states and Ankara, Turkey. His interests include sports of all kinds (basketball, bowling, golf, baseball, football), boating, and challenging himself to new activities. He recently started singing lessons to demonstrate to his sons that, with effort, you can always develop new strengths!
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Gab at the Lab: Jeff Brogden

Jeff Brogden, Software Engineer (NSSL/CIMMS)


Background:M.S. Computer Science, Kansas State University (1991)
B.S. Computer Science, Kansas State University (1989)
Dodge City Community College (1986)
Experience:Jeff was born and raised in Dodge City, Kansas. After graduating from high school, he continued his studies at the local community college. A friend persuaded him to apply to Kansas State University in Manhattan, where he went on to earn both a bachelor’s and Master’s degree in computer science. This eventually led to a position with Halliburton Energy Services, where Jeff’s career began. With Halliburton, he developed software for real-time systems at their research facility in Duncan, Oklahoma. In November 1997, Jeff was offered a job in Norman with NOAA’s National Severe Storms Laboratory through OU’s Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies.
What He Does:When Jeff was originally hired with NSSL, he worked on product decoding and user interface output for the Open Principal User Processor. Now, he works on the WDSS-II and Multi-Radar Multi-Sensor programs, providing support for the user interfaces, algorithms, and ingestors. Jeff was also instrumental in moving mPING onto a new server at the University of Oklahoma. He wrote a new android app for the project and is currently working on a new web display. He has done extensive work on a number of ingestors, including SIGMET, GRIB/GRIB2/RUC, NEXRAD Level II/III, and MesoNet, along with many more!
Trivia: Jeff enjoys spending time with his family. He has been married to his high school sweetheart for almost 28 years and they have two daughters, age 19 and 22. His favorite hobby is photography, which really took off when he completed a 365/Picture-A-Day Project in 2011. Jeff remains active in the community by volunteering his photography skills to help at-risk children through Teen Reach Adventure Camp. Feel free to contact Jeff ( for more information on how you can help too!
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Pam Heinselman Speaks at Women’s Conference

Pam Heinselman

Pam Heinselman, NSSL research scientist, was the invited keynote speaker at the 29th Annual Glenna Hazeltine Women in Mathematics and Science Conference April 5 at Millersville University in Pennsylvania. The conference encourages young women to pursue an education in science and mathematics by providing opportunities for them to meet with professional female role models.  Local schools select female students and teachers to attend through a process coordinated by their guidance counselors.

Heinselman has a Ph.D. in meteorology and more than 20 years of experience in the areas of weather radar, severe storms, and warning and forecast applications. She began her career with OU’s Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies in 1995, and became a full-time NOAA employee in 2009. That same year Heinselman was awarded the 2008 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. Currently, she is studying the impacts of rapid-scanning phased array radar, and is a principal investigator on the Phased Array Innovative Sensing Experiment at NSSL. Passionate about supporting females in science, Pam is an outstanding example of success and career advancement within NOAA.

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Gab at the Lab: Bim Wood

Bim Wood, Research Scientist

Bim Wood




Background:M.S. Meteorology, Texas A&M University (1977)
B.A. Meteorology, University of St. Thomas (Houston, TX) (1973)
Experience:Bim was born in Phoenix, Arizona, and grew up in Houston, Texas. He earned his degrees in meteorology from the University of St. Thomas in Houston and Texas A&M University. In 1976, he joined NOAA’s National Severe Storms Laboratory as a research scientist, helping to transfer new technologies into Federal Government weather operations. He used Doppler radar simulations for applied research for many years at the Lab. With this focus in mind, he was transferred from NSSL’s Warning Research and Development Division to the Radar Research and Development Division in 2011.
What He Does:Currently, Bim is collaborating with Bob Davies-Jones, an Emeritus at NSSL, on phased-array radar research. They are looking at how to improve tornado warnings through advanced understanding of mesocyclones. Bim has also been an important advocate for the deaf and hard-of-hearing community. In 2004, he was awarded the NOAA Gold Medal, along with Jim Papura (NWS), for instituting a program of disseminating NWS hazardous weather warnings through alphanumeric pagers.
Trivia: Bim and his wife, Nancy, were married in 1994. They adopted two daughters from China in the late 1990s.
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Gab at the Lab: Terry Schuur

Terry Schuur, Research Associate (NSSL/CIMMS)



Background:Ph.D. Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University (1996)
M.S. Meteorology, University of Oklahoma (1989)
B.A. Mathematics, Minor: Physics, University of Minnesota-Morris (1985)
Experience:Terry hails from Windom, Minnesota, a small farming town of ~4500 people in the western part of the state and home to the Toro company’s main manufacturing plant. He earned his bachelor’s degree in mathematics at the University of Minnesota Morris campus, with additional coursework in computer science, before making his way to Oklahoma for graduate school. At OU, Terry’s Master’s thesis was “An electrical and kinematic study of the stratiform cloud trailing an Oklahoma squall line.” After completing his degree, Terry spent two years working at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado. Similar to OU CIMMS, CIRES is a partnership between NOAA and the University of Colorado Boulder, devoted to research and teaching in the environmental sciences. While in Colorado, Terry returned to school at Colorado State University, earning his Ph.D. with a dissertation on “An observational and modeling study of mesoscale convective system electrification.”
What He Does:Terry joined OU CIMMS in 1997, and works collaboratively with scientists in the Radar Research and Development Division at NSSL. His primary research interests are radar meteorology, cloud physics, and atmospheric electricity. Currently, he is focusing on microphysical interpretation of polarimetric radar signatures. He is also working on developing new polarimetric algorithms and improving older designs, and he is involved with field studies to learn more about storm electricity.
Trivia: Terry's family origins can be traced to the Netherlands, where Schuur means “barn” in Dutch. His ancestors arrived at Ellis Island in April of 1912. On the return trip to Rotterdam, their ship, the S.S. Noordam, radioed the Titanic to warn of icebergs ahead. He is the first generation of his family who did not grow up speaking fluent Dutch, and he is the only one in his family (including cousins) to ever leave the state!

While he enjoys sports, hiking, reading, photography, and travel... these days, Terry considers himself mostly a chauffeur, coach, Disney Vacation Planner, and Master Lego Builder as he and his wife raise their young daughter.
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