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SEC Butterfly Garden

SEC Buttefly Garden
SEC Butterfly Garden

When visiting the University of Oklahoma's campus it is easy to appreciate the beautiful landscaping that includes enthralling fountains, alluring flowers and brick buildings of grandeur. What you may not know is, tucked away on the 3rd floor of the Sarkey’s Plaza, lies a garden filled with native plants, cobblestone walkways and a butterfly garden that was once built in memory of the late Jennifer Wise.

Even in passing Jennifer continues to make an impact on students and the environment. Jennifer Wise was the Manager of Administration and Operations in the College of Geosciences at the time of her passing on April 22, 2000. Jennifer’s goal was to make a positive difference in the lives of others, which she accomplished admirably. She made this world a better place and continues to be sorely missed by friends and family. Before her passing, she was working on obtaining her bachelor’s degree at OU. In her memory, the Jennifer L. Wise Scholarship was established to assist women over 40 years of age in seeking a bachelor’s degree at the University of Oklahoma.

Bruce Hoagland, Associate Chair in the Department of Geography and Environmental Sustainability, refers to the butterfly garden as a "weigh station" for monarch butterflies. Each fall, millions of monarch butterflies begin to migrate from the United States to central Mexico. There they wait until the weather conditions are more favorable for a flight back home in the spring. 

“The monarch migration is truly one of the world's greatest natural wonders, yet it is threatened by habitat loss," said Hoagland. 

 These weigh stations are places that provide the resources necessary for monarchs to continue their migrations. They are filled with native plants that attract the monarchs and other pollinators. 

"If humans disappeared from the Earth the pollinators probably wouldn't notice," explains Hoagland, “but if pollinators disappeared from the Earth then we as humans would be in big trouble." 

While this species is incredibly important to our ecosystem, they are greatly underappreciated. Habitat loss is one of the many factors advancing their decline. This butterfly garden will have multiple uses. We are hoping to have QR codes displayed for guests to learn more about each plant and their role with the pollinators. We also want to use this garden for research with students at OU campus and Norman areas. 

TEAM, which stands for Tribal Environmental Action for Monarchs, has played a large role in assisting with the need for native plants and expertise for this project. 

 “TEAM, is a coalition of seven tribal partners — Chickasaw, Seminole, Citizen Potawatomi, Muscogee Creek, Osage, Eastern Shawnee and Miami Nations — who are restoring monarch habitats on their lands with the assistance of Monarch Watch and the Euchee Butterfly Farm. The TEAM coalition has restored over 50,000 milkweeds and 30,000 native wildflowers to date on 350 acres of habitat." (1)

 In recent years, efforts have been made to revitalize the butterfly garden on the Sarkeys Plaza. These efforts would not be possible without the help of many. To learn more about creating your own pollinator garden click here. To give in Memory of Jennifer L. Wise follow this link OU Foundation Giving and type in Jennifer Wise in the search area. If you would like to stay up to date about the butterfly garden and other events within A&GS make sure to follow our multiple social media platforms.



2019-2020 Academic Year

DGES Department Chair Dr. Scott Greene (left) and Associate Chair Dr. Bruce Hoagland (right)
DGES Department Chair Dr. Scott Greene (left) and Associate Chair Dr. Bruce Hoagland (right)

August 12, 2020

After a successful five-year tenure, Dr. Kirsten deBeurs has recently stepped down as chair of the Department of Geography and Environmental Sustainability (DGES). Her work and dedication helped to promote and advance DGES within the University. As she embarks on a well-deserved sabbatical, leadership of DGES has been assumed by Drs. Scott Greene and Bruce Hoagland, who were selected to serve as chair and associate chair, respectively. The pair of professors are not new to the halls of the Sarkey’s Energy Center. Dr. Greene arrived at OU in 1995, working for two years as a research scientist at the Oklahoma Climatological Survey. He joined the DGES faculty in 1997 and is now a full professor. Dr. Hoagland joined the faculty in 1996. He holds a dual appointment as a professor in DGES and coordinator of the Oklahoma Natural Heritage Inventory, a state agency that maintains spatial and population data for rare, threatened, and endangered species in the state.

Although the coronavirus pandemic presents unique challenges for both the College and DGES, Greene and Hoagland know that DGES students, staff, and faculty are resilient and prepared, and will collectively confront and overcome these challenges. Fostering an inclusive and diverse community within DGES is at the forefront of their vision. They hold true the belief that a community of engaged students and scholars not only enhances the academic experience for all, but also produces tangible outcomes that can be translated into action. The University of Oklahoma, the State, and the global community are beset by challenges large and small and the need for Geographers, Environmental Sustainability practitioners, and Geographic Information scientists has never been more acute. DGES is uniquely positioned to perform critical and necessary research and prepare students to accept leadership roles in confronting these challenges.  Greene and Hoagland’s guidance will keep DGES on the successful path forged by de Beurs.

AMS Awardees (L-R): Dr. Amy McGovern, Dr. Daphne LaDue, Dr. Fred Carr
AMS Awardees (L-R): Dr. Amy McGovern, Dr. Daphne LaDue, Dr. Fred Carr

August 11, 2020

Each year, the American Meteorological Society (AMS) recognizes outstanding individuals and organizations of the weather, water, and climate community through its Awards and Honors program. Last week, AMS announced that several members of the College of Atmospheric & Geographic Sciences (A&GS) were selected to receive four distinguished awards. 

Dr. Amy McGovern, a Professor in OU’s School of Computer Science and Adjunct Professor in the School of Meteorology, is joining a distinguished group of scientists from around the world by being selected as a Fellow of the AMS. Less than 1300 members have received this honor in the 101-year history of the organization. McGovern says of the honor, “I am very grateful to become an AMS fellow as it recognizes my work in combining artificial intelligence and weather research.”

The Robert H. and Joanne Simpson Mentorship Award is being given to Dr. Daphne LaDue in recognition of her “generous, thoughtful, and caring mentorship to students and their supervisors during more than 20 years of directing the Oklahoma Research Experience for Undergraduates program,” cited the AMS Council.  LaDue, a Senior Research Scientist in the Center for the Analysis and Prediction of Storms, noted that “running our NSF-funded Research Experiences for Undergraduates program has been a calling and vocation for me for sure. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to help 215 undergraduate students explore career options and try to figure out their next steps after their undergraduate degree. My life has been so much richer because of them!”

Dr. Fred Carr, Professor Emeritus in the School of Meteorology, is being recognized with the Cleveland Abbe Award for Distinguished Service to the Atmospheric and Related Sciences. This AMS award recognizes Carr for his tireless, selfless, wide-ranging service to the community that has an immeasurable impact on the nation’s weather, water, and climate efforts. “This honor is especially rewarding to me since it is for leadership and service to all sectors of the weather enterprise, and I am grateful that the AMS found me deserving of this award,” said Carr. 

The OU Student Chapter of AMS is being recognized as the student chapter of the year for providing students with unique career, education, and service opportunities. Their efforts help expand the reach of the chapter to benefit members, alumni, and the local community and the chapter receives this award for their hard work. OU Student Chapter President, Amanda Novak, said of the honor, “The Student Chapter award means so much to the organization and especially to the hard work that the previous year’s executive board completed with the addition of new events as well as a travel fund.  We are ecstatic to be recognized at a National level and we want to thank each and every one of our members for participating in the events and for making SCAN the organization that it is!”

When asked about these four awards, A&GS Dean Berrien Moore said, “I am almost speechless with pride to have the University of Oklahoma and the College of Atmospheric and Geographic Sciences win, in one year, four of these major awards from the American Meteorological Society. This is beyond extraordinary. We are honored to honor the OU Family with this recognition.”

All award recipients will be recognized at the 101st AMS Annual Meeting in January 2021. We are excited to celebrate with them.

The CLAMPS trailer deployed on June 12, 2017 in SE Wyoming and SW Nebraska.
The CLAMPS trailer deployed on June 12, 2017 in SE Wyoming and SW Nebraska. (Photo by Brandon Smith, OU CIMMS)

August 7, 2020

A study led by researchers from the University of Oklahoma aims to improve scientists’ understanding of how storms develop in densely populated coastal regions.

Petra Klein, professor in the School of Meteorology and executive associate dean in the College of Atmospheric and Geographic Sciences, leads the project team that includes scientists from the University of Wisconsin and two National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration laboratories located in Norman, Oklahoma, and Boulder, Colorado.

“As part of the Coastal Urban Boundary-layer Interactions with Convection proposal, we will collect comprehensive datasets documenting the environment in the lowest layer of the atmosphere, or the boundary layer, where clouds initiate, grow and decay,” Klein said. “Three unique profiling systems will be deployed and continuously operated for four months in the larger Houston area. We hypothesize that the interactions between sea-breezes and urban wind circulations affect the transport and mixing of aerosols­ (tiny particles that contribute to cloud formation) in the boundary layer.”

Klein adds that the resulting knowledge gained from the CUBIC project will provide critical insight into the processes that lead to the development of storms in densely populated coastal regions.

Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy as one of 31 new projects in atmospheric sciences aimed at improving the power of Earth system models to predict weather and climate, this research dives deeply into the nuances of cloud formation.

“Atmospheric processes leading to cloud formation and precipitation are notoriously complex and difficult to model accurately,” said Chris Fall, director of the DOE’s Office of Science, in a news release. “These studies, which combine observation and modeling, will be important steps toward more precise and predictive models on both regional and global scales.”

Projects were chosen by competitive peer review under the DOE Funding Opportunity Announcement, under the Atmospheric System Research Program (PDF), sponsored by the Office of Biological and Environmental Research, within the department’s Office of Science.

Berrien Moore, dean of the College of Atmospheric and Geographic Sciences and the director of the National Weather Center, said, “we are so very proud of this major DOE award received by Professor Petra Klein and a team of NOAA and university scientists to explore linkages between our planet’s atmospheric boundary layer with convection processes. Understanding better such linkages is central to improving the power of Earth system models to predict weather and climate. As such, we will all benefit from the cutting-edge work of this exciting project.”

Project PIs: (top left, clock-wise) Dr. Cassandra Shivers-Williams, Dr. Petra Klein, Dr. Elinor Martin, Dr. Scott Greene, Dr. Daphne LaDue.
Project PIs: (top left, clock-wise) Dr. Cassandra Shivers-Williams, Dr. Petra Klein, Dr. Elinor Martin, Dr. Scott Greene, Dr. Daphne LaDue.

July 24, 2020

We are excited to announce that a project proposed by an A&GS team was one of eleven research projects selected to receive seed funding from OU’s Office of the Vice President for Research and Partnerships RFP to study topics that address inequities in academic research and creative activity.  Dr. Petra Klein, professor in the School of Meteorology and Executive Associate Dean in the College of Atmospheric and Geographic Sciences, serves as Lead PI on the project: “Identifying inequities and cultural biases within A&GS to facilitate inclusivity and improving student experiences.”  Collaborating with diverse scientists who are all committed to seeing and making meaningful and sustainable changes for students within A&GS regarding diversity, equity, and inclusion was critical for making the proposal a success and will be essential for successfully completing this project.  Dr. Elinor Martin, School of Meteorology; Dr. Cassandra Shivers-Williams, Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies; Dr. Daphne LaDue, Center for Analysis and Prediction of Storms; and Dr. Scott Greene, Department of Geography and Environmental Sustainability serve as Co-PIs.  This research project aims to identify inequities within the social climate of A&GS, propose recommendations and action plans for addressing these inequities, and offer sustainable solutions for lasting change.

This research will utilize a mixed-method approach to identify inequities and cultural biases within A&GS and propose actions that the College can take to address these issues.  The team has designed data collection efforts—surveys, focus groups, and a college-wide retreat—to be led by Co-PIs Shivers-Williams and LaDue, who are from non-academic parts of our college.  These PIs both have experience studying and witnessing inequities in a variety of academic environments and are committed to an impartial examination of the particular issues that are present within A&GS.  Further, participants’ anonymity and confidentiality will be protected during all phases of research.  The college and the faculty involved in this project are committed to creating lasting change and this work will produce ways that A&GS can effectively improve inclusivity, enhance student experiences, and create culturally diverse mentoring programs.

Virtual Climate 101 Workshop, for resource managers to learn about climate projections and regional climate impacts.

July 21, 2020

The South Central Climate Adapation Science Center (CASC) planned to host a Climate 101 Workshop in April, but the global pandemic put plans on hold. However, taking the workshop online proved to expand the reach for participants. Now that the Climate 101 Workshop is virtual, the South Central CASC is able to put on not one, but two sessions! The first will be held July 22-23 and the second is scheduled for August 11-12, 2020. The July workshop is already filled to capacity and the August session is filling up fast. The workshop is open to resource managers focused on learning about climate projections and regional climate impacts across the South-Central U.S. The workshop will be held over Zoom and include interactive presentations with climate scientists.

Registration is limited to 25 participants.

Register Here

A close-up of the two-spotted bumblebee.  (Photo courtsey of OKC Zoo and
A close-up of the two-spotted bumblebee. (Photo courtsey of OKC Zoo and

July 21, 2020

José Montalva, a graduate student in OU's Department of Geography and Environmental Sustainability, has been conducting a survey of bees at the OKC Zoo.  José's exciting research was featured on the KFOR (Channel 4) website. Click the button below to read more about the two-spotted bumblebee.

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The 2020 participants of the NWC REU program attend a virtual tour of the Radar Innovations Laboratory hosted by Dr. Robert Palmer via Zoom.
The 2020 participants of the NWC REU program attend a virtual tour of the Radar Innovations Laboratory hosted by Dr. Robert Palmer via Zoom.

July 1, 2020

The NWC REU program, which is funded through grants from the National Science Foundation, gives students at universities across the country the opportunity to collaborate with mentors in their field of study. Organized by CAPS, the program is headed by Dr. Daphne LaDue and her research assistant, Alex Marmo. Program mentors come from the Norman weather and climate community, and are partnered with REU students based on research interests. Alex had the following to say about this year's program:

The virtual 2020 NWC REU has definitely been different, although this years mentors and participants have been enthusiastic with the continuation of our program. We have put together virtual tours and seminars that have given us the opportunity to talk to even more people across various organizations! The program is at its halfway mark and the students are well into their research projects. They are all facing challenges working remotely, but they are grateful to be able to participate. The students gave their practice talks this week in preparation of final presentations that will be held July 21-24. It was so nice to see their progress with their projects and the confidence they've built working in the research environment.

Below is a list of this years REU participants and mentors along with their research projects:

REU 2020 Participants

Master of Science in Geospatial Technology now offered online. Now offering our online M.S. in geospatial technology.

May 29, 2020

Geographic technologies are revolutionizing the way business, science, and government policy is carried out. If you are looking to enter this growing field or looking to gain a competitive edge, we have exciting news to share with you. We are now offering our M.S. in Geospatial Technology in an online, accelerated format that can be finished in as little as 21 months. This program will prepare you for geospatial technology-related career opportunities in fields as diverse as agriculture, public zoning, ecology, and financial services. If you would like to learn more about the program, please visit

May 22, 2020

Congratulations to all of our 2020 A&GS Graduates! Their hard work and dedication are inspiring and we look forward to staying in contact with them! You can celebrate with them and see virtual commencement by clicking the button below:

Virtual Commencement 2020

Special congratulations to Maya Henderson (BA in ES with Special Distinction, 4.0, spring 2020) who was invited to join PE-ET. This is a big honor and very few A&GS students have ever been asked to joining this prestigious group.

May 8, 2020

We would like to announcement the new course requirements for Department of Geography & Environmental Sustainability (DGES) Bachelor of Science degrees. If you would like more information on the recent changes to these requirements, please contact Jamie Steele via email:

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April 23, 2020

The tradition of recognizing the academic achievements of students majoring in geography, geographic information science, environmental sustainability, and meteorology began in 1999, when the first awards celebration took place in the college.  This annual event formally honors undergraduates and graduate students who have won scholarships, fellowships, or other academic honors during the previous year. 

We are deeply grateful to all our donors and supporters for providing scholarship opportunities to our students.  These funds have a direct and noticeable impact on students’ lives.

Please join us in congratulating our honorees!

List of 2020 Honorees (PDF)

Professor Guifu Zhang, School of Meteorology.

April 23, 2020

Dr. Guifu Zhang is a professor in the School of Meteorology, as well as an adjunct faculty member in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering. His primary research focus is radar polarimetry and interferometry for weather quantification and forecasting. Zhang’s colleagues agree that he is a rare breed of theoretical and experimental researcher alike. He has ingenious inspiration when it comes to the design of novel hardware, the implementation of new calibration techniques and the development of new inversion algorithms for these observation systems. Since joining OU in 2005, Zhang has published over 100 referred journal articles with his students and colleagues. His efforts as a PI or Co-PI have resulted in more than $19 million in research funds to the University, and nearly $4 million total personal research expenditures.

Professor Amy McGovern

Dr. Amy McGovern joined the OU faculty in 2005 in the School of Computer Science and became an adjunct faculty member of the School of Meteorology in 2006. She consistently excels in teaching, service and interdisciplinary research, primarily between Computer Science and Meteorology and was the 2019 recipient of the Vice President for Research Award for Interdisciplinary Scholarship. Her research focuses on developing machine learning and data science techniques that enable scientists to fundamentally transform their understanding and prediction of complex phenomena. She and her students work on improving the prediction of tornadoes, hail, severe wind, aircraft turbulence, floods, and droughts. McGovern has been PI or Co-PI on over $11.5 million of external funding since arriving at OU.

List of All OU Award Recipients

Addison Alford (L) and Jordan Christian (R), School of Meteorology

April 16, 2020

Congratulations to Addison Alford (left) and Jordan Christian (right) on receiving the Mergler Fellowship, and the Bullard Fellowship, respectively. These fellowships mark the final stages of dissertation writing for Ph.D. candidates, and recognize outstanding research projects. Alford is advised by Dr. Mike Biggerstaff, and Christian is advised by Dr. Jeff Basara. These hand-selected candidates will receive financial assistance as they work to finish their dissertation writing.

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Dr. Xu Lu, School of Meteorology

April 15, 2020

Congratulations to Dr. Xu Lu on being awarded the University of Oklahoma Provost’s Dissertation Prize! Dr. Lu’s work with Dr. Xuguang Wang, involving tropical cyclone prediction using data assimilation, was rewarded with a $1,000 prize as well as an award certificate.

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Dr. Scott Salesky, School of Meteorology

April 10, 2020

Congratulations to Dr. Scott Salesky on receiving a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant! His grant supports research focused on turbulence and cloud microphysics in collaboration with Michigan Tech in Houghton, MI. Dr. Salesky and a graduate student plan to spend two summers at Michigan Tech conducting research in a unique cloud laboratory.  NSF has awarded over $220,000 for this research.

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Jordan Christian, School of Meteorology

April 10, 2020

Congratulations to Ph.D. candidate Jordan Christian for being recognized as an outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant! His dedication to teaching labs is very evident, and he will receive a $1,000 prize with his certificate award.

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Dr. Kevin Droegemeier

April 8, 2020

Congratulations to Dr. Kelvin Droegemeier who was named the National Science Foundation’s acting director effective March 31, 2020. Dr. Droegemeier took a leave of absence from OU's School of Meteorology, on being named Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy by President Trump.

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Nathan Lis, School of Meteorology

March 29, 2020

Congratulations to Nathan Lis on receiving the Best Student Paper Award at the 2020 AMS Conference on Aviation, Range, and Aerospace Meteorology! Nathan is a current M.S. student in the School of Meteorology, and is mentored by Dr. Heather Reeves (NOAA) and Dr. Guifu Zhang (OU).

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Dr. Xuguang Wang, School of Meteorology

March 9, 2020

Congratulations to Dr. Xuguang Wang and her recent invitation to join the World Meteorological Organization’s (WMO) working group focused on Predictability, Dynamics, and Ensemble Forecasting. This working group promotes research on weather, and the impact it has on society today. Dr. Wang’s expertise in the field of data assimilation and predictability will be a valuable addition to this group.

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Dr. Elinor Martin, School of Meteorology

March 4, 2020

Congratulations to Dr. Elinor Martin on receiving an NSF CAREER grant!  Dr. Martin plans to advance the understanding and ability to predict precipitation variability. The educational component of the project  focuses on students' identities to built a diverse, equitable, and inclusive STEM community. Dr. Martin and her team have been awarded nearly one million dollars to fund this project.

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Dr. Howard Bluestein, School of Meteorology

February 24, 2020

Congratulations to Dr. Howie Bluestein on his 2-year grant to further investigate tornado structure! His graduate students, including Ph.D. candidate Dylan Reif, will be able to continue their studies with support from this NSF grant. Two researchers from OU's Advanced Radar Research Center (ARRC), Dr. David Bodine and Dr. Boon Leng Cheong, serve as investigators on the project.

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South Central Climate Adaptation Science Center Logo, depicting the organization’s name and a scissor-tailed flycatcher against a blue sky background.

December 9, 2019

We are excited to announce that the University of Oklahoma (OU) will continue to host the South Central Climate Adaptation Science Center for the next 5 years! This extension was made possible after we won a $4.5 million grant from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to continue the Center’s stay in Norman, Oklahoma. The Center’s researchers help decision makers across Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana, and New Mexico to apply cutting-edge science, data, and tools to prepare for climate extremes, like droughts, floods, and heat waves.

“We have seen devastating wildfires, extraordinary drought conditions, extensive flooding, and other climate-related disasters just in the past five years across our region,” says Renee McPherson, University Director of the South Central Climate Adaptation Science Center and OU associate professor of geography and environmental sustainability. “We know that the costs and damages of these disasters are rising. Now is the time to build resilience in our communities, water resources, coastal environments, forests, and other landscapes. The Climate Adaptation Science Center gathers many of the top scientists in the south-central United States and targets their work on science that helps us combat these climate extremes.”

Since the Center’s establishment in 2012, the Center’s scientists have partnered with decisionmakers on a variety of research topics. For example, researchers mapped wildfire likelihood to assist fire mangers in preparing for wildfire events. Others investigated the impacts of a changing climate on snowpack, streamflow, native wildlife, or invasive plants to develop planning scenarios for managers. Additionally, the Center has studied ways to effectively monitor soil moisture and drought conditions to help decision makers be proactive in extreme hot and dry conditions. By identifying how climate extremes are likely to affect the south-central U.S. in the coming decades, the science team can help resource managers build resilience in their national or state parks, wildlife refuges, tribes, communities, or other jurisdictions.

The South Central Climate Adaptation Science Center has worked extensively with tribes and pueblos. Center scientists have conducted research with tribes on their lands and waters, provided scientific expertise for development of tribal adaptation strategies, and hosted over 50 scientific trainings for tribal staff, elders, educators, and students. The tribal trainings have served over 550 tribal attendees for more than 5,000 contact hours. In 2015, the U.S. Secretary of the Interior honored the Center with an Environmental Achievement Award for increasing tribal capacity for climate change adaptation.

Through funding from the USGS, OU, and the Oklahoma NASA Space Grant Consortium, Center scientists also produced a series of 60 short videos that explain climate change, its impacts on ecosystems and various sectors of society, and techniques to help adapt to climate extremes. The video series is entitled Managing for a Changing Climate and is featured on the Center’s YouTube channel (

Another important emphasis of the Center has been educating and mentoring a diverse group of next-generation scientists and resource managers. The Center’s research programs provide opportunities for students and early-career scientists to work directly with decision makers across the region. Mentorship programs have included a summer undergraduate internship program for traditionally underrepresented students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. During this program, students from across the south-central U.S. spend three weeks visiting major research universities and learning about the wide range of climate impacts on the region. Additionally, we have hosted three one-week workshops focused on early-career professionals to mentor them in how to conduct scientific research in partnership with resource managers. Finally, through the generosity of an anonymous donor, the Center sponsored a need-based international studies scholarship to aid OU students interested in environmental programs in pursuing a summer study abroad program.

It is our vision that we lead our region in understanding climate impacts and climate adaptation related to natural and cultural resource management. In the next five years, we plan to continue our innovative research and mentoring efforts with some new programs and partnerships. To stay up to date with our recent activity, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter (

The South Central Climate Adaptation Science Center is one of eight regional centers funded by the USGS. Their collective mission is to “deliver science to help fish, wildlife, water, land and people adapt to a changing climate.” Members of the South Central Climate Adaptation Science Center are the University of Oklahoma (lead institution), Chickasaw Nation, Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, Texas Tech University, Louisiana State University, University of New Mexico, and Oklahoma State University. For further information about the Center, click the button below:

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 Phi Beta Kappa Key in gold, with the organization’s initials in Greek stamped onit.

Heartiest congratulations to the A&GS majors listed below on their invitation to join Phi Beta Kappa this spring.  An invitation to join Phi Beta Kappa is considered one of the greatest academic achievements an undergraduate student can earn.  Phi Beta Kappa is the oldest and most prestigious academic honor society in the United States, founded at the College of William and Mary on December 5, 1776 with the mission of “fostering and recognizing excellences” for undergraduate students pursuing degrees in the liberal arts and sciences.  Membership is offered to just 10% of college graduates every year.


Iain Bennett, B.S. in Geography, Summa cum Laude, Spring 2019

Emily Lenhardt, B.S. in Meteorology & B.S. in Mathematics, Summa cum Laude,
Spring 2019

Morgan Schneider, B.S. in Meteorology, Summa cum Laude, 4.0, Spring 2019  

 The name OU Research News

Jana Smith, Director of Strategic Communications for R&D

NORMAN - The University of Oklahoma-led Southern Climate Impacts Planning Program, a multi-institutional stakeholder driven research team, is the recipient of a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration grant totaling $2.3 million over three years. SCIPP was established in 2008 to help south central U.S. communities build resilience to weather and climate extremes. The OU-led SCIPP is one of 11 NOAA Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessment teams across the country covering the states of Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas and coastal Mississippi.

"The challenges of managing ever-increasing extremes in weather across the region is both a physical and social challenge," said Mark Shafer, lead for SCIPP. "We need to continue advancing our understanding of physical challenges, such as the extreme rainfall in Hurricane Harvey in 2017 and in Louisiana in 2016. We also need to know how it affects communities and what capacities those communities have to prepare and respond. The project allows us to investigate both of these aspects, working closely with community partners to bring science outside of the universities and helping communities become more resilient to such extremes."

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 Environmental Sustainability major Maya Henderson (Class of 2020) presents at 2019 DOPE Conference in Kentucky.
Maya Henderson

Congratulations to Maya Henderson, Class of 2020, who presented Constructing Green Cities at the ninth annual Dimensions of Political Ecology 2019 Conference (DOPE 9), which took place February 21-23 at the University of Kentucky in Lexington.  DGES Assistant Professor Mary Lawhon is Maya’s faculty mentor and also attended the conference.

Maya’s presentation prompted many thoughtful questions from the audience on this very timely topic.  She also made a number of new contacts at the conference, including a faculty member from Ohio State University, who encouraged her to apply for their graduate program.  

Perhaps the biggest takeaway for Maya was learning more about geography as a field of study and political ecology as a lens and framework. 

“I had yet to be formally introduced to this lens and was very interested in their combination. This conference helped me visualize where I could and would like to go with my academic work. By watching presentations and sitting in on panels, I was able to get an idea of what work is being done and the best ways to formulate my own interests into prominent research.”

Maya was a recipient of an A&GS Undergraduate Student Travel Award, which greatly helped to fund her trip.

 Dr. Douglas Lilly, sporting an infectious smile and a full white beard.
Dr. Douglas K. Lilly

As a beloved professor, mentor, and friend, Dr. Lilly focused on stratocumulus clouds; significantly enhancing our understanding of large-scale weather patterns that led to our current ability to forecast storms.

He worked for the U.S. Weather Bureau in Washington, D.C., at the National Center for Atmospheric Research and the NOAA Administration in Boulder, Colo., and finally as a professor at the OU School of Meteorology.

In 1993, he received the prestigious Symons Gold Medal from the Royal Meteorological Society and in 1999 was elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences, one of the highest honors that can be accorded to a scientist.

Sadly, this past June, we lost Dr. Lilly to a long-term illness. A scholarship has been established in his name at the OU Foundation that will help benefit students for years to come.

Get ready to double your impact! Due to the generosity of Drs. Fred and Meg Carr we are launching a matching campaign. The Carrs have graciously pledged $10,000 to the Douglas K. Lilly Scholarship if we can raise that same amount, so donate now! 

Click here to donate

 SoM graduate students awarded at the 2019 AMS meeting in Phoenix
SoM 2019 AMS Presentation Winners

Graduate students Bo Huang and Xu Lu were awarded for their outstanding presentations at the 2019 American Meteorological Society (AMS) Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona. Both students are part of the MAP (Multiscale data Assimilation and Predictability) research group in the School of Meteorology, led by Dr Xuguang Wang.

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 Wedding photo of Matt Flournoy and Kenzie Krocak
Matt Flournoy and Kenzie Krocak

School of Meteorology Ph.D. students Matt Flournoy and Kenzie Krocak have had a busy year. In addition to being married earlier this year, they will be co-chairing the AMS Student Conference at the Annual Meeting in January 2019.

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 James Worden standing by his AGU poster presentation
James Worden

Attending the American Geophysical Union’s (AGU) Fall meeting was a terrific experience.  I was granted the opportunity to present and discuss my research to other colleagues that have interest in the field.  This conference gave me a chance to meet and speak with the authors of the research that established the foundations that my work is based upon.  While presenting my research, I gained valuable insight into ways that I can strengthen and improve the techniques applied in my research.  The comments and suggestions I received, increased my understanding of the advantages and disadvantages of the methods employed, to allow for a more robust defense of the conclusions that are obtained within my research.  The presentation of my research is but only one part of the AGU experience.  Throughout the conference, I was able to learn about the new products that will be coming available in the future from a wide range of agencies and organizations, find potential graduate school programs and employment that specialize in my interests, and attend forums in which researchers spoke about their research and upcoming projects.  For me, the American Geophysical Union Fall meeting has been a wonderful experience and I would recommend it to anyone who is interested.

 DGES faculty to serve on Advisory Group for the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC). CEC. CCA. CCE.

Three DGES faculty have been selected to serve on an Extreme Events Advisory Group for the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC).  CEC is a high-level collaboration between the US (led by EPA), Mexico and Canada, established through the 1994 North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation to facilitate and implement cooperation among the Parties to conserve, protect, and enhance the North American environment, promote sustainable development, and support the environmental goals and objectives of the North American Free Trade Agreement.  Drs. Mark Shafer, Randy Peppler, and Renee McPherson have been selected to serve on the 15-member U.S. contingent of the Advisory Group.

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