I am an assistant research professor at Hampton University, where I teach atmospheric science and conduct research, mostly related to CALIPSO validation. I coordinate an international effort to exchange data between CALIPSO and 500 ground sites around the world. These sites -- which are on each continent, including Antarctica -- will collect data as CALIPSO passes overhead using ground-based lidars, sun photometers and radars. We will compare this data with actual CALIPSO data to test our confidence in the instruments. I am a member of the lidar science working group, and in addition to my role on the Science Team, I am the outreach science advisor. In this outreach role, I work with Dianne Robinson, outreach director, and Barb Maggi, the assistant director, to share CALIPSO-related science with students and teachers across the country and even around the world.
Image left: Shown here is Tom Kovacs, quid pro quo validation coordinator for CALIPSO.
What attracted you to the CALIPSO mission?
I really wanted to work on a satellite project, especially one involved in observing the atmosphere. I came to Hampton University and NASA from Penn State University where I was studying atmospheric chemistry, and I wanted to find a project that would take my interests to the next level.
What's your favorite part of your job?
Related to the CALIPSO mission, I most enjoy having the opportunity to talk to scientists around the world. In general, as an atmospheric scientist, what I enjoy most is working with students. I get to work with grad students; I get to mentor high school students; and, through CALIPSO outreach programs, I get to work with and speak to groups of younger students.
Tell us more about you...
In my college days at Northern Illinois University, I was involved in storm chasing. My friends and I would track and chase tornadoes and other storms. Unfortunately, we didn't actually get to see many tornadoes, but we did run into a lot of hail, rain and lightning. It was a lot of fun!