Atmospheric Sciences Department Wins NEBHE Award

By: Rebecca Reese, News Editor

The New England Board of Higher Education (NEBHE) has chosen winners for the 14th Annual Education Excellence Awards and Lyndon State College has come out on top.

The Atmospheric Sciences department (ATM) will be taking home the Vermont State Merit award on March 4.

“I think this award is well earned,” Department of Atmospheric Sciences chair Jason Shafer said. “It recognizes the hard work of past and current faculty and staff, and our dedicated students.”

Simply stated, Shafer said, “It feels awesome.”

John O. Harvey of The New England Journal of Higher Education explained why the Atmospheric Science department earned this award.

The Atmospheric Sciences/Meteorology program has a 40-year history of producing quality graduates, who go on to careers as broadcast meteorologists, operational forecasters in the National Weather Service and for private industry, and other related sciences,” he said. “A unique aspect of the program is its diverse curriculum, including an increased focus on climate change.

The department moved from Belknap College in 1974. Shafer said, “with it came a large group of passionate students and dedicated faculty. This enthusiasm helped to build a culture of excellence that continues today.”

Depending on the students’ concentration there is a lot of room for hands on learning. Harvey says that these opportunities are one of the biggest reasons for the program’s success.

Alexis Walker is a sophomore in the Atmospheric Science major. She said that this is exactly why she chose to come to Lyndon State.

“My favorite part about being an ATM major is the hands on experiences we get,” Walker said. “For example, launching weather balloons and tracking the data. Being able to analyze something you did is pretty amazing. Last spring we had the Doppler on Wheels come by. But mainly  News 7. Being a broadcast concentration it’s phenomenal to have that experience in college! Most colleges don’t have that option of ‘real life’ news before they graduate and being able to do that with the Electronic Journalism department is something I love about my major!”

The program is one of the best around and it just shows!” Walker said. “I’m extremely proud of my department. We’ve gone through some rough patches but hard work and dedication pays off in the end.”

Moving forward, the department plans to keep striving for excellence.

“We are looking to expand our student base to include more students interested in climate change,” Shafer said.

Graduate’s success has also pushed the program to the winning spot.

“Graduates have gone on to impressive military careers such as conducting research and forecasting for take-offs and landings of the space shuttle and briefing generals at NATO headquarters in Germany,” Harvey said. “Other graduates are in high-profile positions at the National Weather Service or work as broadcast meteorologists in major local and national media markets. Lyndon’s award-winning student chapter of the American Meteorological Society/National Weather Association hosts the annual Northeastern Storm Conference, the largest and longest running student-organized event in the nation.”

The NEBHE annual awards celebration will be held at the Boston Marriott Long Wharf Hotel. Current and former ATM/MET faculty, as well as LSC President Joe Bertolino and several alumni will be in attendance.