Valpo students are expanding the world’s knowledge about weather phenomena.
With superb tools and rigorous training, students in Valpo’s meteorology program have opportunities to investigate brand-new research questions. The often dramatic weather events of Northwest Indiana, from lake-effect snow to tornadoes, offer a rich source of research material, and students produce research that adds to the store of knowledge that ultimately helps make communities safer.
Instruction in research methods begins in the classroom, and the department encourages majors to progress through research-based class projects to independent research. Students learn how to frame research questions, design projects, collect and analyze data, and present it in oral, written and visual formats. Because communicating research findings is an important part of professional practice, students are encouraged to present their research at academic and professional conferences throughout the midwest and occasionally beyond. These gatherings introduce students to the world and the work of professionals in the field, inspiring a lifelong interest in research and a thorough understanding of various geographic methods and techniques.
Honors work is designated for students of exceptional ability who may benefit by earning a limited number of the credits required for graduation through supervised independent study rather than through regular course work. Students who apply for Honors Work should understand that their work will be evaluated according to the highest standards of scholarly achievement.
A student who has completed at least 80 credit hours, but has not yet entered upon the work of the last two semesters, and who has a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.00 and a grade point average in the major of at least 3.50, may apply through the major department or program committee for admission to Honors Work. To apply, the student must submit a plan for a major independent project that will be undertaken under the supervision of a member of the major department or program. The application form, which requires the student to articulate the independent project briefly, clearly, and with a timetable and modest bibliography, is available in the Dean’s Office.
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An especially exciting event for Valpo students is the Celebration of Undergraduate Scholarship, an annual student research conference sponsored by the University. Geography students present research covering a broad range of topics at this gathering. A sampling of geography research presentations from a recent celebration:
- "‘Sounding’ Like Lake-Effect Snow: Evaluating the Thermodynamic and Synoptic Setup of Northwest Indiana Lake-Effect Events Using Local Profiles and Numerical Modeling," by Adam Brainard, Russell Danielson, Kaitlyn Heinlein, Kevin Wagner, and Assistant Professor Kevin Goebbert
- "Synoptic and Lake-Effect Classification of Snowfall in the Lake Michigan Region: Deriving Clarity Using WRF Simulations," by Alex Caruthers and Ryan Connelly
- "Interannual and Seasonal Variability of Tropical Cyclone Genesis in the Northwest Australia Basin," by Eleanor Delap, Nathan Kelly, Mallory Row, Zachary Sefcovic, and Assistant Professor Kevin Goebbert
- "Synoptic and Lake-Effect Classification of Snowfall in the Lake Michigan Region," by Eleanor Delap, Sarah Fingerle, Kaitlyn Heinlein, Allison Young, and Assistant Professor Craig Clark
- "Exploration of Synoptic-Scale Patterns in Early-Season Snowfall Around the Lake Michigan Region," by Andrew VanDe Guchte, Zachary Sefcovic, and Assistnat Professors Kevin Goebbert and Craig Clark
- "Forecasting and Intercepting the 28 May 2013 Bennington, KS Tornadic Supercell: A Student Perspective," by Kevin Wagner