VIRGINIA KEY, FL (November 16, 2006) -- A University of Miami undergraduate meteorology student has stood out within the Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS). Michael Hernandez, a junior from Miami, was awarded Outstanding Student Poster in the geosciences category at the SACNAS national conference in Tampa, Fla. in October. The poster, titled "Comparison of CHAMP Radio Occultations with Global Model Forecasts: 2005 Hurricane Season," detailed research Hernandez completed last summer.
As a Significant Opportunities in Atmospheric Research and Science (or SOARS) protégé, Hernandez is part of a program that combines research internship, mentoring, and learning community approaches in an effort to increase minority participation in atmospheric and related sciences. The program offers financial support for research endeavors in all sciences from chemistry to engineering to ecology, primarily to historically under-represented groups of students, for up to four years. SOAR protégés participate in summer mentoring programs in Boulder, Colo., designed to collect and present original research, receiving stipends, round-trip travel, summer residences and additional travel support for research presentations.
A junior majoring in meteorology and applied mathematics, Hernandez recently completed his first summer with the SOARS program. Under the guidance of Dr. Sharan Majumdar, University of Miami Rosenstiel School research assistant professor, he is working on his senior thesis, investigating why hurricane Katrina turned south "when moving on shore in South Florida" and whether there were any signs of this movement before 5 pm on Thursday, Aug. 28, when it was first reported. He received funding via the AMS 21st Century Campaign. Hernandez is already applying to graduate school where he plans to work on a project that will assimilate COSMIC satellite data into hurricane forecast models.
Rosenstiel School is part of the University of Miami and, since its founding in the 1940s, has grown into one of the world's premier marine and atmospheric research institutions.
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