Written by Ben Houser
SPoRT is home to several graduate researchers, who are each working on completing the research required to earn their master’s degrees. Previously, we featured Sebastian Harkema’s trip to NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility as a forecaster for the IMPACTS campaign. This week, we are spotlighting the work of another graduate student: Angela Burke. Angela has completed a bachelor’s degree in Earth System Science with a concentration in Atmospheric Science at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, and is now working on exciting research with SPoRT.
Angela Burke is now a graduate researcher, but began working for SPoRT as an undergraduate in 2016. Her current research concerns issues with the algorithms used to create SPoRT imagery products from the GOES-R satellite series’ Advanced Baseline Imager; the ABI is the series’ primary instrument responsible for imaging Earth’s weather and climate. Sometimes, the ABI picks up signals from the surface that mimic the signal SPoRT’s algorithms associate with a low cloud, creating a “false alarm” in the data. Angela is hoping to understand and correct these false alarms, especially in SPoRT’s Nighttime Microphysics RGB product.
Angela’s favorite part of working with SPoRT has been the unique opportunities it has provided. Since she began her undergraduate degree at UAH, Angela has quickly made a name for herself in the field of atmospheric science, and SPoRT has been there in support along the way. Angela began working at SPoRT in the fall of her sophomore year, and the following spring she was awarded the competitive NOAA Hollings Undergraduate Scholarship, which earned her a ten-week research position at NOAA’s Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere, in Fort Collins, Colorado. In the summer of 2017, Angela interned at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, where she collaborated with SPoRT to analyze satellite imagery of power outages after natural disasters. In the summer of 2019, Angela worked at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, where she researched Jupiter’s polar atmosphere. Angela’s time at SPoRT has provided her with research opportunities, support, and professional connections.
Angela seems to have a bright future ahead of her. She plans on finishing up her master’s degree with SPoRT, hopefully fixing the Nighttime Microphysics RGB imaging issue while she is at it. After completing her masters, Angela plans to pursue a PhD in Planetary Science.