Alumni Spotlight

Alumni Spotlight


KurdzoJim Kurdzo received his undergraduate degree in meteorology from Millersville University in 2009. Afterward, he began his graduate work in meteorology at Oklahoma University (OU), where he earned his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in 2011 and 2015, respectively. Jim completed his postdoctoral fellowship at the OU Advanced Radar Research Center in 2016. Later that same year, Jim accepted a position as a Technical Staff member at the MIT Lincoln Laboratory, where he studies applications of polarimetric, rapid-scanning, and phased-array weather radars to a plethora of meteorological topics.


Jim has served as Chair of the American Meteorological Society Local Chapter Affairs Committee, a member of the AMS Committee on Radar Meteorology, a member of the AMS Board on Outreach and Informal Education, an Associate Editor for AMS Monthly Weather Review, a member of the AMS Beacon's program, a member of the AMS Subcommittee on Membership, a Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, and a reviewer for various AMS, IEEE, AGU, and IET journals, as well as a reviewer for the National Science Foundation. He is the co-chair of the upcoming 2023 AMS Conference on Radar Meteorology. He was awarded the MIT Lincoln Laboratory Early Career Technical Achievement award in 2022. Read more >>

Dr. Melissa A. Burt - Assistant Dean for Diversity and Inclusion

dr-burt.jpgAfter receiving my B.S. in Meteorology in 2005 from Millersville University, I started my graduate work in Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University (CSU). In 2008, I completed my M.S. degree and accepted a position at CSU with the National Science Foundation Science and Technology Center, CMMAP, the Center for Multiscale Modeling of Atmospheric Processes, as the Education and Diversity Manager.

As of March 2022, I am the Assistant Dean for Diversity and Inclusion in the Walter Scott Jr. College of Engineering at Colorado State University. I lead the strategic planning and implementation efforts for diversity, inclusion and equity goals across the College and have an active role in university-wide diversity and inclusion initiatives. In the Department of Atmospheric Science, I will continue to serve as the Director for the Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program and support other diversity and inclusion efforts, including support of student recruiting. The American Meteorological Society honored me with the Charles E. Anderson Award in 2021 for promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion within the geosciences community and beyond. In 2022, I was appointed to the department faculty as an assistant professor.

Outside of CSU, I am the Vice-President for the non-profit organization, the Earth Science Women’s Network (ESWN). ESWN is an international peer-mentoring network of women in the Earth Sciences, many of whom are in the early stages of their careers. Our mission is to promote career development, build community, provide opportunities for informal mentoring and support and facilitate professional collaborations. Read more >>

dr. shane Mayor - professor of meteorology at univerisity of california, chico

shane mayorDr. Shane Mayor received his undergraduate degree in Meteorology from Millersville University in 1990 and his M.S. in Meteorology from Saint Louis University in 1995. Afterward, he attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he earned his Ph.D. in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences in 2001. He was post-doctoral fellow in the Advanced Studies Program of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and an atmospheric scientist in NCAR's Earth Observing Laboratory (EOL) before becoming an Associate Professor in the Earth and Environmental Sciences Department at Chico in 2008. He maintains and uses the Raman-shifted Eye-safe Aerosol Lidar (REAL) at Chico State and has been the principal investigator of several grants from the National Science Foundation's Physical and Dynamic Meteorology program. He is an AMS board certified consulting meteorologist.

Mayor received Chico's Outstanding Research Mentor Award in 2022 for his enthusiastic support of both undergraduate and graduate students from differing backgrounds and majors, devoting his time, energy, and expertise to guide, encourage, and trust them with various atmospheric lidar projects. A creative and dedicated researcher known for his big heart, Mayor is praised for his ability to explain difficult concepts in an easy-to-understand fashion and the independence he gives students to make their own decisions and learn from their mistakes. Mayor’s students are a diverse group, coming from not only the geological and environmental sciences department but also mechanical engineering, computer science, physics, and electrical engineering. He offers these students unique opportunities to form critical professional skills and advance their scientific knowledge, thus leading them into becoming confident and capable scientists.

Frank Coons - USAF Aerial Reconnaissance Weather Observer

frank-coons.jpgFrank Coons studied meteorology (before it was a formal program) and wrestled when Millersville University was a State Teachers College. Upon graduation, Frank went to UCLA for the U.S. Air Force program to educate individuals to serve as Detachment Weather Officers who would forecast for USAF bases and brief pilots heading to overseas missions. After a several years, Frank became an Aerial Reconnaissance Weather Observer, flying over 4000 hours in a WB-50 sampling atmospheric conditions. After the WB-50 was retired, Frank provided weather support for refueling tanker operations. After a year of graduate studies at Penn State, Frank joins the Air Weather Service Headquarters where he worked on fog dispersal. He left the USAF in 1972 and joined the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Systems Research and Development Service where he worked on warm fog dispersal techniques, low-level wind shear detection. “Those were exciting times and I am proud to say I was part of them,” says Frank. Now approaching 90, he is still trying to support further improvements as demonstrated by his generous donation. Frank’s gift will go toward improving the electronic weather map wall used each day by scores of students, and to purchase a weather sensor used for remote field deployment. Thank you Frank!

Scott Jacobs - NOAA/NWS/NCEP/NCO

Scott JacobsAfter graduating from MU in June 1988, I attended graduate school at SUNY Albany. I received my MS in Atmospheric Science, with an emphasis on atmospheric electricity, in May 1992. Meanwhile, I had started working at NASA Goddard writing software for the GEMPAK system. After 8 months at NASA, I moved to the National Weather Service to continue working on GEMPAK and adapting it for operational use by the forecasters. I worked on creating NMAP2 and writing code for data decoders and displays of different data types, including imagery. In 2003, I became the software architect for the NAWIPS/GEMPAK software package. I spent over 10 years as the architect for GEMPAK and began the transition of GEMPAK functionality to the AWIPS system. Most recently, I have been leading a team of systems analysts who work on operationalizing various NOAA applications. The applications run in a virtual environment and are monitored 24x7 by the team.

Dr. Jose Fuentes - Professor of Meteorology at Penn State

Dr. Jose FuentesMillersville University alumnus (Meteorology 1984), Jose D. Fuentes, is the recipient of the 2015 Charles E. Anderson Award granted by the American Meteorological Society “for his outstanding contributions to the promotion of diversity in the atmospheric and environmental sciences through education, research and community service.” Fuentes is a Professor in the Department of Meteorology at the Pennsylvania State University. He received his doctoral degree in micrometeorology from the University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada in 1992. Throughout his professional career, besides being a stellar researcher who has published more than 100 peer-reviewed publications, and a stellar educator who has received state-wide awards for his teaching effectiveness, Fuentes has made unparalleled contributions to the promotion of diversity in the atmospheric and environmental sciences. His research portfolio is broad but principally includes the understanding of the processes controlling the emissions, atmospheric transport, and chemistry of reactive gases produced by the biosphere. He is leading research projects to investigate the kinetics of the scents that flowers release to attract insect pollinators. The generated information is included in numerical models to determine whether ambient levels of air pollution perniciously impact pollination of crops.

Dr. John Yorks - NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

John YorksI received my undergraduate degree in Meteorology from Millersville University in 2006. I spent the next year and a half working towards my Masters degree in Meteorology at Penn State University, where I analyzed ozone sonde data working with Anne Thompson. In 2008, I began work at SSAI and NASA GSFC as a research scientist for the Cloud Physics Lidar (CPL) and Airborne Cloud-Aerosol Transport System (ACATS) Doppler wind lidar. I have spent the last six years working with Dr. Matt McGill on various science applications of these lidar systems, such as developing processing algorithms for ACATS and CPL, as well as collecting airborne lidar data at field campaigns. In 2014, I received my PhD in Atmospheric Science from the University of Maryland. Currently, I am the Science Lead for the Cloud-Aerosol Transport System (CATS) to be launch as a payload on the International Space Station (ISS) in December 2014. In this role, I am tasked with managing the algorithm development, quality of data products, and science outreach of the CATS instrument.

John Jensenius - National Weather Service

John JenseniusIn 1974, John Jensenius was awarded Millersville University’s first BA degree in Earth Science/Meteorology. He also received the Earth Science Award for Academic Excellence and the Faculty-Student Athletic Committee Award. After Millersville, John earned an MS degree in Meteorology from the Pennsylvania State University. John then began his professional career teaching meteorology and climatology at the State University of New York at Oneonta. From 1977 through 1994, John worked for the National Weather Service's (NWS) Techniques Development Laboratory (TDL) (now Meteorological Development Laboratory), first as a research meteorologist and later as Chief of the Computer System Section of the Synoptic-Scale Techniques Branch. While at TDL, John was responsible for developing and disseminating statistical forecast products used by meteorologists nationwide and was awarded the Department of Commerce Bronze Medal Award for his work in statistical weather prediction. In addition to his normal job responsibilities at TDL, John was instrumental in initiating an effort to get forecast sounding data to field offices (which eventually led to the BUFKIT software). Since 1995, John has served as the Warning Coordination Meteorologist at the NWS office in Gray, Maine. In the mid 90s, he initiated efforts to include computer coding in segmented watch, warning and advisory products which now allows them to be more easily processed, disseminated, and displayed by various computer and display systems. Since 2001, in addition to his duties at the NWS office in Gray, John has been NOAA's specialist on lightning safety, and serves as a national spokesperson for the NWS on issues related to lightning and lightning safety. He has developed educational material on lightning tracks and documents lightning fatalities nationwide, is frequently interviewed by national media, and has appeared on national shows and documentaries on lightning and lightning safety. For his work in lightning safety, John was honored with the 2005 National Weather Association's Public Education Award and has received the Department of Commerce Silver Medal.