Katherine Lukens

Office ESSIC #3001
Email Email Me

Hometown Downingtown, PA

Education Ph.D. Candidate, Atmospheric and Oceanic Science - University of Maryland (current)
Master of Science, Atmospheric and Oceanic Science - University of Maryland (2015)
Bachelor of Science, Meteorology - Pennsylvania State University (2012)

Advisor Berbery

Academic Career

I have known from an early age that I wanted to study meteorology. The natural chaos of day-to-day weather phenomena to the impacts of decades-long trends have always captivated me. And so it was no wonder that I felt blessed when I was admitted into the renowned undergraduate Meteorology program at Penn State. While there, I studied topics including Atmospheric Dynamics, Atmospheric Chemistry, Cloud Physics, and Synoptic and Mesocale Meteorology, and I partook in research on the teleconnective impacts of Madden-Julian Osciallation convection on the mid-latitudes. In May 2012, I received a BS in Meteorology.

As one of 30 students selected from North America, I attended the annual NCAR Undergraduate Leadership Workshop (ULW) in Boulder, CO in June 2011. As part of the workshop, we explored the local NOAA office, the Mesa Lab, and other government facilities and learned of their roles in the advancement of the atmospheric and physical sciences. We also participated in leadership, communication, and outreach activities to understand how to relate groundbreaking scientific research to policy and decision makers, teachers, weather and climate information users, and fellow and future students both in and outside of the atmospheric science community.

In the fall of 2012, I very fortunately commenced my graduate career at the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Science (fondly referred to as AOSC) at the University of Maryland. That year I began research on Northern Hemisphere storm track diagnostics and relations to winter precipitation as a graduate research assistant at the Cooperative Institute for Climate and Satellites-Maryland (CICS-MD) at the Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center (ESSIC), an affiliate of the University of Maryland. In May 2015 I received an MS in Atmospheric and Oceanic Science, and I recently advanced to candidacy.

Currently, my research at ESSIC/CICS-MD has expanded to include the predictability of seasonal storm tracks and precipitation as well as continued study of the links between cyclones, anticyclones, and precipitation in order to provide guidance in seasonal forecasting and the continued development of climate prediction in conjunction with the mission of NOAA's Climate Prediction Center.

Other Interests

Outside of weather and climate (no pun intended), I sing, draw, write fiction, explore DC and the surrounding areas, travel, play recreational softball, attend baseball games (Go Phillies!) and hockey games (Go Caps!), and participate in outreach.

One particular outreach organization that is near and dear to my heart is THON, the largest student-run philanthropy in the world. Partnered with the Four Diamonds Fund at the Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital, THON provides emotional and financial support to the children and their families who are forced to endure the endless fight against pediatric cancer. Every February, the students of Penn State THON hold THON weekend, an event unlike any other. It provides a means of escape for these children and their families; for one weekend, they can enjoy childhood and forget, albeit temporarily, the suffering they currently endure. I am honored to be a part of the THON community, for it has truly changed my life.