Fairfield Undergrads Present Research at American Meteorological Society Meeting

Fairfield Undergrads Present Research at American Meteorological Society Meeting

Dr. Nazarian and students in Denver, Color.

(l-r): Dr. Nazarian, Brody Matijevic ’25, Carissa Agostino ’23, and Jimmy Vizzard ’23 in Denver.

Over winter break, Robert Nazarian, PhD, and three undergraduate students traveled to Denver, Colo., to present research on extreme snowfall.

Last month, assistant professor of physics Robert Nazarian, PhD, led undergraduate students Jimmy Vizzard ’23, Carissa Agostino ’23, and Brody Matijevic ’25 to Denver, Colorado for the 103rd Annual American Meteorological Society (AMS) Meeting, Jan. 8-12, themed “Data: Driving Science. Informing Decisions. Enriching Humanity.” 

The AMS is a global community that brings together scientists, students, professionals, educators, and researchers to collaborate on advancing weather, water, and climate science and service. The society's annual meeting is the largest gathering in the world for weather, climate, meteorology, and atmospheric sciences.

“Undergraduates at Fairfield have unique opportunities often afforded to graduate students and postdocs,” said Dr. Nazarian, “because of the University's emphasis on undergraduate education. The skills that students gain in their labs, in the field, and at conferences prepare them for a variety of careers — spanning industry, medicine, education, among many others — and form the basis for PhD studies.”

Dr. Nazarian also shared that “the caliber of this research is impressive,” because Fairfield students are given the opportunity to work on projects funded by prestigious grants, alongside collaborators at government labs and institutions who are published in some of the top journals.

Each student's travel to and participation at the AMS meeting was supported by grants awarded by the University's Science Institute and the Provost’s Office INSPIRE grants. At the conference, they presented the work of their research group: The Ocean, Atmosphere, and Climate Dynamics Group, in a couple of different sessions.

“Dr. Nazarian was the one who opened my eyes to the world of scientific research,” said undergraduate student Brody Matijevic ’25, a mechanical engineering major. “At the conference, I gave a talk on future trends in extreme snowfall over the Northeast U.S.”

In another project, “Projected Changes in Mean and Extreme Precipitation Over Northern Mexico,” Dr. Nazarian and his student team researched projected trends in precipitation using simulations. The group explored the effects that precipitation, or lack thereof, will have on the agriculture and economy of Mexico, a country that is predicted to be affected by severe droughts and flooding.

Dr. Nazarian is Fairfield University’s expert on climate, oceanography, and weather. He received his BA in physics and mathematics from The College of the Holy Cross, and his PhD in atmospheric and oceanic sciences at Princeton University. Dr. Nazarian’s main research focus is the physics governing the ocean, atmosphere, and climate.

“Students play a key role in all stages of the research project,” said Dr. Nazarian, “including developing the central questions of the project, conducting background research, collecting and analyzing data, and discussing their analyses with project collaborators.”

Dr. Nazarian also shared that after their presentations, students were surprised to find a fellow Stag in the audience: Dr. John England ’91, a physics major while at Fairfield, who attended their talks and gave his own talk in the follow-up session.

“It was a wonderful opportunity for the students to talk with a Fairfield alumnus about his experiences as a physics major,” Dr. Nazarian said, “and to learn how his education at Fairfield inspired his career as a lead civil engineer at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. I am so grateful to Dr. England for meeting with our group, and for his interest in learning more about our students’ research.”


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