Martin Luther King Jr.
Scholar Day
- NWS La Crosse

Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholar Day is an event intended to broaden the interest of students in the physical sciences by spending a day at the National Weather Service (NWS) La Crosse office. This event reaches out to women, minorities, and other students interested in the sciences, providing an opportunity to gain exposure to the real-time application of science in the workplace.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholar Day started within the NWS in the mid-1980s at the Topeka, KS weather forecast office. The La Crosse NWS office participates every year by inviting area high schools to nominate students to spend a day in our office. Therefore, this is not only an opportunity for the students to gain exposure to the scientific work environment, but is a recognition honor for the students as well.

The next MLK Scholar Day is scheduled for, January 22, 2015

For more information, contact Glenn Lussky, Meteorologist-In-Charge of NWS La Crosse.

Here is an outline of a typical Martin Luther King (MLK) Jr. Scholar Day:

  • Students arrive around 9:15 a.m.
  • Introduction to MLK Scholar Day
  • Office Tour
  • Meet with program leaders / discuss operations, including
    • Severe Weather / Storm Spotters
    • Hydrology (rivers)
    • Forecasting
  • Lunch
  • Tour of Doppler radar / Electronics
  • Weather observations / instrumentation
  • Communication / Decision Support
  • Discussion on Science careers
  • Final review / discussion  (end around 2:15 p.m.)

Below are images from previous MLK Scholar Days.

Last Updated: 1/23/14 - tjs


2014 MLK Scholar Day

Our 2014 participants include:
  • Shelby Zillmer, Onalaska Luther High School
  • Nick Urich, La Crosse Aquinas High School
  • Sylvia Lechnir, La Crescent High School
  • Carrie Urbanek, Cashton High School
  • MLK Scholar Day 2014 MLK Scholar Day 2014 MLK Scholar Day 2014
    John Wetenkamp (Forecaster) showing a severe weather case to the students. A look at our electronics program with Mike Struver (ESA). Randy Breeser (Data Manager) covers weather observing equipment in -8 deg F cold (-26 wind chill!).
    MLK Scholar Day 2014 MLK Scholar Day 2014 MLK Scholar Day 2014
    Dan Baumgardt (Science and Operations Officer) explains how science is used in forecasting. Mike Welvaert (Service Hydrologist) covers the hydrology program and river forecasting. From left to right, Rod Swerman (Forecaster), Nick Urich (La Crosse Aquinas HS), Sylvia Lechnir (La Crescent HS), Shelby Zillmer (Onalaska Luther HS), Carrie Urbanek (Cashton HS), Glenn Lussky (Meteorologist-in-Charge).


    2013 MLK Scholar Day

    Our 2013 participants include:
  • Elizabeth Austin, Onalaska Luther High School
  • Dana Thill, La Crosse Aquinas High School
  • Zoe Zibton-Brooke, Viroqua Laurel High School
  • MLK Scholar Day 2013 MLK Scholar Day 2013 MLK Scholar Day 2013
    John Wetenkamp (Forecaster) discussing communication equipment with students. Showing how warnings are issued using a past severe weather case. Randy Breeser (Data Manager) covers weather observing equipment in 17 deg F weather.
    MLK Scholar Day 2013 MLK Scholar Day 2013 MLK Scholar Day 2013
    Matt Davis (Information Technologist) explains how weather radio broadcasts work. The students learn how science is used in the forecast by Dan Baumgardt (Science and Operations Officer). From left to right, Glenn Lussky (Meteorologist-in-Charge), Zoe Zibton-Brooke (Viroqua Laurel HS), Dana Thill (La Crosse Aquinas HS), Elizabeth Austin (Onalaska Luther HS), and Rod Swerman (Forecaster).


    2012 MLK Scholar Day

    Our 2012 participants included:
  • Alex Rich, Onalaska Luther High School
  • Libby Roberts, Kee High School (Lansing, IA)
  • Bridget Schams, La Crosse Aquinas High School
  • MLK Scholar Day 2012 MLK Scholar Day 2012 MLK Scholar Day 2012
    John Wetenkamp (Forecaster) demonstrates how the NWS issues warnings using a past severe weather case to the students. Mike Struver (ESA) discusses equipment and the electronics program. Air temperatures were -5 deg F with wind chills around -25 as Randy Breeser (DAPM) discusses observing equipment.
    MLK Scholar Day 2012 MLK Scholar Day 2012 MLK Scholar Day 2012
    Walking back from the Doppler Radar tour. Matt Davis (ITO) talks about weather radio and the role our office web page plays in our operations. Dan Baumgardt (SOO) demonstrates a work station and explains how computer models assist with the forecast process.
    MLK Scholar Day 2012
    From left to right, Rod Swerman (Forecaster), Bridget Schams (La Crosse Aquinas HS), Alex Rich (Onalaska Luther HS), Libby Roberts (Kee HS), and Glenn Lussky (Meteorologist-in-Charge).


    2011 MLK Scholar Day

    Our 2011 participants included:

  • Jaylene Van Lin, La Crescent High School
  • Alycia Loeffler, Holmen High School
  • Marissa Stevens, La Crosse Aquinas High School
  • Venita Griffith, La Crosse Logan High School
  • MLK Scholar Day 2011 MLK Scholar Day 2011 MLK Scholar Day 2011
    John Wetenkamp (Forecaster) demonstrates how the NWS issues warnings using a past severe weather case to the students. Mike Struver (ESA) discusses equipment and the electronics program. Battling the 8 deg F temperatures and sub zero wind chills, the students get a look at weather observing equipment with Randy Breeser (DAPM).
    MLK Scholar Day 2011 MLK Scholar Day 2011 MLK Scholar Day 2011
    All four students (battling the cold) under the Doppler Radar tower. Dan Baumgardt (SOO) presents the technology and science behind the forecast. Mike Welvaert (SH) uses the flood model to show how land use can impact water runoff or flooding with the students.
    MLK Scholar Day 2011
    From left to right, Jessica Brooks (Met.Intern), Alycia Loeffler (Holmen HS), Jaylene Van Lin (La Crescent HS), Venita Griffith (La Crosse Logan HS), Marissa Stevens (La Crosse Aquinas HS), and Glenn Lussky (Meteorologist-in-Charge).


    2010 MLK Scholar Day

    Our 2010 MLK Scholar Day participants included:

  • Jared Fread, Onalaska Luther High School
  • Maria Madsen, Holmen High School
  • Alex Kanable, La Crosse Central High School
  • Molly Neumann, La Crosse Central High School
  • James Schreiter, La Crosse Aquinas High School
  • MLK Scholar Day 2010 MLK Scholar Day 2010 MLK Scholar Day 2010
    Dan Baumgardt (Science and Operations Officer) shows the students basics in forecasting and computer model information. Todd Rieck (Forecaster) conducts a weather briefing for the group. Randy Breeser (Data Acquisitions and Program Manager) discusses weather instrumentation outdoors on a chilly 28 deg F day.
    MLK Scholar Day 2010 MLK Scholar Day 2010 MLK Scholar Day 2010
    Matt Davis (IT Officer) discusses all-hazards NOAA Weather Radio with the students. One student manually recording a message over weather radio. From left to right, Glenn Lussky (Meteorologist-in-Charge), Maria Madsen (Holmen HS), Alex Kanable (La Crosse Central HS), Jared Fread (Onalaska Luther HS), James Schreiter (La Crosse Aquinas HS), Molly Neumann (La Crosse Central HS), and Rod Swerman (Forecaster).


    2009 MLK Scholar Day

    Our 2009 MLK Scholar Day participants included:

    • Stephanie Peters, Bangor High School
    • Chris Trocinski, Onalaska Luther High School
    • Josh Bilskemper, La Crosse Aquinas High School

     

    Science Discussion In the Radar Dome Data Discussion
    Science and Operations Officer Dan Baumgardt gives a discussion on how forecasters in the NWS diagnose different weather data and assemble forecasts and warnings.

     

    Electronic Systems Analyst Mike Struver took the students up inside the National Weather Service's Doppler Radar. He gave the students a first hand look at the radar, and an idea of the work done to maintain it. Data Acquisitions and Program Manager Randy Breeser discussed how the NWS gathers and disseminates weather data, and gave a background of the NWS Cooperative Observer Network
    Outreach Discussion Group Picture Radar Tower
    Senior Forecaster Steve Thompson gave an overview of the Outreach Program at the La Crosse NWS Office to the MLK scholars. The 2009 MLK Scholars are (beginning second from left) Chris Trocinski, Josh Bilskemper, and Stephanie Peters. Forecaster Rod Swerman (far left) helped organize the event while Meteorologist Intern Jessica Brooks (far right) gave several presentations to the students. Pleasant weather for the annual trek up to the radar dome, with temperatures in the 20s and plenty of sunshine.


    2008 MLK Scholar Day

    ITO Matt Davis explains the technology of the office, including this 'hands-on' demonstration of NOAA Weather Radio. DAPM Randy Breeser covers weather observations and our climate program.
    The students get a peek at the weather radar building that houses equipment.  ESA Mike Struver leads the tour outdoors. The air temperature was near zero (0 deg F) at the time of the annual climb up the Doppler radar tower. Standing (from left to right), Sam Connell (Holmen), Alexander Wegner (GET), Donald Hellickson (Onalaska Luther), and David Linhart (Aquinas).  Sitting (from left to right), Tom Kerndt (Kee) and Lais Arruda (Westby/Foreign Exchange student from Brazil).


    2007 MLK Scholar Day

    Lead Forecaster Seth Binau explains our workstations and the science behind meteorology. ITO Matt Davis helps a student record a message over the Console Replacement System that drives NOAA Weather Radio. Warning Coordination Meteorologist Todd Shea discusses emergency communications with the group.
    Holmen High School student Ravi Shah records a message on NOAA Weather Radio. The weather isn't too bad (25 def F and Flurries) for the annual climb up the radar tower. Forecaster Rod Swerman, Windy Moua (La Crosse Aquinas HS), Melissa Holen (Westby HS), Katrina Schauland (Onalaska Luther HS), Ravi Shah (Holmen HS), and MIC Glenn Lussky.


    2006 MLK Scholar Day

    SOO Dan Baumgardt explains the science behind operational forecasting. ITO Matt Davis goes over the Console Replacement System that drives NOAA Weather Radio. The students are ready to record messages.
    Onalaska Luther student Jeff Komay records a message on NOAA Weather Radio. The annual climb up the radar tower brings some of the best weather in years (37 deg F for mid January). MIC Glenn Lussky, Jeff Komay (Onalaska Luther HS), Rachael Johnson (Onalaska HS), Kym Kitzner (La Crosse Aquinas HS), Brooke Nottestad (Westby HS), and Forecaster Rod Swerman.


    2005 MLK Scholar Day

    The students are shown around our operations area by forecaster Rod Swerman. SOO Dan Baumgardt details the science and research aspects of our work. DAPM Randy Breeser discussed the Cooperative Observation program.
    Making the trek up the radar tower. Not that cold, but snowing pretty good. ITO Matt Davis helps a student record a message over NOAA All-Hazards Weather Radio. MIC Glenn Lussky, Katie Tielbar (La Crosse Central HS), Bethany Lau (Onalaska Luther HS), Amanda Hoscheit (Onalaska Luther HS), Amos Washington III (La Crosse Aquinas HS), and Forecaster Rod Swerman.


    2004 MLK Scholar Day

    ITO Matt Davis explains technology and forecasting to the students. DAPM Randy Breeser discusses the COOP Program. ESA Mike Struver gives a Radome tour (at -5 deg F).
    Climbing the radar tower - Brrrr! (-20 deg F wind chill) Students recording a message on NOAA Weather Radio. Forecaster Rod Swerman (left) with Mary David (La Crosse Aquinas HS), Suchita Shah (Holmen HS), Andrea Connell (Holmen HS), and Ben Schwedler (Onalaska Luther HS).


    2003 MLK Scholar Day

    WCM Todd Shea discusses severe weather operations. SOO Dan Baumgardt explains how forecasting is done. ITO Matt Davis explains technology and NOAA Weather Radio.
    Climbing the radar tower. Ashlee Bates (Holmen HS), Dan Meyer (Onalaska Luther HS), and Beth Medinger (Holmen HS). MIC Glenn Lussky (left) and Meteorologist Rod Swerman (right) with the students.


    2002 MLK Scholar Day

    ITO Matt Davis explains some of the tools used in forecasting. Forecaster Steve Thompson explains outreach activities to the students. The students making their own recordings over NOAA Weather Radio.
    Climbing the radar tower. Elizabeth Byrnes (La Crosse Central HS), Heather Paudler (Onalaska HS), Jared Mahlum (La Crosse Aquinas HS), and Dan Schams (Onalaska Luther HS).


    2001 MLK Scholar Day

    WCM Todd Shea introduces the students to NOAA Weather Radio. The students making their own recording over NOAA Weather Radio. SOO Dan Baumgardt explains some of the tools used in forecasting.
    Climbing the radar tower. Brooke Johnson (Onalaska HS), Jacob Beitlich (Onalaska Luther HS), Ben Kruse (La Crosse Aquinas HS), and Shandra Melcher (La Crosse Logan HS). Meteorologist Rod Swerman (left) and MIC Glenn Lussky (right) with the students.


    2000 MLK Scholar Day

    Students learning about NOAA Weather Radio. SOO Dan Baumgardt showing them our new workstations (circa: 2000). Students with forecaster Rod Swerman and Meteorologist-in-Charge Glenn Lussky.
    • Desiree Bonsack (Holmen HS)
    • Beth Kinsey (Onalaska Luther HS)
    • Theresa Novotney (La Crosse Aquinas HS)

    1999 MLK Scholar Day

    Meteorologist-in-Charge Glenn Lussky (left) and Meteorologist Rod Swerman (right) with students: Patricia Donndelinger (La Crosse Aquinas), Katie Danalis (Onalaska Luther HS), and Jesse King (Holmen HS).


    1998 MLK Scholar Day

    Meteorologist Rod Swerman (left) and Meteorologist-in-Charge Glenn Lussky (right) with students: Graham Esmond (La Crosse Central HS), Julia Bettesworth (Holmen HS), and Romee Johnson (La Crosse Aquinas HS).

    1997 MLK Scholar Day

    Meteorologist-in-Charge Glenn Lussky (left) and Administrative Assistant Lynn Zintz (right) with students: Autumn Potracke (Onalaska Luther HS) and Neng Yang (La Crosse Central HS).

    1995 MLK Scholar Day

    • Johanna Daylo (Onalaska Luther HS)
    • Dawn Havens (Onalaska Luther HS)

     

     


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