Iowa State University’s American Meteorology Society group is again nation’s top student chapter

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AMES, Iowa – For the second time in three years and third time since 2006, Iowa State University’s American Meteorological Society (AMS) student organization has been named national student chapter of the year.

The ISU chapter was honored for its long list of activities and accomplishments that further the mission of AMS, including educating and involving the local community regarding meteorological issues. The chapter also was most recently named the nation’s best in 2006 and 2010.

Iowa State’s meteorology program is housed in the Department of Geological and Atmospheric Sciences, an academic unit in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

The 75-member group combines social events with community involvement and learning opportunities, said chapter president Josh Alland, a senior from Apple Valley, Minn.

"These events drive the underclassmen to get involved, which sustains our club’s success into the future," said Alland. "Other social events, such as tours of the National Weather Service and news stations, are not only fun but also inform our members of the career opportunities in meteorology."

Activities have taken the students to several states. Last year several chapter members traveled to Hackleburg, Ala., and Joplin, Mo., to assist in the cleanup from devastating tornadoes. The group also annually plans a spring break trip that combines meteorology and fun. They have visited The Weather Channel in Atlanta, Cape Canaveral in Florida and the hurricane hunter aircraft based in Biloxi, Miss. Other trips have taken students to Colorado and Texas. In addition, a record number of chapter members are planning to attend the national AMS Annual Meeting in Austin, Texas, in January.

Closer to home, the chapter participates in Iowa State’s "Keep ISU Beautiful" campaign, and it regularly takes part and donates to charity events such as Race for the Cure to support the fight against breast cancer. The group was also the driving force behind weather safety messages that appeared on local grocery bags.

"This school year we plan to attend many community and school functions to talk about the wonders of meteorology," Alland added. "We also plan to work with the Des Moines National Weather Service to make local school districts StormReady Supporters."

The chapter advisers from the Department of Geological and Atmospheric Sciences, David Flory, senior lecturer, and Bill Gallus, professor, say that the group’s list of far-ranging activities is growing.

"The list is very impressive," Flory said. "We are not only amazed at how long the list is every year, but how the students keep adding more and more to it. They are never satisfied and always looking to get better."

The meteorology program’s academic requirements are challenging, said Gallus. Students must take many demanding computer science, mathematics and physics courses in addition to meteorology classes. The chapter supports its students with several academic support resources including tutoring and review sessions. Students can also participate in a departmental learning community.

"While the students do have a lot of fun, they realize and stress the importance of academics," Gallus said.

The nomination for this year’s award came from the chapter’s top officers from 2011-2012: Robert Nelson, president, and Samantha Santeiu, vice president. Both now are studying meteorology in graduate school at Colorado State University and the University of Michigan, respectively. -30-

About Liberal Arts and Sciences: The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences is a world-class learning and research community. Iowa State’s most academically diverse college, LAS educates students to become global citizens, providing rigorous academic programs in the sciences, humanities and social sciences within a supportive personalized learning environment. College faculty design new materials, unravel biological structures, care for the environment, and explore social and behavioral issues. From fundamental research to technology transfer and artistic expression, the college supports people in Iowa and around the world.

NEWS RELEASE College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Iowa State University

Contacts: Josh Alland, Meteorology chapter president, Bill Gallus, Atmospheric Sciences, (515) 294-2270, David Flory, Atmospheric Sciences, (515) 294-0264, Steve Jones, Liberal Arts and Sciences Communication, (515) 294-0461,