By Breanne Smith
While most graduate students are taking out extra loans and scrapping for teaching assistant positions, Nick Engerer will have $115,000 in stipends plus full tuition for his education. No, he's not a trust fund baby. Hailed as one of the top meteorology students at Ohio University, he is the recipient of three prestigious national awards.
Engerer, a former Hollings Scholar and Ohio University's first-ever National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellow, most recently earned an American Meteorological Society Graduate Fellowship, which includes a $23,000 stipend for the 2008-09 academic year.
"Nick is just exceptional in every way," said Ann Brown, director of the Office of Nationally Competitive Awards. "It's an extraordinary accomplishment to win all of these awards. It's awfully darn impressive."
Sponsored by industry leaders and government agencies, the AMS Industry/Government Graduate Fellowships are designed to attract promising students interested in careers in the atmospheric, oceanic and hydrologic fields. Thirteen of 65 applicants were selected based on their undergraduate academic records, recommendations and Graduate Record Exam scores.
Engerer is excited about the connections the fellowship will give him.
"The AMS Fellowship will more directly expose me to members of the meteorology community as thousands of meteorologists read their publications and attend the annual meetings," said Engerer, a senior geography/meteorology major. "This fellowship provides a travel grant to the annual meeting, which will be great for networking."
As a former Hollings Scholar, Engerer spent last summer studying storm environments for the National Severe Storms Laboratory. He previously worked as both a weather coordinator for WOUB-TV in Athens and as a forecaster for Scalia Laboratory, where he serves as the weather systems administrator.
In addition to his AMS award, he will receive a full tuition grant and a stipend worth $92,000 over three years of graduate study as one of the nation's 200 National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate fellows. He plans to pursue graduate studies in severe storms and mesoscale meteorological phenomena at the University of Oklahoma's School of Meteorology, where he will work on computer modeling of tornadic supercells and VORTEX-II, a giant field project sponsored by the National Science Foundation that will examine the dynamics behind the formation of tornadoes.
"Nick has a very clear idea of what he wants to do," said Ron Isaac, the Ohio University meteorology program's founder and former director. "I think that provides him with some insight. Plus, he just takes responsibility for things, whether in the classroom or in fulfilling his role as president of the Meteorology Club. He's probably one of the top five students I've had in my 38 years here."
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