Russell L. DeSouza Award

UnidataThe Russell L. DeSouza Award honors individuals whose energy, expertise, and active involvement enable the Unidata Program to better serve geoscience. Honorees personify Unidata's ideal of a community that shares data, software, and ideas through computing and networking technologies.

To nominate someone who embodies DeSouza's spirit of service, use our nomination form.

DeSouza Awardees

About the Award

Goal of the Desouza Award

This award honors individuals whose energy, expertise, and active involvement enable the Unidata Program to better serve geoscience. Honorees personify Unidata's ideal of a community that shares data, software, and ideas through computing and networking technologies.

Since its inception in June 1983, the Unidata Program has benefited from the commitment of a number of individuals. This award is named after Russell L. DeSouza, whose involvement with and contributions to Unidata were exemplary.

Russell L. DeSouza

Russell L. DeSouza
Russell L. DeSouza
1943 - 1997

DeSouza first became actively involved with the Unidata Program in 1989 as a member of the Unidata Users Committee. He quickly demonstrated his hallmark concern for finding approaches and technologies that worked for educating students. In 1990, he was asked to be a member of the Unidata Policy Committee, where he played a critical role representing the interests and concerns of "small" colleges and universities and helping the committee to maintain a "whole picture" view of the Unidata community. He was the committee's liaison to the Users Committee, so was a participant in all Users Committee activities as well. In 1991, he volunteered Millersville to maintain the educational floater channel (part of the Unidata/Wisconsin data stream), an effort that, in 1994, was expanded to include a channel for NEXRAD Information Dissemination Service data as well.

DeSouza resigned from the Unidata Policy Committee in the summer of 1995 to concentrate on his treatment for malignant melanoma. He retired officially from the Millersville faculty on May 17, 1997, and died on June 6, 1997.

Questions About the Desouza Award?

Questions or comments about the Desouza Award can be sent to: support@unidata.ucar.edu

To nominate someone who embodies DeSouza's spirit of service, use our nomination form.

2014 Desouza Awardee

Rich Signell
Rich Signell
Richard P. Signell, U.S. Geological Survey

The Russell L. DeSouza Award honors “individuals whose energy, expertise, and active involvement enable the Unidata Program to better serve the geosciences.”

Rich's colleagues in the Unidata community pointed out that he has been a tireless proponent of Unidata software tools for more than twenty years. In 1992 he co-authored a paper titled “NetCDF: A Public-Domain-Software Solution to Data-Access Problems for Numerical Modelers” for a conference of the American Society of Civil Engineers; many credit his efforts for the wide adoption of netCDF for storing numerical ocean model information.

In addition to his involvement in and promotion of various Unidata projects (netCDF and the THREDDS Data Server being the most prominent), Rich has been active in promoting use of the Climate and Forecast (CF) metadata convetions for netCDF, helping to make Regional Ocean Modeling System (ROMS) output CF compliant and actively working on an unstructured grid CF framework.

A video recording of the award presentation and Rich's seminar will be available on the Seminars Series page shortly after the Fall 2014 Unidata Users Committee meeting.

Questions About the Desouza Award?

Questions or comments about the Desouza Award can be sent to: support@unidata.ucar.edu

2013 Desouza Awardee

Larry Oolman
Larry Oolman
Larry Oolman, University of Wyoming

The Russell L. DeSouza Award honors “individuals whose energy, expertise, and active involvement enable the Unidata Program to better serve the geosciences.”

Larry's colleagues in the Unidata community commended him for the creation and ongoing support of the University of Wyoming Weather Server. His early work in making observational data available via the World Wide Web has been invaluable to innumerable students and researchers around the world — for many, it is the “go to” site for a full range of observational data. He has maintained this important access point without fanfare, and the community felt it was time to acknowledge his contribution.

The Unidata community also appreciates Larry's efforts toward the standardization of aircraft archive data formats, and his work with NCAR on the Unidata NCAR Research Aviation Facility NIMBUS conventions for netCDF. Efforts like Larry's advance data usability now and for future researchers.

A video recording of the award presentation and Larry's seminar is available on the Seminars Series page.

Questions About the Desouza Award?

Questions or comments about the Desouza Award can be sent to: support@unidata.ucar.edu

2012 Desouza Awardee

David Knight
David Knight
David Knight, University at Albany — SUNY

The Russell L. DeSouza Award honors “individuals whose energy, expertise, and active involvement enable the Unidata Program to better serve the geosciences.”

David's contributions to the Unidata community date back to the early days of the program, when active involvement was central to the program's success. He has served on both of Unidata's governing committees, providing important perspectives on the data and software needs of university researchers and educators. Since the early 1990's, David has managed SUNY-Albany's distribution of lightning data from the National Lightning Detection Network (NLDN) to members of the university community.

As David's colleague Brendon Hoch of Plymouth State University wrote:

The availability of the [lightning] data has been so reliable that the work behind the scenes to make it available has often gone overlooked. David has continued working through recent systems changes from the vendor to continue providing data, and the configuration has served as a model for the distribution of data from other lighting networks.

We truly applaud David's long-standing efforts on behalf of the Unidata community. He has indeed been instrumental in advancing Unidata's goals and its community spirit.

A video recording of the award presentation and David's seminar is available on the Seminars Series page.

Questions About the Desouza Award?

Questions or comments about the Desouza Award can be sent to: support@unidata.ucar.edu

2010 Desouza Awardee

Gilbert L. Sebenste
Gilbert L. Sebenste
Gilbert L. Sebenste, Northern Illinois University

The Russell L. DeSouza Award honors “individuals whose energy, expertise, and active involvement enable the Unidata Program to better serve the geosciences.”

Gilbert has been committed to maintaining a timely and uninterrupted flow of real-time data to the Unidata community. His energy and enthusiasm for the Local Data Manager (LDM) are evident in his interactions with other participants. Gilbert has often been the first to download and install new LDM versions, sometimes before they've been released. His testing and generous feedback to developers and the rest of the community have been invaluable in advancing the LDM.

Gilbert was actively involved in the Unidata community while an undergraduate at NIU in 1994. He uses his knowledge of data and datastreams to help others in the community, whether it is finding information on particular products, locating station information, or diagnosing problems with data feeds.

Few Unidata community members have been as active as he has been over the past 15 years. His frequent contributions to e-mail lists keep the community informed of data stream changes, outages, and LDM changes.

Gilbert personifies Unidata's ideal of a community that shares data, software, and ideas and unselfishly contributes time and energy that benefit everyone.

We are pleased Gilbert has received recognition for his service to the community by being selected as the 2010 DeSouza Award winner.

Questions About the Desouza Award?

Questions or comments about the Desouza Award can be sent to: support@unidata.ucar.edu

2009 Desouza Awardee

Elen M.C. Cutrim
Elen M.C. Cutrim
1946-2009
Elen M.C. Cutrim, Western Michigan University

The Russell L. DeSouza Award honors “individuals whose energy, expertise, and active involvement enable the Unidata Program to better serve the geosciences.”

Professor Cutrim has been a member of the Unidata Users Committee since 2003, and has been actively engaged in the Unidata triennial workshops. She has been an inspiration and a source of strength for her colleagues on the Users Committee, as well as the Unidata staff, always projecting her generosity, enthusiasm, radiant smile, unwavering optimism, and incredible kindness.

Elen has made significant contributions to broadening the Unidata community. She has expanded the user base to geography with Unidata tools such as the Integrated Data Viewer. She has been a strong promoter and ambassador for Unidata in national and international venues conveying the importance of community leadership and participation. Her efforts, including serving as a co-organizer of many sessions at the AGU , EGU, and Congresso Brasileiro de Meteorologia to address issues important to the community, have not only expanded the participation in Unidata in the U.S., but also in Latin America, Europe, and beyond.

She has been tirelessly devoted to her students and her classes, establishing high expectations while serving as a true community role model. She graciously takes on responsibility with no expectation of gratitude in return, but merely because she thinks it's the right thing to do.

As her long-time colleague, Professor Perry Samson, University of Michigan wrote:

Her energy is infectious, and her attitude is ALWAYS positive and inspirational. In many ways she exactly reminds me of Russ DeSouza, with whom I had the honor of sharing Users Committee membership long ago.

Questions About the Desouza Award?

Questions or comments about the Desouza Award can be sent to: support@unidata.ucar.edu

2008 Desouza Awardee

Mark J. Laufersweiler
Mark J. Laufersweiler
Mark J. Laufersweiler, University of Oklahoma

The Russell L. DeSouza Award honors “individuals whose energy, expertise, and active involvement enable the Unidata Program to better serve the geosciences.”

Dr. Mark J. Laufersweiler has worked tirelessly to promote the use of computing technology both in and out of the classroom. Mark served on the Unidata Users Committee for three years (2001-2004) and has encouraged students to attend Unidata users and training workshops. Mark co-chaired the 2003 Unidata Users workshop, Expanding Horizons: Using Environmental Data for Education, Research, and Decision Making. He helped organize a regional workshop on the Integrated Data Viewer (IDV) at the University of Oklahoma in September 2007.

Mark taught Introduction to Synoptic Meteorology, during which sophomore meteorology majors learned to use command line GEMPAK and scripting to create weather maps. Since then he has helped to reorganize the sophomore level courses to formally include a thorough computing section for the sophomore course sequence.

Outside of the classroom Mark has continually encouraged students to go beyond the course material and use the computing resources available through the School of Meteorology for making their own maps. Specifically, Mark has encouraged a group of undergraduate and graduate students to create an operational forecasting page using GEMPAK. This group is colloquially known as the "Hoot Team," named after the OU computer. He has and continues to give the group guidance, answering the endless number of questions and encouraging group members to make use of all the data and resources available to us through Unidata and other data feeds. He has also helped the project to secure the computer resources necessary to accomplish this ambitious goal. The Hoot Team continues to have a special two-day seminar course to teach new members about GEMPAK; typically over half of the attendees are freshmen.

In April 2006, the Hoot site was highlighted by Unidata as the community highlight website of the month.

Without the expertise and guidance of Dr. Mark Laufersweiler, students at the University of Oklahoma would not have an appreciation for the computing power available to them or the data and software available from Unidata.

Questions About the Desouza Award?

Questions or comments about the Desouza Award can be sent to: support@unidata.ucar.edu

2007 Desouza Awardee

James T. Moore
James T. Moore
1952-2006
James T. Moore, St. Louis University

The Russell L. DeSouza Award honors “individuals whose energy, expertise, and active involvement enable the Unidata Program to better serve the geosciences.”

Professor James Moore, St. Louis University (posthumous) received the 2007 DeSouza Award at the AMS annual meeting on January 18, 2007. Jim was recognized for efforts and contributions through the years that truly reflect the goals and ideals of the Unidata program.

Jim served on the Users' committee as the IDD became the backbone of Unidata's data delivery system. Jim struggled with the technology, but supported its premise even though SLU had technology issues that delayed full participation in the IDD until several years later. Jim often spoke his mind as a user of Unidata software, asking how it would help him in teaching and research.

As a Policy Committee member, Jim served with distinction as its liaison to the Users Committee. Throughout his tenure on Unidata committees, Jim was always willing (and eager) to provide a contextual pun to liven up a long day of meetings. Jim continued to serve Unidata and began entraining other faculty at SLU into Unidata and its products. Jim's long association with Unidata enriched its community and Program Center.

Jim used the fruits of Unidata's labor to bridge the gap between the meteorology in the classroom and the weather happening on the other side of the classroom window. Of the Ph.D. students who worked under Jim, nearly all of them are former or current professors of synoptic meteorology, who use Unidata products in their classrooms and labs, thereby continuing his profound legacy to new generations of students.

Throughout his tenure on Unidata committees, Jim was always willing (and eager) to provide a contextual pun to liven up a long day of meetings. Jim continued to serve Unidata and began entraining other faculty at SLU into Unidata and its products. SLU is now entrenched in the Unidata world, relying on the IDD and Unidata-supported software in teaching and research.

Jim probably felt that everyone serving on Unidata's committees with him was more deserving of the DeSouza award than he; he felt that he was just an old-fashioned synoptic meteorologist. To those he left behind as colleagues, students, and friends, he was so much more. As such, we must respectfully disagree with his self-assessment there is no one more deserving of this prestigious award.

Unidata is eternally thankful to Jim for these and many other activities that have had a lasting impact on our community.

Questions About the Desouza Award?

Questions or comments about the Desouza Award can be sent to: support@unidata.ucar.edu

2006 Desouza Awardee

Richard D. Clark
Richard D. Clark
Richard D. Clark, Millersville University

The Russell L. DeSouza Award honors “individuals whose energy, expertise, and active involvement enable the Unidata Program to better serve the geosciences.”

Richard D. Clark received the 2006 Russell L. DeSouza Award for efforts and contributions through the years that truly reflect the goals and ideals of the Unidata program. Those efforts include several years on the Unidata User's committee, including service as chair.

In addition, Dr. Clark oversaw the satellite and radar floater feeds from Millersville University and organized an enthusiastically-received regional users' workshop. His advocacy on behalf of the Unidata program to a wider community that includes education-oriented initiatives has been exemplary. This not only includes outreach to the digital libraries community, but also extensive leadership in advancing the use of Unidata systems in educational contexts.

The award plaque presented to Richard Clark stated in part:

Your long association with Unidata has enriched its community and Program Center. Your paths for service and stewardship were varied... We thank you for these and many other activities that have had a lasting impact on our community.

Questions About the Desouza Award?

Questions or comments about the Desouza Award can be sent to: support@unidata.ucar.edu

2005 Desouza Awardee

Mary Des Jardins
Mary Des Jardins receiving the award from Unidata Users Committee Chair, Jim Steenburgh
Mary Des Jardins, National Centers for Environmental Prediction

The Russell L. DeSouza Award honors “individuals whose energy, expertise, and active involvement enable the Unidata Program to better serve the geosciences.”

Mary's significant leadership in architecture, development, and support of the General Meteorological PacKage (GEMPAK) over a period of two decades has been instrumental in facilitating meteorological research and education at some 200 academic institutions throughout the world.

Her sustained contribution led to GEMPAK's becoming one of the preeminent software packages for meterological data analysis and display.

Community members who nominated Mary for the award provided insight into GEMPAK's popularity. One said "it was one of the original ‘open source' software packages. The ability to understand and improve the software made it scientifically viable, robust, and useful for a wide range of applications." Another stated that, "the package meets the needs of the expert meteorologist and does not intimidate a beginner user." Users and developers alike have appreciated and respected Mary's clearly articulated visions for the functionality, design, and implementation of meteorological software. Additionally, her insights to the nature of data and package users provide a unique perspective for operational and research oriented applications alike.

Her efforts and selfless contributions truly reflect the goals and ideals of the Unidata program and are an embodiment of the excellence of the DeSouza Award.

Questions About the Desouza Award?

Questions or comments about the Desouza Award can be sent to: support@unidata.ucar.edu

2004 Desouza Awardee

Dan Vietor
Dan Vietor
Dan Vietor, Unisys Corporation

The Russell L. DeSouza Award honors “individuals whose energy, expertise, and active involvement enable the Unidata Program to better serve the geosciences.”

The volume of Dan Vietor's work in the Unidata community adds up to an enormous contribution.

Community members cite his ongoing involvement in providing user support through contributions in Unidata's topical e-mail lists. The lists, which cover a wide range of topics including data problems, data stream changes and formats, also address issues such as directions in PC computing. More recently, Dan provided programs to uncompress NOAAport satellite and radar data.

In developing and supporting WXP software he provided users with an analysis and visualization tool well suited for creating weather web sites that are used by school systems help students learn about weather.

He worked to integrate netCDF formats into WXP and provided support to all users who had questions about any aspect of the software or the data.

Dan's dedicated service in assisting Unidata's user community is exemplary.

Questions About the Desouza Award?

Questions or comments about the Desouza Award can be sent to: support@unidata.ucar.edu

2003 Desouza Awardee

Thomas M. Whittaker
Thomas M. Whittaker
Thomas M. Whittaker, University of Wisconsin, Madison

The Russell L. DeSouza Award honors “individuals whose energy, expertise, and active involvement enable the Unidata Program to better serve the geosciences.”

Tom's contributions to the community have been far reaching. Dating back to the beginning of Unidata in the 1980s, he played an instrumental role on the technical working groups and advisory committees, crucial in molding Unidata's future. More recently, his involvement on the MetApps Task Force has provided important guidance for the development of the Unidata's next generation of visualization and analysis tools.

Questions About the Desouza Award?

Questions or comments about the Desouza Award can be sent to: support@unidata.ucar.edu

2002 Desouza Awardee

Douglas N. Yarger
Douglas N. Yarger receiving the award from from Rich Clark, Unidata Users Committee chair, and Unidata Director David Fulker.
Douglas N. Yarger, Iowa State University

The Russell L. DeSouza Award honors “individuals whose energy, expertise, and active involvement enable the Unidata Program to better serve the geosciences.”

It would be hard to imagine a better fit for the honor than Doug Yarger. Through his involvement in geosciences education and in Unidata governance and Users Workshops, Doug's association with Unidata spans more than a decade; but it was in the forum of the Unidata Users Committee that his voice emerged with clarity and strength. Doug spoke convincingly of the need for the effective teaching of geoscience principles, and through his many efforts clearly articulated the role of technology in every day instruction and learning.

Showing teachers new ways of encouraging students to learn is his passion. He is a strong advocate of participatory learning, that is, learning in which students become actively engaged in teaching themselves through exploration, experimentation, and research. He believes that current technology allows educational institutions to create active learning environments in ways that formerly were impossible.

In 2000 he co-chaired the Unidata Users Workshop entitled "Unidata Users as Leaders," and he spearheaded the effort to bring together a first-rate (and first-rank) roster of speakers. His own contribution to the workshop demonstrated an innovative data-visualization technique that actually brings students into storms by using 3-D glasses.

Questions About the Desouza Award?

Questions or comments about the Desouza Award can be sent to: support@unidata.ucar.edu

2000 Desouza Awardee

Harold J. Edmon
Harold J. Edmon receiving the award from Jennie Moody, chair of the Unidata Users Committee, and Unidata Director David Fulker
Harold J. Edmon, University of Washington

The Russell L. DeSouza Award honors “individuals whose energy, expertise, and active involvement enable the Unidata Program to better serve the geosciences.”

Harry's involvement in Unidata is long and legendary. As Harry himself likes to joke, he's been participating since before its inception. And this is true. Unidata traces its birth to a conference held in Madison, Wisconsin in July 1983. Harry was involved in many of the planning sessions that preceded that workshop. His name appears on an appendix on a report entitled "The Unidata System for University Weather Analysis and Modeling," written under the direction of John Dutton (Pennsylvania State University) as a planning document to guide the July meeting. He was also a member of the Ad Hoc Unidata Implementation Strategy Committee, whose goals were to broadly specify and design the "UNIDATA system" and identify a strategy to implement that system. This committee met in June and prepared a report by early July 1983.

Harry received his Ph.D. in Meteorology from Purdue University in December 1977 and then moved to the University of Washington as a postdoctoral student from 1978-80. His interest and ability in computing, however, changed the direction of his career. His expertise in computing led his colleagues to involve Harry when the idea of a Unidata program started to coalesce, And Unidata has been relying on that expertise ever since. From the beginning, Unidata has sought assistance from a group of technical experts, first under the name of the Implementation Working Group (IWG), now under the label of the Advanced Technical Advisory Committee (ATAC).

Harry's involvement has been continuous. He was the ATAC representative to the Users Committee until 1997, when he began representing the ATAC at the Policy Committee. As a result, he has been member of every committee governing the Unidata Program--no small contribution of time and patience!

Harry's contributions extend far beyond committee work, however. Ask any member of Unidata's technical staff what comes to mind when Harry's name is mentioned and the unanimous response is "bug fixes!" His most memorable contribution was his report of problems with the LDM5--the first version of the software designed to receive/forward data over the Internet. "We had seen that early test versions of the LDM5 performed poorly in some cases," Russ Rew remembers, "but we were unable to easily isolate the problem. Harry, however, helped diagnose the slowdown in a classic five-line email message I still have. It not only convinced us that it WAS an LDM software problem, but also made it easy to determine where the problem originated and what needed to be done to fix it. The IDD works as well as it does today partly because of Harry Edmon's work helping us test early versions, and his precise reports of anomalies he observed."

Harry was also instrumental in enabling the CRAFT project. CRAFT (for Collaborative Radar Acquisition Field Test) is a University of Oklahoma effort to access and distribute NEXRAD Level II radar data in near real time. Harry developed the prototype for capturing and compressing the data using the LDM and feeding the data to another (non-LDM-based) system. (In this effort, he was building on his earlier contribution of writing a decoder that transformed NIDS data from WSI into the McIDAS AREA file format. This decoder is what allows Unidata users to display and manipulate NIDS data with McIDAS.) Harry's long tenure has imbued him with a certain philosophical view of today's hot issues. "The technology may be changing, but the arguments about it never change," he remarks. "We aways want faster computers and more data; we just can't always agree on what this means."

Questions About the Desouza Award?

Questions or comments about the Desouza Award can be sent to: support@unidata.ucar.edu