Unidata Welcomes New committee Members

The Unidata Program Center is pleased to welcome new members to the program's governing committees. Committee members serve three-year terms, meeting twice each year to provide feedback on the effectiveness of the Unidata Program and advise staff on issues facing the university community. Appointments reflect the range of large and small colleges and universities with undergraduate and graduate emphases where Unidata systems are in use.

The following provides a brief introduction to the scientists joining Unidata's committees. You can find additional information about the governing committees, including contact information for committee members, on the Governing Committees page.

Sean Freeman, Users Committee

Sean Freeman

Dr. Sean Freeman is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Atmospheric and Earth Science at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH). His primary research interests are clouds, cloud physics, and the relationship between convective clouds and their environments. To study clouds, Dr. Freeman uses numerical modeling, observations from uncrewed aerial systems (drones), and cloud tracking techniques, including the open-source Tracking and Object-Based Analysis of Clouds (tobac) package, for which he is a lead developer.

“I have used Unidata software and services throughout my career. NetCDF has been a critical pillar supporting my research using large datasets for years now, and the innovations and new software supported by Unidata, such as MetPy and the associated tutorial resources for Python, have greatly benefitted me and my students.” says Freeman.

“Unidata has long been an important contributor to Open Science in atmospheric and earth science,” he continues. “I am honored to be able to help advise Unidata as we enter into a cloud-centric era. I hope to provide the perspective of both a user and an open-source software developer that relies on Unidata services for research and teaching.”

Guiseppe Torri, Strategic Advisory Committee

Guiseppe Torri

Dr. Giuseppe Torri is an Associate Professor in the Department of Atmospheric Sciences and an affiliated faculty member at the Water Resources Research Center at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. His main research focus revolves around tropical atmospheric dynamics and weather extremes, with the overarching goal of providing impactful and actionable science to help communities in tropical regions.

“Having worked extensively with Unidata technologies, such as the Integrated Data Viewer and NetCDF libraries, I've experienced firsthand the impact these tools have on both research and education in atmospheric science,” says Dr. Torri. “Unidata's commitment to open-source tools and accessibility is unmatched, and I've always admired their proactive approach to catering to the evolving needs of the geoscience community.”

“In joining the Strategic Advisory Committee, I aim to strengthen ties between academic institutions, government agencies, and private sector stakeholders in leveraging Unidata tools for more holistic research and problem-solving. I also want to support the continuous evolution of Unidata tools to accommodate advancements like AI/ML, ensuring they remain relevant and cutting-edge. It's an exciting time for the field, and I'm enthusiastic about contributing to the direction Unidata takes in the coming years.”

Dr. Torri has been affiliated with the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa since 2018 and has actively promoted the integration of technology in both research and classroom settings.

Users Committee Student Representative

Graduate student representatives bring a valuable student perspective to Unidata committee discussions, and help Unidata meet emerging challenges with an eye toward supporting young scientists entering the field.

Roger Riggin, Users Committee

Roger Riggin

Roger Riggin is beginning a two-year term as the Users Committee's Graduate Student Representative. He is pursuing a Doctoral degree in Infrastructure and Environmental Sciences at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNCC), with Dr. Casey Davenport as his advisor. He also received his Master's Degree in Earth Science from UNCC (2022), and a Bachelor’s Degree in Geography (with a focus on Meteorology and GIS) from Salisbury University (2020).

Riggin has been incorporating open-source Unidata software in his research toolbox for several years now. Most recently, he used a combination of MetPy and Xarray to analyze/visualize high-resolution idealized model simulations investigating the impacts of complex terrain on supercell thunderstorms. He plans to continue using these and similar technologies to analyze sources of environmental heterogeneity and their impacts on severe convection during his Ph.D.

As a Graduate Student Representative, Riggin hopes to share the great utility of the software and data tools available through Unidata with students across the university community. He would also like to identify more opportunities where Unidata software can be used in the classroom environment. Additionally, he plans to communicate students' needs and discuss how they can be incorporated into future Unidata products. Lastly, he also hopes to promote student engagement in open-source projects and communities in the geosciences.

Returning Committee Members

Several sitting committee members have agreed to extend their terms of service:

Casey Davenport

Casey Davenport, Users Committee

Dr. Casey Davenport is an Associate Professor of Meteorology at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She has served on the Unidata Users committee since 2017, and becomes co-chair of the committee this fall.

On taking on the role of committee co-chair, Davenport says: “In addition to supporting and providing feedback on the mission of Unidata, I hope to bring an emphasis and enthusiasm on how to best educate, train, and support the next generation of scientists. Data, tools, and technology continue to rapidly evolve, and I believe it is critical for Unidata to ensure students are well-prepared to leverage these new technologies to solve science problems.”

Alexander Davies, Users Committee

Alexander Davies

Alex Davies is an Instructor of Practical Applications in the U.S. Naval Academy (USNA) Oceanography Department, where he serves as the Department’s Environmental Data Manager and Command Meteorologist. He has served on the Unidata Users committee since 2017, and becomes co-chair of the committee this fall.

On taking on the role of committee co-chair, Davies says: “My primary goal is to continue to support and advocate for the software, services, and support Unidata already provides to the community. In addition, I’d like to continue to advocate for a “wide net” approach with the hope of capturing more data users beyond the atmospheric sciences and the currently-supported software packages.”

Kevin Goebbert, Strategic Advisory Committee

Kevin Goebbert

Dr. Kevin Goebbert is beginning a three-year term on the Strategic Advisory Committee. Dr. Goebbert is an Associate Professor of Meteorology at Valparaiso University, and has served on the Unidata Users Committee since 2014, most recently as the committee chair.

Alex Haberlie, Users Committee

Alex Haberlie

Dr. Alex Haberlie is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Earth, Atmosphere, and Environment at Northern Illinois University. He has served on the Unidata Users committee since 2020, and has renewed his commitment for a second term.

James Potemra, Strategic Advisory Committee

James Potemra

Dr. James Potemra is a professor in the Hawaii Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) at the University of Hawaii (UH). He has served on the Unidata Strategic Advisory committee since 2020, and has renewed his commitment for a second term.

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