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Sara Ganetis: Hollings Scholar Not Afraid to Get Wet

July 13, 2009



UAlbany junior Sara Ganetis

UAlbany junior Sara Ganetis would jump at the chance to chase a storm. (Photo Karl Luntta)

Sara Ganetis is inspired by a favorite quote from E.B. White about weather forecasters.

"All we need is a meteorologist who has once been soaked to the skin without ill effect. No one can write knowingly of the weather who walks bent over on wet days."

It is safe to say that Ganetis revels in a thunderstorm.

Ganetis, a junior in The Honors College at the University at Albany from Jamesport, N.Y., has won a coveted Ernest F. Hollings Scholarship from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

"I have no idea what drew me to weather," said the Presidential Scholar, who plans a double major in atmospheric science and mathematics. "I remember being 7 years old and telling anyone and everyone that I wanted to be a meteorologist."

Through the scholarship, she has been able to learn about NOAA, and has found opportunities for careers that combine her two long-term goals, research and forecasting. Ganetis is looking at the National Hurricane Center in Miami, Fla., the National Severe Storms Laboratory in Norman, OK., or the National Weather Service in the New York, N.Y. or Boston area as the site of her NOAA internship next summer.

"The most exciting things about this internship are the chance to travel anywhere from New York to Guam and the chance to study anything from tornadoes to hurricanes," said Ganetis, who has a 4.0 GPA for her first two years of college.

Would she like to be a storm chaser like faculty adviser Distinguished Professor Lance Bosart in the Department of Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences, who encouraged her to apply for the scholarship?

"Any atmospheric science major who spends hours with their nose in a textbook or their eyes glued to a computer screen would jump at a chance to chase storms. When you spend so much time studying something, you definitely want to go out and experience it," said Ganetis, who chose UAlbany because its atmospheric science program was the perfect size, not too big and not too small.

"Also, the faculty were more personable than at other universities," she said. Location played a role because she wanted to be away from Long Island, but not too far away. The opportunity to participate in UAlbany's Honors College was also a draw because it provided more of a challenge and an enriching living environment.

Jeffrey Haugaard, Sara Ganetis, and Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences Chair Christopher Thorncroft

From left, Honors College Director Jeffrey Haugaard, UAlbany junior Sara Ganetis, and Department of Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences Chair Christopher Thorncroft in the map room, where UAlbany students track weather patterns. (Photo Karl Luntta)  

"I am very proud of Sara for winning the prestigious Hollings Scholarship, as it is clear recognition of her outstanding academic performance and her potential as an atmospheric science scholar. Sara is one of many outstanding students in the community of developing scholars that is The Honors College all of whom contribute in many ways to the UAlbany environment," said Honors College Director Jeffrey Haugaard.

Outside of the classroom, Ganetis is secretary for the Circle K community service club, treasurer of the American Meteorological Society Albany Club, and a member of the Presidential Honors Society. She will be a Person of Extraordinary Talent (POET), one of the orientation counselors for incoming honors students this year.

This summer, Ganetis has an internship at Hobart and William Smith Colleges as part of a summer research program funded by the National Science Foundation. She is conducting a climatological study of lake-effect precipitation on small lakes in California and Nevada.  



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