ABOUT OWL

Welcome to the Oklahoma Weather Lab! We are a student-run forecasting organization within the School of Meteorology at the National Weather Center. We highlight the importance of forecasting skills, broadcast and communication skills, and computer programming skills in the field of meteorology. We hold bi-daily forecast shifts, as well as a weekday broadcast shift at Gaylord College with the student newscast OU Nightly. We host monthly meetings for a learning atmosphere after classes. Notable branches within OWL: HOOT (Hub of OWL Operational Technology) OWL's developement team that specializes in computer software, and OWL Broadcast which are short, in-depth videos filmed in our broadcast room on current weather recorded by any OWL member. Any student who is slightly interested in weather is welcome to join!


THE 2021-2022 OWL BOARD

PRESIDENT: CLAIRE DOYLE

Claire is excited to be serving her second year on the OWL board as she completes her senior year at OU. Previously, Claire served as the Director of Operations (2020-2021) where she ensured lab operations ran smoothly. This year, she hopes to continue to expand the reach of the Oklahoma Weather Lab, and serve as an advocate for all members of the organization. Originally from Akron, Ohio, Claire came to OU pursuing a lifelong dream of studying meteorology. After completing her undergraduate degree, she hopes to attend graduate school for a Masters degree in Meteorology. Feel free to contact Claire at any time with inquiries about the Lab!


VICE PRESIDENT: ETHAN SCHAEFER

This is my first year on the OWL Board and third year as a meteorology major at OU. I was a shift leader for the 2020-2021 school year, I'm very excited to serve OWL as Vice President and help the organization flourish as much as I can. Some of my goals include broadening the scope of OWL beyond the School of Meteorology and assisting the Hub of OWL Operational Technology (HOOT) in developing a weather model for the website. I also play trumpet in the Pride of Oklahoma and serve as a consultant in the OU Honors Writing Center. After graduation, I plan on pursuing a masters' degree with a focus in numerical modeling.


SECRETARY/TREASURER: RILEY BYNUM

This is Riley’s second year on the OWL Board. He is currently in his fourth year at the University of Oklahoma, where he is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Meteorology. Riley was the Wednesday night shift leader and Director of Training the previous academic year. Riley plans to go to graduate school following the completion of his undergraduate degree.


DIRECTOR OF DEVELOPMENT: VICTOR ALEJANDRO ALVAREZ

This is Victor's second year on the OWL board. As Director of Development, Victor will maintain and build upon the OWL website and lead the Hub of OWL Operational Technology (HOOT). Victor has many goals set for the 2021-2022 semester including the operational use of GitHub, a new forecasting tool/model page, and the growing HOOT together with other students, among other goals. His career plans after graduating include working in the operational meteorology sector with a focus on short-term forecasting and developing forecasting tools.


DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF DEVELOPMENT: PRESTON ROESSLET

This is Preston's second year in OWL and his first year on the OWL board. He is from Nixa, MO and is passionate about helping spread information about weather particularly during severe weather events to help save lives. This year he will help Victor keep the website up to date and make improvements to it that will allow for better forecasts and other products. He is also passionate about helping others learn more about Computer Science and is excited to teach others how to make websites, use python, and other CS related things!


DEVELOPMENT HISTORIAN: TYLER SALAS

This is my second year with OWL as shift leader, first year on the board as Historian. I am from Yucaipa, CA, I am currently a fire weather intern with the Forest Service based out of California. I plan to continue to work in operational meteorology in fire weather as an incident meteorologist. I am a huge Dodger fan.


CO-DIRECTOR OF BROADCAST MEDIA: EMMA LANDEROS

Emma has been an OWL member since 2018, and this will be her last semester as Co-Director of Broadcast media. Emma spent her summer at KSWO in Lawton, Oklahoma as their weekend meteorologist. She continues to develop more skills through OU Nightly and OWL weather briefs. She hopes to continue practicing her Spanish weather briefs as well.


CO-DIRECTOR OF BROADCAST MEDIA: JULIANA MEIJA

Juliana is a senior Meteorology student and serves OWL as Co-Director of Broadcast. She spent her summer in Iowa working as a broadcast Meteorologist for KCCI 8 Des Moines. She enjoys practicing her forecasting and weather broadcast skills through OU Nightly and OWL weather briefs. Juliana also represents OU as a Campus Tour Guide and is a member of the OU Rock Climbing Team.


CO-DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF BROADCAST MEDIA: ROBBY FROST

I am a sophomore meteorology student from Plano Texas. This fall will be my first year as a shift leader and OWL board member! I am a student operator for the Oklahoma Mesonet and a weather briefer for OU Nightly. I plan to go into broadcast meteorology!


CO-DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF BROADCAST MEDIA: MATTHEW MILLER

Matthew is a senior at OU, majoring in Meteorology with a minor in Mathematics. He has been interested ever since he was in pre-school, even giving "weather reports" in the park. Matthew is affiliated with several organizations throughout campus, including serving as Stream Director for OU Esports and as President of the Tabletop RPG Club, assuring he keeps himself busy. He is very passionate about his interests, and he constantly strives to see all the exciting things that life has in store while being sure to lend as many helping hands along the way.


DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS: JOSEPH ROTONDO

Joseph is excited to continue serving for OWL in his second year on the board as the Director of Operations. He will be setting up shifts and checking in with shift leaders to ensure they are running smoothly. Joseph previously served as the Director of Shifts on the OWL Board. He also ran the Sunday Night Climate Shift and Wednesday Morning Shift. From Massachusetts, Joseph enjoys winter weather and operational forecasting. He hopes to continue his education in graduate school to further research his passions in the atmospheric sciences.


DIRECTOR OF TRAINING: ALAINA KURT

Alaina is a junior meteorology student from Valparaiso, Indiana beginning her first year on the OWL board as the Director of Training, part of the the operations branch. As an OWL member since her freshman year, she is super excited to get more involved with OWL and hopes to better equip shift leaders to effectively teach and guide students in shift operations. She is also involved in the Environmental Science Student Association on campus and works for GeoCarb as an undergraduate researcher. Alaina plans to attend graduate school after her time at OU.


DIRECTOR OF SHIFTS: EMMA SAFRANEK

Emma has been a member of OWL since 2019 and is a junior in meteorology. She works for GeoCarb on OU campus as an undergraduate research assistant and during the summer as a space weather meteorologist intern for Northrop Grumman in Bellevue, Nebraska. Emma will be attending graduate school for either agriculture or remote sensing. As director of shifts, she is a primary contact for shift leaders if they have issues with shifts, and she will check in with the leaders routinely to ensure everyone’s shifts are running smoothly.


DIRECTOR OF OUTREACH: MIKAYLA SMITH

Mikayla has been an OWL member since 2018. This is her 4th year with OWL and second year as a member of the board serving as the Director of Outreach again. She is a senior studying meteorology with a double minor in both math and broadcast. Mikayla spent her summer at News on 6 in Tulsa to further her broadcast career before graduation in May. Mikayla is also heavily involved with OU Nightly where she is the Senior Weather Producer, a weather anchor, a reporter, as well as in the past serving as a weather assistant, weather briefer and crew member. She is excited to see what all can be accomplished for OWL, OU Nightly and the school of Meteorology this 2021-2022 school year.


DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF SHIFTS: DRAKE FOLEY

Drake is a 2nd year Meteorology student in his second year with the Oklahoma Weather Lab. This is his first year on the board. He is majoring in Meteorology and minoring in Broadcast and Communications. In his spare time he runs a weather podcast. His goal as the Deputy Director of Outreach is to get more involvement from students outside of meteorology to help them gain knowledge in weather in order to be aware and educated.


HISTORY OF OWL

1998 - 2006

OWL was officially formed during the Fall of 1998, and was the idea of then-seniors Kevin Scharfenberg, Brian Good, and Kevin Manross. They discussed the idea with Dr. Fred Carr, who was more than willing to help out and provide funding. The SoM purchased the first OWL computer that year, and it was up and running by the end of the Spring of 1999. Shifts started that Spring as an introduction, to make sure everything would work, and formal shifts began in the Fall of 1999.

For most of the 1999-2000 school year, Christina Hannon headed up OWL, which was then passed on to Trisha Brune and Joshua Palmer near the end of the Spring 2000 semester. Under their leadership, the attendance of OWL increased while the program became more established in the OU community. The OU Daily, the OU student-run newspaper, started carrying the OWL forecasts, and OWL gained a second computer.

When Joshua Palmer and Trisha Brune graduated, Nathan Bain, Angela Beauchamp, Nicole Haglund, and Ryan Willis stepped up to take control. In Spring 2003, OWL got their own forecast room, complete with observation windows and its own Linux-powered weather server. In Summer 2003, OWL continued producing forecasts through the off-season for the first time, while Jim Southard joined OWL's officer corps after Angela Beauchamp graduated.

In Fall 2003, OWL restarted the tradition of having a mapwall, where students and faculty alike could get a look at a complete suite of current weather maps all housed on one wall. A video mapwall was added in Spring of 2004, where eight large screens interactively displayed current weather maps, observations, and imagery. Both mapwalls were housed within the Williams Forecasting Lab (room 1468 in the Sarkey's Energy Center), providing the School of Meteorology with copious and instantaneous data in one single, centralized location.

The winds of change swept OWL during its Fifth Anniversary year. Both Nicole Haglund and Nathan Bain graduated, and class commitments caused the departure of Ryan Willis. Jenifer Henslee joined the officer team, while Jim Southland pulled double duty in the interim. In Spring of 2005, Jim Southlard graduated and Megan Ferris, Phillip Hurlbut, and Chad Garneau came aboard, filling out the roster of officers, adding new enthusiasm and extra stability while setting the stage for OWL's forthcoming innovations. In early 2006 Tristan Baruth joined the team, bringing plenty of new life and ideas with him.

Fall 2006 was the start of a new era for OWL. Patrick Marsh, David Bodine, and Kevin Goebbert took control of the organization and led a series of reforms to bring new life to the organization. They recruited a group of enthusiastic freshmen, were heavily involved in many shifts, registered OWL as an official OU student organization, and expanded OWL's clients to May Fair and a soccer tournament. During the spring, Hoot members completely revamped the OWL site for the first time since OWL's inception, giving it the visual look that lasted until the website went down in 2015 and it was rebuilt in 2019.

2007 - 2010

In Fall 2007, rapid change continued to mold OWL. OWL's constitution was drafted and approved, creating a new officer structure and merging OWL with the Hoot project. The first elections under the new constitution made David John Gagne the president, Tim Marquis the vice president, and Travis Darling the secretary/treasurer. David Bodine and Luke Madaus directed operations while Kevin Goebbert and Chad Schafer directed development. The new OWL website made its public debut, and the enrollment process was moved online. Starting with that Thanksgiving and Christmas break, OWL resumed producing forecasts over the holidays. The spring semester featured many more changes taking effect. Regular shifts started on the first day of the semester for the first time in OWL's history. The first Norman podcasts were issued on the website. Joe Young created a more efficient and visually appealing Hoot site. OWL forecasts returned to the OU Daily. Winter weather and severe weather workshops were held for the membership. OWL T-shirts were also produced and sold for the first time.

By Fall 2008, OWL had matured, but more opportunities lay ahead. The officers from last year were all reelected, and Luke Madaus and Tim Supinie advanced to directors of operations and development with Alex Zwink and Joe Young handling the deputy duties. OWL's largest freshman class yet was inducted. OWL began producing podcast forecasts that were played on Island 107 FM in Key West, Florida. During this year, a new forecasting and user account system was being implemented to allow OWL shifts to be run completely electronically. During the spring, OWL began running an operational WRF model with output posted on the Hoot site. To handle the large number of duties, a set of standing committees was created. These included committees on Numerical Weather Prediction, Activities, Outreach, Verification, and a committee dedicated to forecasting and nowcasting outdoor events. The Committee on Adverse Weather (CAW) provided weather support for Medieval Fair, May Fair, and OU Commencement. Elections at the end of the year brought in a new crew of officers. Alex Lamers became president, Keith Sherburn became vice president, and Jessica Erlingis took over as secretary/treasurer. Alex Zwink and Tim Supinie managed operations and development, while Lamont Bain and Andrew MacKenzie were their respective deputy directors.

Throughout the Fall of 2009, OWL's role in the OU community continued to evolve. For the first time, OWL's Outreach/Activities Committee participated in OU's freshman orientation events in order to advertise the new OU Campus Forecasts Facebook page. The OU Campus Forecasts page was an instant hit, gaining hundreds of fans within the first month of its inception. During the winter storms of the 2009-2010 season, OWL forecasters provided live blogs on the OU Campus Forecasts page to keep students updated on changing weather conditions. Meanwhile, CAW's list of clients expanded during the spring as they provided forecasts for the Noble Rose Rock Festival and the Norman Music Festival. Near the end of the year, new officers were elected. Keith Sherburn, Sarah Stough, and Nicole Ramsey took over as president, vice president, and secretary/treasurer, respectively. Additionally, Lamont Bain was appointed as the Director of Operations, while Greg Blumberg took over as Director of Development. Their respective deputies were Brandon Smith and Charles Kuster.

The new Director of Operations made an early impact during the Summer of 2010. He was the first member in OWL's history to be on air live on Island 107 FM while being interviewed regarding possible impacts of Tropical Storm Bonnie on Key West. This will likely be one of many firsts for the organization this year, as the new group of officers will allow OWL to truly take flight.

This is where the current history ends. I shall update it more once I get more information to fill it in which with any luck should happen in the coming months.