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This is the fifth and final "Meet the Scientist" journal entry featuring the members of the intrepid Automatic Weather Station crew. Have you been wondering who is with me here in Antarctica and who we communicate with? Have you wondered how these people became scientists and what kind of experience and qualifications they have in order to get here? "Meet the Scientist" should answer those questions and more.

Dr. Matthew Lazzara

Dr. LazzaraDr. Matthew Lazzara is the Principal Investigator of the Automatic Weather Station project. Dr. Lazarra is the principal investigator of the AWS and AMRC projects. That means he is the person in charge of the project. While he did not travel to Antarctica with us this year, he has been to "the Ice" many times in the past. In terms of my participation in the project, Dr. Lazarra has been completely accommodating and very inclusive. He took a great deal of effort to make sure that I was a complete member of the team to include my two visits to Madison. One of the most remarkable compliments that I can give Dr. Lazarra is that no matter when I would send an email asking a question, Dr. Lazarra would almost always be the first to reply (sometimes even later at night!) with a thorough answer. I even got to sit in on one of the weather and climate classes that he teaches at the Madison Area Technical College. He was in touch with the team almost constantly while we were in Antarctica, even while he and his family were driving across the country for the holidays!

Below is the description that you will find for Dr. Lazarra on the AMRC/SSEC (The Antarctic Meteorological Research Center (AMRC) and Automatic Weather Station (AWS) program at the Space Science and Engineering Center at the University of Wisconsin–Madison:

Dr. Matthew A. Lazzara is an Associate Scientist and Research Meteorologist at the Antarctic Meteorological Research Center (AMRC), Space Science and Engineering Center (SSEC), University of Wisconsin–Madison (UW–Madison). He is presently the Principal Investigator of the Antarctic Automatic Weather Station Program, Antarctic Meteorological Research Center and the Arctic Satellite Composite Project. In the AMRC, Lazzara supports and maintains the generation and archive of Antarctic weather data, including the Antarctic satellite composite images and the processing of SSEC’s Automatic Weather Station (AWS) data collected by the AWS network in Antarctica. Additionally, he investigates meteorological phenomena in the Antarctic and conducts educational outreach activities with schools and organizations. He has worked on site at McMurdo Station, Antarctica, and at UW–Madison from 1995 to the present.

Dr. Lazzara teachingDr. Matthew Lazzara teaching pre-schoolers! Matthew Lazzara is a faculty member in the Department of Physical Sciences, School of Arts and Sciences, at Madison Area Technical College, where he teaches weather and climate.

As a Research Specialist at SSEC from 1991 to 1999, Lazzara supported users, tested software, and trained and demonstrated SSEC’s Man computer Interactive Data Access System. He is the past Chairman of the McIDAS Advisory Committee, coordinating input from the McIDAS Users Group to the McIDAS project.

Matthew Lazzara graduated from Lyndon State College (LSC) in Vermont in 1991 with a B.S. in Meteorology and minors in Mathematics and Physics. While at LSC, Lazzara organized weather data for an electronic weather bulletin board, maintained the school’s meteorology lab, served as a weather intern at WLNE Channel 6, in Providence, RI, and worked at WWLR FM radio in Lyndonville, Vermont. He also substitute taught science at the King Philip Regional High School, in Wrentham, MA during and after college.

Lazzara also holds a M.S. in Atmospheric Science from the UW–Madison, with a thesis on Atmospheric Predictability during the Tropical Ocean Global Atmosphere/Couple Ocean Atmosphere Response Experiment (TOGA/COARE). He earned a Ph.D. in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences with a minor in Curriculum and Instruction from the UW–Madison. This thesis research focused on a diagnostic study of Antarctic fog.

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