McKenzie Larson

  • Program Year: 1
  • Academic Institution: University of Colorado Boulder
  • Field of Study: Synoptic Meteorology
  • Academic Advisor: Andrew Winters
  • Practicum(s): Practicum Not Yet Completed
  • Degree(s):
    B.A. Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences & Physical Geography, University of Colorado Boulder, 2022

Summary of Research

I am interested in studying synoptic and mesoscale meteorology in graduate school. In particular, I am eager to expand our knowledge of extratropical cyclones and the jet stream. After studying downslope winds along the Colorado Front Range for my NOAA Ernest F. Hollings internship and expanding upon this research for my undergraduate Honors Thesis (awarded summa cum laude), I plan to continue studying high-impact weather in this region. My graduate school research project involves improving operational weather forecasts for cyclones along the Colorado Front Range. Many believe that the “cyclone problem” has been resolved, but this is far from the truth as there are still many different aspects of cyclones we do not yet fully understand. I want to better understand the physical processes associated with cyclones in this region and will create a real-time website to assist forecasters when they are creating their forecasts. Furthermore, I would like to extend this study to a future climate scenario to examine how cyclone characteristics change in a warmer climate. It is imperative that we improve forecasting these storms as they put lives and property at risk.

Publications

Oral and Poster Presentations:

Larson, M., Schlatter, P. T. (2021), Downslope Wind Verification of the National Blend of Models Across the Northern Front Range of Colorado, Abstract [390508] presented at 2022 Annual Meeting - Annual Student Conference, AMS, Houston, TX 22-23 Jan. (Poster)

Larson, M., Schlatter, P. T. (2021), Downslope Wind Verification of the National Blend of Models Across the Northern Front Range of Colorado, Abstract [A41E-07] presented at 2021 Fall Meeting, AGU, New Orleans, LA 13-17 Dec. (Oral)

Larson, M., Schlatter, P. T. (2021), Downslope Wind Verification of the National Blend of Models Across the Northern Front Range of Colorado, Abstract [TMAW-4] presented at 2021 Midwest Student Conference on Atmospheric Research (MSCAR), University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 25 Sept. (Oral)

Larson, M., Schlatter, P. T. (2021), Downslope Wind Verification of the National Blend of Models Across the Northern Front Range of Colorado, Abstract [B3] presented at 2021 Annual Earth System and Space Science Poster Conference, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, CO 3 Dec. (Poster)

Larson, M., Browne, E. C. (2021), Investigating Wintertime Sources of Organic Aerosols in Cape Cod, Abstract [EC-10] presented at 2021 Rendezvous, CIRES, 21 May. (Poster)

Larson, M., Browne, E. C. (2020), Investigating Wintertime Sources of Organic Aerosols in Cape Cod, [A036-0009] presented at 2020 Fall Meeting, AGU, 1-17 Dec. (Poster)

Awards

National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship, 2022 (declined to accept DOE CSGF)

A five year fellowship with three years of financial support that recognizes outstanding students in STEM fields. This fellowship application includes a research proposal for the student's graduate studies.


American Meteorological Society Graduate Fellowship, 2022

One year fellowship that recognizes outstanding students who are pursing graduate degrees in atmospheric science or related fields.


University of Colorado Boulder Diversity Recruitment Fellowship, 2022

A fellowship awarded because I was nominated by the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences as a diverse applicant to CU Boulder and to the department’s doctoral program.


CU Boulder College of Arts & Sciences Honors Scholar, 2022

As part of the Honors Scholars Program, I completed 3 Honors courses, attended at least 2 Honors events per semester, and completed 5 hours of community service per semester. The purpose of this program is to become more involved in the Honors community at CU. I was selected as the 2022 Featured Honors Scholar and gave a speech at the 2022 Honors Scholars Reception.


NOAA Ernest F. Hollings Undergraduate Scholarship, 2020

A prestigious scholarship and internship program awarded to undergraduate juniors majoring in NOAA mission fields. I was awarded this scholarship in April 2020 and have since completed an internship at the National Weather Service Weather Forecast Office in Boulder, Colorado to research downslope windstorms. My project was entitled "Downslope Wind Verification of the National Blend of Models Across the Northern Front Range of Colorado."


CU Presidential Scholarship, 2018

This scholarship is awarded to the top 1-3% of the University of Colorado Boulder's (CU) nonresident class. As a Florida resident, I was awarded this scholarship when I enrolled at CU in recognition of my high school achievements.


Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) Grants, 2020, 2021

UROP grants are awarded to undergraduate students at CU to pursue independent research and fund research projects. I was awarded my first UROP grant for Summer 2020 on my project entitled "Investigating Wintertime Sources of Organic Aerosols in Cape Cod, Massachusetts." Recently, I was awarded my second UROP grant for the 2021-2022 Academic Year on my current research project entitled "Quantification of Atmospheric Gases Emitted During Dew Evaporation."


University of Colorado Boulder Dean's List, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022

In the College of Arts and Sciences, a GPA of 3.750 or higher is required to earn a spot on the Dean's List.