Kelly Ryan has been working at CIMAS for 3.5 years. She received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in physics and atmospheric sciences at the University of Arizona. During hurricane season, Kelly is one of the scientists onboard NOAA’s Hurricane Hunter aircraft operating and processing data from several different instruments including the new COYOTE drone, dropsondes, Doppler wind LIDAR, and tail Doppler RADAR. During the off-season, she works with numerical weather simulations to improve predictions and to optimize the aircraft observations collected in flight. The flights that Kelly is a part of directly impact the National Weather Service’s hurricane forecasts by collecting accurate data for predictions.
Since Kelly was a kid, she has always wanted to fly on a hurricane hunter airplane. What keeps her passion alive is all of the unanswered questions that still surround hurricanes. Kelly is involved in several outreach projects which aim to get children and women involved within STEM fields. Recently, Kelly spoke at the Intrepid Air, Sea, and Space Museum in NYC to ~100 people from the ages of 5-18 on how NOAA uses drones to understand the hurricane system. Within the event, kids got to build their own drones to help them understand how they work. In February of this year, Kelly also participated in a NOAA webinar aimed towards informing educators about NOAA’s current research and educating them on how to be more prepared in the face of hurricanes. Her main goal in life is to make the public more aware on current science topics and to open their minds on why science is not a daunting topic to be afraid of. Kelly states, “Naturally, we are all scientists because we all ask questions. Everyone can contribute to research just by asking questions.”