Danielle Kozlowski, a student in the atmospheric science M.S. program, will spend the fall semester helping meteorologists at Southwest Airlines steer their flights out of the path of nasty weather.
As an intern in the weather office at Southwest’s new Dallas headquarters, Kozlowski will be part of a team that prepares weather briefings and helps make real-time decisions about weather issues related to the airlines’ hundreds of flights every day.
The internship revives for Kozlowski her early dreams of being an operational meteorologist.
“When I was an undergrad at Mizzou, I really thought I wanted to go into the National Weather Service,” she said. “I like research to a certain extent, but I really like the operational side of things.”
Kozlowski said she helped with forecasting during the DC3 campaign, but “it has been a couple of years since I had an opportunity to sit down and look at the weather every day, and I really miss that.”
The St. Louis native said she considered applying for a Southwest internship while she was an undergrad, but didn’t. The decision to apply as she works to finish her thesis (which she might have to return to Huntsville to defend) was, she said, “a whim.”
Working with Larry Carey, Kozlowski’s thesis research looked at lightning strikes, and when and where they happen in storm systems. She looked at storms that did generate tornadoes and some that didn’t, looking for correlations and patterns linking lightning to the formation of tornadoes.
Southwest’s meteorologists take on research projects and case studies in addition to their forecasting, “so I’m never going to be bored,” she said. “I think it’ll be fun.”