Adam Clayton, a sophomore majoring in Earth system science, has been named UAH’s first NOAA Hollings scholar. As a Hollings scholar, Clayton will receive scholarship support for the last two years of his undergraduate program.
Clayton said he was introduced to the scholarship program by Ryan Wade, an ESS lecturer and undergraduate advisor. When Wade joined the faculty, he set a goal of bringing Hollings scholarships to UAH. Earlier, while he was at the University of South Alabama, Wade was involved in helping students there win Hollings scholarships.
“Obviously he’s good at getting the selection committee to look at the people he recommends,” Clayton said.
Clayton has been involved in research in severe weather since the summer after his freshman year. He spent part of the past year working with Ph.D. candidate Tony Lyza, investigating a tornadic severe weather outbreak that hit Illinois and Indiana. He will participate this summer in the Research and Creative Experiences for Undergraduates program, working with Lyza and Dr. Kevin Knupp.
While he said he always has been interested in the weather, Clayton says the storms of 2011 and 2014 sparked his interest in studying the weather. He recalls watching from his home in Lawrenceburg, Tenn., the weather coverage during the April 27, 2011, tornado outbreak.
“A tree fell outside our house, but we just had some damaging wind,” he said. “The midday round of storms stayed over our area a long time without moving, so we had some flooding.
“We get the Huntsville TV stations, and I watched it all night. It just seemed to go on and on and on.”
Clayton plans on studying atmospheric science in graduate school, with the goal of either working for the National Weather Service, or teaching and doing research.
The Ernest F. Hollings Undergraduate Scholarship Program was established in 2005 to honor retiring Sen. Ernest Holling, D-S.C. The program is designed to increase undergraduate training in oceanic and atmospheric sciences, to increase public understanding and support of environmental stewardship, and to prepare students for careers in public service and education.
The 2016-18 class of Hollings scholars includes 127 students from 34 states and the District of Columbia.