Emily Wisinski standing next to the Robert Cramer Research Hall building sign.

Emily Wisinski has been awarded a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Hollings Scholarship.


Junior Emily Wisinski, an honors student in the Department of Earth System Science at The University of Alabama in Huntsville, a part of the University of Alabama System, has been awarded the nationally competitive National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Hollings Scholarship.

The Hollings Scholarship program provides undergraduate students with the following benefits: academic assistance for two years of full-time undergraduate study and a 10-week, full-time paid summer internship at a NOAA facility. Selected students have the opportunity for hands-on experience in science, research, technology, policy, management and education activities within NOAA.

Students can also attend the annual Science & Education Symposium and science conference where students have the ability to present their research.

Wisinski first heard of the NOAA Hollings Scholarship when she was a high school senior. Once she found that the program was open to college sophomores, Wisinski worked extensively during the first two years into her studies to have a viable chance at the scholarship.

“I knew UAH was a research-heavy institution, so I wanted to get involved as soon as possible,” she says. “Since the Department of Atmospheric and Earth Science (AES) is relatively small, there are a multitude of opportunities for undergraduates to get involved with what they are interested in very early on in their academic careers.”

Wisinski is no stranger to the UAH AES department, and she has taken every opportunity to become involved in organizations and events pertinent to her research interests, including being secretary for UPSTORM; a member of the UAH American Meteorological Society/National Weather Association Student Chapter; co-chair of the 2021 Rocket City Weather Fest; involvement in the NASA Short-term Prediction Research and Transition (SPoRT) Center; and a NASA internship for summer 2021 with the Sally Ride Internship.

Working extensively with AES helped Wisinski learn about the vast opportunities the department offers its students; its co-location with NASA programs and the National Weather Service opened up interdisciplinary internships and classes offered to both undergraduate and graduate students.

The most prevalent experience is Wisinski’s current internship with SPoRT, working with Jordan Bell on building a 20-year hail damage swath events database using satellite remote sensing. In addition to providing a great mentor, this program has allowed Wisinski to apply her classroom learning to real-world research applications.

For her NOAA Hollings application, Wisinski worked extensively with Ryan Wade, AES senior lecturer and advisor, to successfully demonstrate her qualifications in her application. Wade first met Wisinski when she visited UAH three times when touring universities, and they discussed at length how all of the opportunities offered by AES could make her competitive for national scholarship programs.

“Emily is an amazing student who is extremely driven to succeed at UAH and beyond,” Wade says. “We developed a plan of opportunities for her to target as a first-year student, such as Sally Ride EarthKAM, NASA Disasters and NASA SPoRT, and then apply for the Hollings Scholarship as a sophomore. This award is a testament to her planning and work ethic, and I’m excited to see what Emily will do for the future.”

The courses at UAH set her up with a great knowledge base and work ethic, Wisinski says.

“I have made genuine connections with my professors, who provided me with a support system and pushed me to strive for achievements, such as Hollings,” she says. “I would like to thank [AES Lecturer] Megan Sirbaugh and Ryan Wade for their continual encouragement and support!”

Wisinski also noted the importance of having a research mentor in Jordan Bell and the courses and professors at UAH.

“Without these mentors guiding me and opening up doors for me to succeed, I would not be where I am right now.”

After obtaining her bachelor’s degree in Earth system science, Wisinski plans to attend graduate school. Although she’s not yet entirely sure what area of study she will choose, she is interested in continuing her work on both severe weather and climate science.



Ryan Wade

Jennifer Staton