Meet ATMS undergraduate Brandon Garcia. He's a junior from west of Chicago.
What research project are you currently working on? What new skills have you gained from this research opportunity?
I am currently working with Deanna Hence and Scott James, looking at how the Olympic Mountains of Washington State enhance precipitation associated with fronts. Through this opportunity, I have learned an unbelievable amount about the research process. I have developed skills coding in Python, worked with supercomputers, used model-simulated and observational data, and learned how to be critical of my findings. Additionally, I have learned how to present my science through papers, posters, and oral presentations. The research opportunities that I have received at UIUC have propelled my skills to new heights and I look forward to continuing to learn more!
Tell us about your favorite experience so far at the University, and within the Department:
My favorite experience within the department would have to be the storm chasing class with Jeff Frame. During the summer of my freshman year, I had the opportunity to go out to tornado alley to forecast and experience the type of weather that I was learning about in my classes. It was on this trip where I saw my first tornado, fields covered with so much hail that it created fog, winds that could knock you off of your feet, and some of the best storms that I have ever seen.
My favorite experience at the University was when I volunteered to run the Sustainability Living Learning Community during freshman orientation. With my position, I helped create an escape room, facilitate events, and get the freshman used to UIUC by answering questions and giving them tours of campus. I really enjoyed collaborating with my friends to make a successful orientation and I loved helping the freshman get oriented. Additionally, the tornado sirens went off during move-in, which made the experience even more memorable.
What activities and hobbies do you have outside of school?
Outside of school, I like to play video games with my friends from high school. My friends and I mostly play competitive shooters like Valorant, but we also enjoy playing more casual games like Minecraft. When my friends are not playing, I enjoy watching gaming, history, or science-related videos on YouTube. Another one of my bigger hobbies is playing Pokémon GO. This augmented-reality game allows me to collect items and battle against other players by visiting landmarks or interesting places in the real world. The many landmarks on campus allow me to play the game with thousands of other players in the Champaign-Urbana area while I also explore the beautiful and historic UIUC campus. Finally, of course, I enjoy keeping up with interesting current-weather events through Twitter while also keeping my eyes glued to the weather models.