Hi everyone! My name is Delián Colón-Burgos and I am a 2021 Hollings Scholar! I study meteorology and atmospheric science, with a geography minor, at Penn State University. I am from Puerto Rico, where the frequent threat of tropical cyclones fostered a passion for weather early on. Experiencing Hurricane Maria in 2017 and seeing the devastation it caused on the island made it certain I wanted to become a meteorologist.
I’ve always wanted to visit the National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida, so I was stoked to see there was an opportunity to do my NOAA Hollings internship there! During my internship I worked on an applied research project adding radius of maximum wind for landfalling hurricanes (1852-1970) in the continental United States, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, to the Atlantic Hurricane database and proposing a radius of maximum wind value for landfalling hurricanes between 1970 to 2021. This work is valuable for better understanding how radius of maximum wind relates to other variables and serves to improve its use as an indicator of a tropical cyclone's storm surge, often the greatest threat to life and property from a hurricane.
As part of my internship, I also got to train on the Tropical Analysis and Forecast Branch Surface Desk, where I learned how to produce operational products that aid in decision-making related to atmospheric conditions, including the Unified Surface Analysis and the Atlantic Tropical Weather Discussion.
At the end of my internship, I felt extremely grateful for the experience and confident that the skills and knowledge I had gained throughout the summer would be helpful for graduate school and my professional career. My mentor, Chris Landsea, was super supportive and helped me expand my network.
My internship reaffirmed my passion for tropical meteorology and hurricanes and opened my eyes to all the opportunities available within NOAA to serve the community in this field.
The Hollings Scholarship is an extraordinary opportunity where you will not only gain an amazing network and lots of new skills, but it will also open many doors for you in the future!
Delián Colón-Burgos is a 2021 Hollings scholar and meteorology and atmospheric science, with a geography minor, at Penn State University.