Lincoln-Way East graduate sets sights on meteorology
Thursday, April 20, 2017

Lincoln-Way East graduate Alex Krull has been busy throughout the past five years. After graduating from high school in 2012, he received his Bachelor of Science in Meteorology from Valparaiso University in May of 2016. Krull is now pursuing a Master of Science in Meteorology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

“Watching Tom Skilling on WGN every night sparked my interest in meteorology,” says Krull. “He always had me keeping an eye on the sky, starting when I was about five or six years old.”

Although his fascination with weather was sparked at a young age, Krull credits his high school teachers and opportunities with enhancing his interest. “Lincoln-Way provides an extensive list of electives that provide us with background information that allows us to go out and learn more on our own if we desire,” he says. “Meteorology with Mr. Miller was the first time I actually got to explore the science of meteorology during my senior year at East. Being able to take four years of math at Lincoln-Way was needed, as most meteorology degrees require three semesters of calculus, as well as differential equations and statistics. I recently used my skills from my computer repair class to fabricate a weather observation automobile.”

By using computer models, Krull studies all physical processes that precede and cause thunderstorms to develop. On April 11, 2017, Krull presented his master’s thesis topic on convection initiation. “The Lincoln-Way East Speech and Acting Team provided me skills in organizing my thoughts, as well as clearly communicating my message in a way that listeners could become engaged and comprehend the content,” he says. “I learned to avoid just reading the slides, using the whole floor to reach out to all audience members. It also was helpful in reducing the nerves of public speaking. I am grateful for the work with Speech teammates and Mr. Eiden.”

This summer, Krull will participate in the "RiVors" field campaign with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and other academic research institutions. He and his colleagues will fly unmanned aircraft systems (UAS)—more commonly referred to as drones—in thunderstorm environments to collect upper-air observations; these upper-air observations can then be utilized in computer models, including those that Krull uses for his thesis work on convection initiation.

As Krull is “continuing to chug away” at his research, he hopes to join the National Weather Service upon completion of his degree. He aims to link his research to operational forecasting in order to more effectively communicate meteorology with the public.