Lubbock residents gather at the Science Spectrum to take part in the 14th annual Severe Weather Awareness Day on Saturday, March 7, 2020 at 2579 South Loop 289.

The Science Spectrum hosted the 14th annual Severe Weather Awareness Day Saturday.

Booths with experiments and informative pamphlets were set up throughout the building for attendees. The Lubbock Sheriff's Department, the National Weather Service and KCBD were among some of the organizations running the booths.

The Texas Tech student chapter of the American Meteorological Society had multiple booths set up and coordinated with the Science Spectrum for the event. Aaron Mehner, an atmospheric sciences master's student from Cape Girardeau, Missouri and president of the organization, said this event was the organization's biggest public outreach event.

In addition to the event, Mehner said the organization works to have guest speakers come to campus and fund trips for students to go to national conferences. He said while the student organization mostly consists of graduate students, it is open to anyone interested in joining.

“Every year, it does pretty well. It’s a pretty good turnout of people,” Mehner said.

Mehner also discussed the three different research vehicles brought from Tech in addition to their booths showing weather-related experiments and simulations. The vehicles were part of a variety of research and rescue vehicles for severe weather situations.

“We brought some of our research vehicles and we parked them outside, so we’ve given tours of those things as well,” Mehner said.

Isaac Arseneau, an atmospheric sciences master's student from Pekin, Illinois, said one reason he came to Tech was for outreach events such as Severe Weather Awareness Day.

“There are very few universities that are so small yet so focused on field work, so that really increases your chances of getting to participate in something like this,” Arseneau said of the event and the research he does.

Quite a few people had stopped by his research van to ask questions, Arseneau said.

“Today we’re talking about weather safety,” Arseneau said. “So, we’re trying to spread awareness kind of about meteorology in general and promote awareness of safety and also generate some interest in science.”

Arseneau enjoyed speaking to attendees of the event, he said. The ability to spread information and awareness about meteorology is important.

“As a self-proclaimed huge weather nerd, I think the opportunity to talk to somebody about the weather is always a good one,” he said.

The event featured multiple raffle events throughout the day. Items such as rain gauges, pocket-sized weather radios and disaster preparedness kits were raffled to attendees.

John Robinson, a meteorologist for KCBD, thanked the attendees for coming to the event during one raffle.

“We hope you’re having a great time,” Robinson said. “There’s a lot of information from all of these local entities here: the Red Cross, the National Weather Service, Hockley County Storm Chasers and some other groups as well.”

After one raffle, the same stage was used for a variety of experiments. An employee of the Science Spectrum demonstrated multiple scientific phenomenons, such as Bernoulli’s Principle and condensation, in front of dozens of children.

One booth at the event was not weather-related but looked to recruit volunteers for a Tech study examining how emotions affect the achievement of fourth, fifth and sixth grade children.

Sommer Powell, a junior majoring in nursing and human sciences from Culpeper, Virginia, helped run the recruitment booth for the Bio Social Lab, a part of the human resources department at Tech.

Individuals who sign up for the study take a series of academic games and tests while physiological readings, such as heart-rate, are monitored, Powell said.

“We have 145 families right now, and we’re trying to get to 220,” Powell said.

Powell said she is involved with multiple aspects of the study including recruitment of families and data analysis.

“We run families on the weekends and on the weekdays as well, so we stay pretty busy,” Powell said.

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