Jamie Kruse, former Chief Economist of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), delivered a lecture Wednesday afternoon as part of the McDonald-Mehta Lecture Series.
Texas Tech’s Wind Science and Engineering Research Center (WISE) presents the series.
Kruse’s lecture focused on the time she worked at NOAA and her experience in social sciences. She said NOAA is composed of “mission-driven science”.
“The branches under NOAA that most directly effect WISE are the Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR) and the National Weather Service (NWS),” said Kruse, a former Tech economics professor and current Director for the Center of Natural Hazards Research at East Carolina University.
She said one of the lecture series’ founders Kishor Mehta introduced her to the WISE program as a research associate during her time at Tech.
Kruse informed the audience about the many different branches and cooperative institutes under NOAA, which is funded by U.S. Department of Commerce. The organization is “very extensive,” Kruse said.
There are several cooperative institutes under NOAA and Tech could be a possible site for one in the future, she said.
Jim McDonald, one of the two main founders of the lecture series and former Texas Tech faculty member, said bringing in Kruse allows students to meet someone from a different area of expertise than they are used to dealing with.
Kruse was brought in partially because her past research on the economic impact of storm damage was very valuable to Tech and WISE, McDonald said.
“WISE was basically engineers and meteorologists, and so she brought in another factor with the human factor and the social effect,” he said.
McDonald said her research has opened new doors for research today in WISE at Tech.
Andrew Alleman, a sophomore environmental engineering major from Seabrook, said the lecture was interesting because it was different from what he normally learns about.
“It came from a different perspective than what engineers and scientists usually get,” Alleman said. “How we integrate all of the social aspects and economic aspects is something that we normally don’t think about when we are doing research.”
He said the lecture was very informative about the NOAA organization and all of NOAA’s surrounding organizations.
Alleman said NOAA is an important organization because of its work to integrate the social aspects of modern research with that of research done in the past.
The lecture was the third of five in the McDonald-Mehta Lecture Series. The next lecture is April 6 when Mark Powell gives a presentation involving cyclones.