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UGA student wins AMS Washington Scholarship for third consecutive year

Katie Cowart

Jada Smith, a fourth-year undergraduate majoring in atmospheric sciences, has won the American Meteorological Society (AMS) Warren and Mary Washington Scholarship. 

“I am still in shock,” said Smith about receiving the scholarship. “When I first got the email, I had to reread it to process it fully.” 

The AMS Washington Scholarship is funded by Dr. Warren and Mary Washington. They established a scholarship to be awarded to underrepresented students in atmospheric and climate science. 

Dr. Warren Washington is a Past President of the AMS and became one of the first developers of groundbreaking atmospheric computer models. These models, which use fundamental laws of physics to predict future states of the atmosphere, have helped scientists understand climate change. As his research developed, Washington worked to incorporate the oceans and sea ice into climate models. Such models now include components that depict surface hydrology and vegetation as well as the atmosphere, oceans, and sea ice.

“I hope to become a FEMA Meteorologist to assist with weather communication to emergency managers to prepare and assist any communities affected by hazardous weather events,” said Smith. “The FEMA mission of ‘helping people before, during and after disasters…’ aligns with exactly what I want to do. After Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, I felt that calling to help others. It wasn't until I got into college that I realized that I could combine my passion for weather and passion for helping into one.”

UGA undergraduates have won the AMS Washington Scholarship three years in a row. Amanda Bowden won in 2020, and Nikita White won in 2021. Both were double majors in atmospheric sciences and geography. 

“Jada has been an absolute joy to work with on a lengthy research project and in her classes,” said John Knox, undergraduate coordinator of the UGA Atmospheric Sciences Program. “She is not only a straight-A student; she is great fun to be around, and she cares deeply about the people around her.”  

 “The recipients of the AMS scholarships are future leaders in our field,” said Marshall Shepherd, director of the program. “This is the fifth year in a row that a UGA student has won a senior scholarship from the AMS—of the big-name schools in our field, only the University of Oklahoma can match that.  And our last three recipients have been brilliant African American women from the state of Georgia.” 



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