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Meet Andrea Fischer, Summer Student

Andrea Fischer

PST summer student Andrea Fischer

Andrea Fischer, a Pre-Service Teacher (PST) participant at Brookhaven this summer, plans to use her math skills to train future generations of scientists and mathematicians as a middle school math teacher.

"I always loved math," Fischer said. "But I didn't figure out that I wanted to be a teacher until 11th grade when we had to give a lesson in class. I realized I really enjoyed planning lessons and teaching fellow students."

By participating in BNL's Office of Educational Programs' PST program, Fischer has the opportunity to use her math skills to learn about atmospheric sciences. She will ultimately use what she learns at BNL in the classroom — specifically, by creating lesson modules that would allow students to do their own meteorology projects.

Fischer, who will be a senior at Stony Brook University in the fall, is following a family legacy by coming to BNL. Her father, Dan Fischer, is a physicist at the National Institutes of Standards and Technology who works at Brookhaven's National Synchrotron Light Source. Her grandfather, Joachim Fischer, worked for the Lab's Instrumentation Division as a high-energy physicist.

This summer, Fischer is working with mentor Mike Jensen, an associate meteorologist in the Atmospheric Sciences Division. Using moderate resolution imaging spectroradiometer satellite observations, Fischer is analyzing how El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO, commonly known as El Niño) affects the characteristics of marine boundary layer clouds — clouds that reside on the boundary between land and water — that make places like San Francisco cloudy. Researchers have found links between El Niño and marine boundary layer cloud formation in the Pacific Ocean. Fischer is now looking at worldwide marine boundary cloud formation.

"By comparing marine boundary layer cloud properties with El Niño cycle strength, we can investigate the impact of the ENSO cycle on marine boundary layer cloud systems around the entire globe," Fischer explained.

Along with the four other pre-service teachers at BNL, Fischer will prepare an abstract and teaching module about her research done this summer with the help of "master" teacher Betty Leupp. She will be able to use the research experience gained here at Brookhaven to help her future students apply their math skills to life outside of a textbook.

"I think it's really important for students to apply the math they learn to everyday things and to science that interests them," Fischer said.

To learn more about the PST Program and other programs offered by Brookhaven's Office of Educational Programs, click here.

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