Evans named acting director of Institutes of Energy and the Environment

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Jenni L. Evans, professor of meteorology, has been named acting director of the Penn State Institutes of Energy and the Environment (PSIEE) by Neil Sharkey, interim vice president for research. The appointment is effective July 1.

PSIEE is the central coordinating structure for energy and environmental research at Penn State. Organized under the Office of the Vice President for Research, PSIEE brings together more than 500 extraordinary faculty, staff and students to advance the energy and environmental research missions of the University.

PSIEE's current director, Tom Richard, professor of agricultural and biological engineering, will be on sabbatical July 1, 2014, through June 30, 2015. “Jenni is an outstanding scholar and an experienced and dedicated leader, with a proven track record of assembling and facilitating successful interdisciplinary teams. We are extremely fortunate to have Jenni accept this position and I am confident that PSIEE will be in good hands during the coming year, said Richard.

Regarding Evans’ appointment, Sharkey said "I am absolutely confident that Dr. Evans will do an excellent job in guiding PSIEE in Dr. Richard's absence."

Evans says, “As acting director, I am eager to continue to foster the many interdisciplinary initiatives organized by PSIEE.”

Evans received her bachelor of science with honors and doctorate in applied mathematics from Monash University in 1984 and 1990, respectively. She served as visiting scientist with the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif., and as a research scientist with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) in Melbourne, Australia, before being appointed as an assistant professor of meteorology at Penn State in 1992. Evans was promoted to associate professor in 1998 and to full professor in 2005. She holds a joint appointment in the Earth and Environmental Systems Institute (EESI) and served as its interim director in 2013.

Evans’ research interests are organized around the themes of tropical cyclones, tropical convection and climate change. She is a member of a small group of scientists who recognized and developed the research area of extratropical transition (ET) of tropical cyclones. Recent ET events of importance to the US include Hurricanes Ivan in 2004, Ike in 2008 and, more controversially, Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

The forecasting tool she developed during that effort is actively used by the U.S. and Canadian National Hurricane Centers, as well as the U.S. Air Force Weather Squadron, the Joint (U.S. Navy/Air Force) Typhoon Warning Center.

Evans’ research has been supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Aeronautical and Atmospheric Association (NASA), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the U.S. Navy. Since 2003, she has served as the professional team lead meteorologist for the Florida Commission for Hurricane Loss Projection Methodology, and in 2010, she was elected a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society.

For more information about Evans, visit http://ploneprod.met.psu.edu/people/jle7 online. For more information about PSIEE, visit http://www.psiee.psu.edu/ online.

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Last Updated May 21, 2015