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June 2006

Random Profile: Meral Demirtas

Meral Demirtas
Meral Demirtas. (Photo by Carlye Calvin.)

Every other month, Staff Notes Monthly spotlights a stochastically chosen staff member. This month we profile Meral Demirtas, an associate scientist in the Research Applications Laboratory (RAL).

Bridging research and applications: Meral started with MMM about a year and a half ago, but moved to RAL during the reorganization. She's stationed in the Developmental Testbed Center (DTC), where she's part of a team of researchers working with the Weather Research and Forecasting model (WRF).

WRF is a next-generation computer model for weather prediction that can be used by both researchers and operational forecasters. Conceived in the late 1990s, it is currently in the testing stage and was used last summer to predict the paths of hurricanes.

The current WRF software framework supports two variations of the model: the Advanced Research WRF developed and maintained by MMM, and the Nonhydrostatic Mesoscale Model developed by the National Centers for Environmental Prediction, with user support provided by the DTC.

Meral's role in the DTC includes testing both WRF models. For the Nonhydrostatic Mesoscale Model, she also provides user support, organizes tutorials, gives presentations, works on scientific documentation, and other such tasks.

The job is an ideal fit for her, for not only does she find it gratifying to provide a service to the atmospheric sciences community, but she's also very happy working in applications. "I'm fascinated by putting scientific findings into applications and seeing how they are used," she says. "I feel like a bridge."

Navigating a different culture: Meral hails from Istanbul, Turkey. Before she came to NCAR, she earned a Ph.D. in meteorology at the University of Reading in the United Kingdom, after which she worked for the Turkish meteorological service in Ankara.

She's here at NCAR on a two-year contract, with the possibility of staying longer. "It's gratifying to work at a place like NCAR because it's a nice organization," she says.

The fact that this is her first experience in the United States gives her job an added challenge. "It's hard to come from overseas and learn to do things in a different culture and language, even if my experience in the United Kingdom is helpful," she says.

In her previous workplaces, she was accustomed to more group gatherings, particularly informal tea and coffee breaks. The work style here feels more individually focused, she notes. Summertime is also much busier here with conferences, workshops, and visitors than it is in Europe and Turkey, where the pace of work typically slows down for a few months.

Life in Boulder: Although she gets homesick for Turkey, Meral especially appreciates Boulder for its hiking options. Living in south Boulder gives her great access to trails, and she heads up to the mountains when she can.

She also likes Boulder's array of organic grocery stores. "I think Boulder is an excellent place for organic foods," she says. "I'm really spoiled." She likes to cook Turkish foods as well as other cuisines, with a preference toward dishes with lots of fresh vegetables.

When she's not hiking or cooking, Meral might be found at her favorite places in town: the Boulder Public Library and its branches. "I read almost everything—philosophy, psychology, history, anthropology, weekly magazines, etc.," she says. She also enjoys classical music and going to the movies.

Other than Boulder, the only other place she's visited in the United States is Washington, D.C. "I liked the capital," she says. "I love the mountains here, but I also miss being in big cities."

by Nicole Gordon

In this issue...

The long wait

New book helps water utility managers grapple with climate change

Katy Schmoll, COMET win awards in May

Climate change meets the arts

Random Profile: Meral Demirtas

UCAR Child Care Center accreditation

Delphi Question: Protecting polyamorous individuals

Just One Look


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