Jeff Cwagenberg is a sophomore from Farmington Hills, Michigan. He is part of the Department of Atmospheric, Oceanic, and Space Sciences pursuing a major in Earth System Science Engineering. Jeff shares his story about how he became interested in his major:
“ Surprisingly, growing up, I was always terrified of thunderstorms. This one night at a camp run by my school district, we were sleeping outside in tents as opposed to the usual dormitory. The afternoon was one of those, where you knew that there were going to eventually be storms, but we set up ‘camp’ anyways. Just before bedtime, I was walking through the lodge back from brushing my teeth, and I saw a crowd gathering in the lobby. They were all standing around the TV, which was odd because it was never on. As I walked by, that unmistakable red warning banner was lining the bottom of the screen. As we went outside to bring everything back in from the tents, I noticed the sky rotating, and something resembling an upside down cone dropping from the sky above us. What I would later find out is that this funnel cloud above us would eventually go on to become a weak tornado. That is how my passion for weather started.”
His future plans might involve graduate school and, ultimately, either forecasting or climate research.
Jeff joined the team in his freshman year since he was looking to join something to which he could apply his major. After hearing that Solar Car had meteorologists on the team, he was immediately drawn in. In this summer’s ASC, Jeff will be the team’s meteorologist. His primary responsibility will be forecasting, which will significantly affect the team’s strategic decisions. One of his favorite memories with the team happened on a night of the typical GTM (general team meeting). Once the meeting ended, he stopped in at the Wilson Center and was able to attach some ribs in the car. He never imagined that he would have the experience to work on building a car, however small a contribution, he adds.
He is really looking forward to the race this summer since he will be forecasting on-the-go, which is a much more difficult task than forecasting inside in Ann Arbor. He is also excited for the stage stop in Ann Arbor as well as to see how the other teams operate. Additionally, Jeff gets excited about Toy Story although watching movies will be a luxury which he will have to live without during the race. He reflected that he always loved the concept of toys coming to life and that the third installment really connected with him as a college student leaving home for the first time. With his skills as a meteorologist, Jeff will be a great asset to the race crew this summer.