I'm a research scientist at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences who studies the social problems that emerge alongside weather and climate hazards. As an ethnographer, I employ multiple qualitative methods to better understand the various dimensions of harm and capacity that co-occur in disasters. I learn from meteorologists about how they conduct the day-to-day operations of keeping people safe from severe weather. As a hazards geographer, I examine the spatiotemporal dimensions of vulnerability and resilience; and I write about the historical people who influence forecasting today. That is, I consider different technical, ethical, and sociopolitical issues that arise as these experts interact with different kinds of publics. At its most basic, I follow those experts who follow the weather.
I have been fascinated with weather since I was twelve-years-old when I saw a waterspout flit across the Great Salt Lake in Utah. I had never seen anything so delicate and powerful before. Ever since then, I've found myself drawn to the skies, whether it's a simple summer thunderstorm flooding the gutters in my childhood neighborhood or a massive tornadic supercell spinning like a top over the red dirt of Oklahoma.
Before returning to graduate school, I studied creative nonfiction at Goucher College, where I received my MFA. Today, I continue these interests with non-traditional biography of Dr. "Ted" Fujita, contracted with the American Meteorological Society. My most recent essay about my experience storm chasing with a group of Virginia Tech undergraduate meteorology students, "What We Chase," is available in the autumn 2013 issue of The American Scholar.
To learn more, check out my Curriculum Vitae.
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Contact: jennifer [dot] henderson [dash] 1 [at] colorado [dot] edu