High school intern with CICS-MD places at PG science fair

High school senior Matthew Bielec, an intern within the ESSIC-administered Cooperative Institute for Climate and Satellites (CICS-MD), recently placed second in the earth and planetary science category at the Prince George’s Area science fair for his work with lightning data.

Bielec began his internship in the fall of 2014 as a requirement for a science and technology program at nearby Eleanor Roosevelt High School in Greenbelt.  His interests lie in computer engineering, and he wanted to find work involving programming.

“The best part about computer engineering for me is solving a problem,” said Bielec. “It’s just a really good feeling.”

Dr. Scott Rudlosky, a NOAA physical scientist whose branch is co-located within CICS-MD, agreed to mentor Bielec. 

As part of his duties, Bielec independently reproduces old weather data using computer code, which he uses to build a severe storm archive. Rudlosky monitors his work and methods by checking Bielec’s results against the already published data.

Rudlosky has been so impressed with Bielec’s work, in fact, that he has asked him to remain with ESSIC over the summer.

“[Bielec] stands out among his peers,” said Rudlosky. “He’s self-motivated.  He sets a good example for the undergraduate students and keeps them on their toes.”

Along with placing first at his high school science fair and second in the Prince George’s area for his data analysis research, Bielec also received awards from NOAA, the American Meteorological Society and the Geological Society in Washington.

Bielec said his experience with ESSIC has given him more practice with programming and inspired him to consider a minor in meteorology.  He will most likely attend the University of Maryland next year, where he plans to pursue a degree in computer engineering.