Fellows Society Current Graduate Fellow: Charley Fite

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Charley Fite

Hometown: Belmont, North Carolina

2018 – present

M.S. and Ph.D. in Meteorology

Future Investigators in NASA Earth and Space Science and Technology (FINESST)


Educational/Professional Background

I got my bachelors in meteorology from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in 2018, with a minor in mathematics and dual honors for the department and the university. My focus within atmospheric science is air pollution, and my first exposure to that subfield was during an internship at the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality where I was an air quality forecaster for the state. The following summer I was accepted into the NASA Student Airborne Research Program (SARP) where I was able to fly on a NASA research aircraft in California taking samples of air pollution in Los Angeles, and then creating a research project with the collected data. The summer after that, I interned at NASA Langley Research Center to better understand smoke plume transport from wildfires.


Research and Teaching Interests, or Professional Field

My research interests lie in atmospheric chemistry/air pollution, particularly from fires. Fires, both large wildfires and small agricultural or prescribed fires emit smoke into the atmosphere that gets transported by winds, chemically reacts, and and cause air pollution problems for communities downwind. I research particularly how well we can represent smoke from these fires in models. Similar to how there are weather models, there are also models for atmospheric chemistry. I run simulations of many fires to see the impact that the emissions has on air quality, and how well the model is able to simulate this in comparison to observational measurements from satellites, ground instruments, or aircraft.


Experience as A Graduate Student at FSU

This past summer with my research advisor I was a scientist helping with the NASA FIREX-AQ aircraft field campaign to study smoke from wildfires, prescribed fires, and agricultural fires in the United States. I was able to fly on a NASA plane filled with many scientific instruments to fly into wildfire smoke plumes and take measurements of all of the chemicals in the smoke. I also was able to help in running forecast simulations for smoke plumes so that the NASA mission leaders would be able to plan out which fires were best to target. Overall, this was a very rewarding experience that I am very thankful for and would not have been able to do if I were not at FSU with my research advisor.


Experience as A Member of The Fellows Society

I am still new to the Fellows Society but so far I have found it to be a great way to interact with other bright and motivated minds at FSU, and I see it being beneficial to my graduate school experience in the coming years.

Future Plans/Aspirations

I plan to get my doctorate, and then I would like to become a researcher at NASA, NOAA, or the EPA, where I could continue studying air pollution, the climate, and how humans can impact it.


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