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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

New degree caters to military men

Years in the making, a new degree program in meteorology at UA South caters to men enlisted in the Air Force through flexible class offerings and online availability.

Based on the education provided by the associate’s degree provided through the Community College of the Air Force, administrators worked a full year to open the program, which started a week after UA’s spring registration closed in January.

“”It was motivated by the needs of the Air Force personnel at Davis-Monthan (Air Force Base),”” said Yolande Serra, UA research associate professor of atmospheric sciences. “”Eric Betterton, our department head, saw there’s a gap in their education that the UA could help with.””

The degree offers theoretical backing to much of the practical application learned through the military study but will soon be available to any student with an associate’s degree in meteorology and later to environmental and base sciences as well.

“”(Students) will get a stronger theoretical basis and broader topics — more than just weather forecasting,”” Serra said.

The theory-based program gives students further work in global weather modeling, data analysis and building the math and physics skills needed to further enhance the synoptic hands-on training offered through their previous degree.

With one student currently enrolled and 20 more looking to join the program in June, the degree continually gains steam with high interest from many enlisted men at Davis-Monthan.

“”If folks would like to go to school, but they didn’t have the availability due to work schedules or location, this is a great option,”” said Capt. Brian Yates, training flight commander for the 25th flight squadron at Davis-Monthan. “”There’s tons of interest already.””

Receiving positive feedback from the enrolled member of their squadron, Yates has planned a field trip for 20 other interested members of his 140-member squadron to visit the UA campus and learn more about what the degree has to offer.

“”For the enlisted, if they don’t have a degree, and they are looking for one, it’s good across the board,”” he said. “”Plus, when or if they ever get out of the military, UA has one of the top meteorology programs, so it’s really good.””

The degree requires an existing associate’s degree in meteorological sciences, such as the one offered by the Air Force’s community college.

Philip King, the education officer for Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, noted that advanced degrees are always helpful in and outside of the military.

“”The more education they get, the more likely they are to get promoted,”” said King.

Although all in the weather squadron are automatically enrolled in the 64-credit associate’s degree program through the military, the option of continuing their education retains appeal. Complete online availability will allow someone, wherever they are in the world, to complete their bachelor’s of science in meteorology.

The degree is especially enticing since not many degrees cater to military outreach locally and abroad, and the meteorology degree adds a lot to the atmospheric sciences, Serra said.

“”This is the first kind of degree like this that is an outreach to the military here and hopefully will eventually be an outreach to the entire Air Force,”” Serra said. “”Once that happens, there are other Air Force personnel will want to complete their degree, and then they can do that for the UA.””

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