Jennifer Strahl, Meteorologist/Lead Trainer – Honolulu

Jennifer joins the Pacific Desk with experience in weather forecasting, broadcast meteorology, scientific research, programming/development, and education.  She earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Atmospheric Science from Purdue University.  Her thesis research used the Zwack-Okossi equation to diagnose explosive cyclone development and trough merger aloft. She taught senior-level forecasting labs and was a perennial strong contender in the Purdue Forecasting Game.  Her summers were spent as an intern at a local TV station, as well as The Weather Channel, in Atlanta, GA.

Upon graduation, she joined two projects at the Naval Research Laboratory Marine Meteorology Division, in Monterey, CA.  There, she worked directly with operational forecasters to develop automated maps and charts, data fusion and post-processing techniques, and interactive display systems for mesoscale models used by Fleet forecasters.  She also provided on-site user training and documentation. Education and training has been a constant presence and passion throughout her career, primarily in secondary- and university-level   physical sciences, including two international schools.  Not only has she taught introductory and advanced meteorology courses, but also chemistry, physics, and forensic science.  She has also led  professional-development workshops for colleagues.  Jennifer has been an officer in two local chapters of the American Meteorological Society and has served as president of the Purdue University Science Alumni Board. She lives on O‘ahu with her husband Brian, Technical Development and Research Coordinator at the Joint Typhoon Warning Center, and new baby boy, Declan Makaio, who arrived unexpectedly early in the middle of Cohort 3.

David Hitzl, Meteorologist/Trainer – Guam

David Eugene Hitzl joins the Pacific Desk with experience in educational program development, tropical weather research and forecasting, and teaching. He has been fascinated with meteorology since the age of ten when he would read the entire newspaper weather page each day before his paper route. David earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Literature from the University of California at Santa Cruz and subsequently a Master’s Degree in Meteorology from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa.

His master’s thesis focused on mesoscale weather phenomena around the Hawaiian Islands, using the WRF model, with emphasis on airflow through the ‘Alenuihāhā Channel.

In 1999, the UCSC Humanities Department presented David with an undergraduate Dean’s Award for excellence in writing. The previous summer, he interned at a local southern California newspaper where he arranged interviews and wrote several articles. More recently, he has published in Monthly Weather Review and is currently preparing a subsequent paper for the same meteorological journal. David has taught English at a French lycée and reading and writing to adolescents at a school for those with Asperger’s Syndrome. He is fluent in French and has a working knowledge of Spanish and Japanese.

His final semester of college, David volunteered at the Homeless Garden Project in Santa Cruz and administered writing seminars leading to the creation of a book of poems written by the workers. He was also involved in the creation and running of the The Kickstand bicycle shop in Honolulu, which provided full-scale shop services as well as bicycle maintenance education for the community. He has a love of travel and enjoys experiencing other cultures. He is also an avid and accomplished surfer and has lived in Hawaii for the last 15 years.

Thomas Okamura, Communication Systems Trainer

Tommy is the Operations Manager for the TASI Research Program.  He is responsible for planning, design, implementation, and managing the technical systems and application networks and user technologies of the PEACESAT Satellite Communications program.  Additionally, Mr. Okamura was responsible for the State of Hawaii Telehealth Access Network (STAN) Network Operations Center, and the Telecommunications and Information Policy Group (TIPG) Multi-Media department. In the capacity of the Operations Manager, Mr. Okamura participated in the planning, implementation and development of the American Samoa, Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) ERATE networks that provided high speed data, the Internet and centralized network connectivity to local educational institutions throughout their respective areas.  Further allowing opportunity for distance education and other program informatics to be possible.