RENCI at ECU teams with Dare County Schools during Hurricane Awareness Week

GREENVILLE, NC, June 12, 2008 – Faculty and graduate students from RENCI’s engagement center at East Carolina University hit the road in the RENCI Outreach Vehicle for Education and Research (ROVER) to discuss the weather at several Dare County schools during the last week in May.

As part of Hurricane Awareness Week, a team from RENCI and the Center for Coastal Systems Informatics and Modeling (CSIM) talked with students in several area schools about how weather affects the North Carolina coast and how researchers measure changing patterns in the weather and in the coastline.

The RENCI/CSIM group visited 10th graders at Manteo High School and 7th and 8th graders at Manteo Middle School. Students learned about storm impacts on the coast and discussed storm related safety preparation.

Tom Allen, associate professor of geography and associate director of RENCI at ECU, demonstrated a prototype of a storm surge model that works with Google Earth. From the back of ROVER, Allen and geography graduate student Garrett Nelson taught students to navigate Google Earth to locate the coast, their homes, and their school.

Paul Fletcher, associate professor of biology at ECU, demonstrated amateur radio, a technology that emergency responders rely on during emergencies, and one Manteo Student, a radio enthusiast, talked live to an amateur radio operator in Okinawa, Japan.

Donna Kain, assistant professor of technical communication and director of outreach for RENCI at ECU, worked with students to create teen-to-teen public service announcements about storms and evacuation safety.Third and fifth graders at Nags Head Elementary also had a visit from ROVER and learned about measuring wind speed, pressure, and temperature using hand-held devises. Working in small groups, the students measured and recorded weather data at different locations on the school grounds.

“Overall, the students seemed really engaged and interested in the technology,” said Kain “We’re pleased that we could come out in the ROVER and work with the schools.”

RENCI…Catalyst for Innovation
The Renaissance Computing Institute brings together teams of talented researchers, engineers, technologists and leaders in government, business, the arts and humanities to attack major research questions and community issues in ways that accelerate discovery and drive innovation. RENCI has nationally significant expertise and capabilities in high performance computing, visualization, collaborative tools, networking, device prototyping, and data systems as well as engagement sites across the state. Founded in 2004 as a major collaborative venture of Duke University, North Carolina State University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the state of North Carolina, RENCI is a statewide virtual organization.  For more, see