National Wind Institute
Texas Tech University
Students at Texas Tech University are trying to protect against the ravages of hurricanes, tornadoes, and other dangerous storms. By studying how extreme storms form and evolve, along with the damage they cause, engineers can design structures to withstand them. At the center's Debris Impact Facility, teams use a custom high-impact gun to fire two-by-fours—the most common storm projectile—at brick walls, shelters, and safes to prove the strength of the targets' materials and design. Other teams race to deploy sensors at sites where hurricanes are predicted to land, to collect data on wind speed, humidity, and more. This year, two graduate students even got to work on a Federal Emergency Management Agency–funded project to assess how well storm shelters held up in the wake of the tornado that hit Moore, Oklahoma, in May.
Careers: Structural Engineer, Atmospheric Scientist