Dr. Tim Hawkins, professor of geography/earth science, hopes to head to Barbados this spring as Shippensburg University’s newest Fulbright Scholar. He is the twentieth Fulbright Scholar from Shippensburg University, the leader in Fulbrights in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education.

Hawkins plans to investigate the atmospheric climatic drivers of the ocean dynamics in Barbados and use his research for teaching purposes. An ocean event called the north swell can be detrimental to beaches, watercraft, and the infrastructure along the coasts. This directly impacts the environment of the locals who live there as well as the economy, as Barbados is a tourist destination. While the north swell produces world-class surf conditions, the large waves have a negative impact due to the winds associated with the extratropical storms.

In addition to his research, the University of the West Indies will have a future exchange between the students and faculty of Shippensburg University. The content taught to students will include the data that Hawkins and his colleagues collect. The end goal in Hawkins research is to create a statistical seasonal forecast model of north swell probability as well as assess the implications of climate change on the atmosphere and ocean dynamic of Barbados.

This academic year, Hawkins also is working with students in the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s Local Climate Action Program. The program pairs municipalities with college students for assistance in developing the components of their local climate action plans. The participants learn how to measure local greenhouse gas emissions, assess local climate-related vulnerabilities and develop plans to reduce emissions and manage climate change impacts in their communities.