Dr. Renee McPherson is the University Director of the South Central CASC and an Associate Professor of Geography and Environmental Sustainability at the University of Oklahoma. Dr. McPherson’s background includes two B.S. degrees: Meteorology and Mathematics, as well as both M.S. and Ph.D. in Meteorology. Prior to overseeing consortium-related activities at the South Central CASC, she was the State Climatologist of Oklahoma and Acting Director of the Oklahoma Climatological Survey. Outside of the world of weather and climatology, Dr. McPherson is a proud co-owner of the Green Bay Packers (Go Pack Go!). Learn more about Renee by checking out her video here.
USGS Regional Administrator
Dr. Suzanne Van Cooten’s educational background includes a B.S. in Meteorology from the University of Oklahoma (OU) and M.S. and PhD. in Civil Environmental Engineering from the University of New Orleans.
University Assistant Director
Emma received her B.S. in Meteorology and M.A. in Geography from the University of Oklahoma, and is currently working on a M.Ed. in Adult Education. Her role at the CASC includes serving as the main point of contact between our partners and researchers, leading climate training and education efforts for resource managers, and assisting the University Director. Outside of work, she enjoys hiking and taking photos of nature. Get to know Emma more by checking out her video here.
USGS Assistant Regional Administrator (on detail with DoD)
Dr. Mike Langston’s educational background includes a B.S in Wildlife Ecology from Oklahoma State University (OSU), a M.S. in Ecology from the University of Central Florida and a Ph.D. in Environmental Science from OSU. When Dr. Langston isn’t working with stakeholders, he can be found weightlifting, fishing, backpacking and spending time with his wife Jeri Fleming and their children and grandchildren.
Financial Administrator & Office Manager
Noetta Harjo holds a Master of Education in Adult and Higher Education and a Bachelor of Arts in Native American Studies, both from the University of Oklahoma (OU). After finishing her Master’s degree, Noetta began working at OU in 2014 as a Staff Assistant in the Architectural and Engineering Department and the American Indian Institute. When Noetta is not working, she volunteers at OU Native Community events, mentors her Native sorority Gamma Delta Pi, makes jewelry (mostly earrings) and enjoys writing. Noetta also loves movies and associates as a Ravenclaw from Harry Potter! Get to know Noetta more by checking out her video here.
Dr. Adrienne Wootten is a research scientist who specializes in downscaling and climate modeling, the uncertainty and accuracy associated with the appropriate use of climate projections and data impact assessments and planning. Additionally, she helps stakeholders with technological assistance and the appropriate use of climate projections for decision making processes. She received her B.S. in Meteorology with a minor in statistics, M.S. and Ph.D in Atmospheric Science from North Carolina State University. When she isn’t working, she enjoys being a stained-glass crafter. Get to know Adrienne more by taking a look at her video here.
Dr. Derek Rosendahl is a Research Associate at the South Central CASC. Dr. Rosendahl received his B.S., M.S., and PhD. in Meteorology from the University of Oklahoma. His research role at the South Central CASC focuses on assessing uncertainties in future climate projections from global climate models and their subsequent use in statistical and dynamical downscaling over North America and the south-central U.S. He works closely with downscaling experts at the South Central CASC and helps with communicating uncertainties in future climate projections to the scientific community, decision makers, and the general public. His passion for meteorology and climatology truly shine as he enjoys storm photography and being out in the elements. Get to know Derek more by checking out his video here.
Oak Ridge Institute of Science and Education (ORISE) Participant
Codie Winn is an ORISE Participant. She assists with the annual Award Competition, the tracking of funded projects, coordination of the advisory committees, and the coordination of the Southern Plains Climate Science Webinar Series. She holds B.A. in Environmental Studies from the University of Oklahoma. Outside of work, she enjoys traveling and exploring the outdoors with her child, along with photographing and ID-ing plants and animals.
Climate Adaptation Planner & Research Scientist
Dr. Sharon Hausam’s professional practice and research focus on climate resilience strategies, community-based and collaborative planning, and tribal sovereignty and self-determination. Prior to joining the CASC, Sharon served as the Planning Program Manager for the Pueblo of Laguna, where she initiated work on climate adaptation planning. She is adjunct faculty in the Community and Regional Planning Department at the University of New Mexico. Sharon holds a Bachelor of Science with a double major in Biology and Art, a Master of Environmental Studies, and a Ph.D. in Urban and Regional Planning. She lives between the Sandia Mountains and the Rio Grande on traditional Southern Tiwa Pueblo land, currently known as Albuquerque, where she enjoys gardening, foraging for wild plants, canning and drying food, walking her dog, and hiking.
Research Associate and Tribal Liaison
Yvette Wiley is a researcher and Tribal Liaison and brings 20 years of experience working for tribes in the natural resources and environmental sectors. She focuses on the intersection of water, climate change and ecological systems by researching how harmful algal blooms may affect tribal resources. She is Muscogee and worked for her tribe in the environmental department on streams and wetland protection. She also served as the Director of the Environmental Department for the Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma. She earned a M.S. in Environmental Science from Oklahoma State University with a focus on watersheds and wetlands. Outside of work, Yvette enjoys giving new life to dilapidated furniture by repairing and refinishing. She also loves solo camping, hiking, and kayaking. She shares her home with a bunch of rescued cats who keep her two dogs in check.
Climate Adaptation Specialist – Post doctoral Associate
Dr. Dolly Na-Yemeh’s educational background includes a bachelor’s degree in Geography and Economics from the University of Education, Winneba, an MA in Geography from the University of Cape Coast, an MS in Geoscience with a graduate certificate in GIS at Western Kentucky University, and a Ph.D. in Geography and Environmental Sustainability at the University of Oklahoma. Dr. Dolly enjoys volunteering for community service events and outreach, Zumba, teaching, traveling, and hanging out with family and friends.
Dr. Irenea Lodangco is a research scientist specializing in drought forecasting for the South Central CASC. Dr. Lodangco holds a B.S. in Computer Science from Central College of the Philippines, a M.S. in Remote Sensing from the University of the Philippines and a Ph.D. in Meteorology from the University of Oklahoma. In the past, she has conducted research on the El Nino Southern Oscillation, tropical cyclones, rainfall variability, historical drought analysis, climate classification through cluster analysis, and satellite-derived rainfall estimates. When not working, she enjoys gardening, cooking and traveling the world.
USGS Research Coordinator
Marina Tomer (née Cucuzza) is the USGS Research Coordinator at the South Central CASC. Her background includes a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Ecology from College of the Atlantic, and dual Master’s Degrees in Marine Biology and Marine Policy from the University of Maine. Prior to joining the CASC, Marina completed a John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) where she served as a climate and fisheries specialist. Outside of work, Marina enjoys hiking, cooking, and gardening.
Science Translator and Communications Specialist
Jenifer Henslee Peck holds a B.S. in Meteorology from The University of Oklahoma. She assists with internal and external communications across the South Central CASC as well as producing various media content to showcase the collective knowledge of the center. When not at work you can find her exploring with her child, learning about the world, and volunteering with Alpha Sigma Kappa – Women in Technical Studies.
Sustainability Science Manager and Tribal Liaison
Amelia Cook is the Sustainability Science Manager and Tribal Liaison. She is a proud member of the Chickasaw Nation and science educator.
She holds a degree in Biological Sciences from OSU and a Master’s of Education from the University of Oklahoma, where she is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Science Education. Her research centers Indigenous perspectives and values in climate and science education and exploring question of how education can foster just, sustainable, and thriving communities. During her master’s research, she served as a South Central CASC student intern, supporting the Tribal Engagement program, and collaborating on youth educational outreach efforts. This transformative experience deepened her commitment to science education, supporting Indigenous students in STEM, and collaborating with Native Nations and scientists to understand and respond to a changing environment.
New Mexico Tribal Liaison
Jake Palazzi serves as our New Mexico Tribal Liaison. Jake grew up in Olympia Washington surround by trees and rain and is excited to experience the desert and learn more about the diverse cultures that call New Mexico home. Jake has a bachelors degree in Biology and is interested in diversity-oriented conservation and land management. Outside of work Jake is an avid cyclist and rock climber, as well as a cellist.
USGS Data Steward
Ellen Brown is the USGS Data Steward working with the South Central and Southeast regional CASCs to guide the release of data and software products. She provides data management and policy support throughout the science data lifecycle and is interested in the long-term preservation and quality assurance of scientific data. Ellen holds M.S. degrees in information sciences and physical chemistry from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. She holds a B.S. in chemistry from the University of North Carolina at Asheville. She completed a data management practicum at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory Distributed Active Archive Center (ORNL DAAC), focusing on the migration of ASCII text files to netCDF and writing metadata using Climate and Forecast (CF) metadata conventions. Her research in chemistry was a computational project examining solvation properties of superfluid helium-4 droplets using density functional theory. Prior to this position, she worked as an instructor of chemistry and science librarian.