Merit scholar finds match in meteorology

When Ayrton Bryan began narrowing his college choices as a senior in high school, he knew he was looking for a university with a strong meteorology program and a welcoming atmosphere. He found both at Texas A&M.

Metorology student Ayrton BryanMetorology student Ayrton Bryan"At first, I wasn't really sure where I wanted to go. I narrowed my scope to three colleges and came to visit A&M," said Aryton. "I loved it, loved the campus, loved the people, loved the program. It had a feeling I didn't get anywhere else. It's very unique."

As a freshman, the Tyrone, Georgia, native brought an impressive résumé to College Station. Ayrton had captured the attention of top science programs such as Cornell and MIT with his strong academic history and National Merit Scholar designation. But for Ayrton, the program that had the most to offer was at A&M.

"Everything was so impressive," Ayrton said of his visit to the facilities in the A&M atmospheric science program. "It seemed like they had every facet of atmospheric science pretty much fine-tuned and covered. Other schools just didn't feel the same."

When Ayrton made the transition from academic recruit to enrolled student, A&M did not disappoint. He not only found a challenging academic home, but also engaging professors like John Nielsen-Gammon of Atmospheric Sciences who "made things that were intangible seem really practical and normal."

"I expect to have to work hard in my classes," Ayrton said of the rigor of his education. "That was a big eye-opener coming in, just the level I needed to step up to in order to do well."

Ayrton's hard work and personable nature have translated into success in this new environment.

In addition to being named a University Scholar since his arrival, Ayrton has embraced leadership roles in multiple organizations. He is active in the A&M branch of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the University's freshman orientation, Fish Camp, and the nation's largest student-run service project, The Big Event. And this spring is off to a weeklong trip to the Texas A&M Qatar campus.

Most recently, Ayrton added undergraduate research to his list of activities.

After asking around for a of summer job, Ayrton found a research position with atmospheric sciences professor Gunner Schade. Ayrton now spends time building weather observation stations that Schade's group deploys in the Houston area to collect data on air quality, ozone, carbon dioxide and soil moisture.

With one year of college and a multitude of experiences now behind him, Ayrton offered a word to the wise for those who might follow to A&M.

"Academics should always be the number one focus, but getting involved will really help you grown in ways that only studying can't," Ayrton said. "Getting involved has made me work harder so that I can stay involved."

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