Professor serves state as climatologist

Stuart Foster, a geography professor at WKU, was recently elected as president for the American Association of State Climatologists. The position begins July 2012.

Shane Wood

Stuart Foster is more than just a WKU professor, though he would be the last person to boast about his accolades.

If he were to list his accomplishments, Foster would have to include Kentucky state climatologist, president-elect of the American Association of State Climatologists (AASC), director of the Kentucky Mesonet and the Kentucky Climate Center, and professor of geography at WKU.

In one year, Foster’s president-elect status for the AASC will be dropped and he will inherit a greater role. Starting July 2012, Foster will begin a two year term as president for the AASC.

“We have a mission of providing climate services to the people around the state, whether it’s private individual citizens or branches of local and state government,” Foster said.

As a climatologist, Foster studies climate change, climate variability and predicts the effect of weather on crops and vegetables.

The AASC, a professional organization founded in 1976, helps provide climate services for the nation and improves communication when data arises.

As AASC president, Foster will engage in regularly scheduled monthly conference calls and periodic national meetings.

As director of the Kentucky Mesonet and Kentucky Climate Center, the state climate office located in the Environmental Sciences and Technology Building in Room 356, Foster’s work consists of managing risks associated with daily weather and impending climate change.

His duties don’t go unnoticed by students and colleagues of the department of Geography and Geology. After all, he has been at WKU for the past 24 years.

Eaton, Ohio, graduate student Christopher Blinn has only high praise for his advisor.

“I would argue that he is by far one of the most knowledgeable professors and faculty members on campus,” said Blinn, who’s majoring in Geosciences.

Blinn, who will defend his thesis and graduate in December, worked with Foster while making maps of different weather stations across America. After building a business relationship with the professor, Blinn was able to make Foster his advisor.

“I cannot speak enough of Dr. Foster,” Blinn said.

With the help of his education from WKU, Blinn already has landed a job as a Geographic Information System consultant in Indiana.

Another student, Paducah senior Lee Campbell, has also worked with Foster in the Kentucky Climate Center.

Campbell, president of the WKU chapter of the American Meteorological Society, said WKU is special because of professors like Foster.

“At WKU, we have professors that are willing to help,” Campbell said.