I grew up near the Twin Cities, MN and experienced all kinds of weather growing up. Being interested in math and science during high school, I decided to pursue a college degree in meteorology. I liked the idea of studying a science topic that impacts people every day. I attended Iowa State University from 2012 to 2015, where I earned my bachelor of science in meteorology. During that time, I was a member of the local AMS Student Chapter, and served as vice president and president from 2013-2015.

During the summer of my junior year, I had the opportunity to study at a NOAA facility through the Ernest F. Hollings Undergraduate scholarship program. I spent a summer in Norman, Oklahoma at the NOAA National Severe Storms Laboratory studying how social media was used before and during the May 20th, 2013 Moore tornado to communicate vital forecast and response information. After that experience, I decided to pursue a masters degree and at least explore a research career.

I received my master of science in meteorology from OU and the Cooperative Institute for Severe and High-Impact Weather Research and Operations (CIWRO) in 2017, developing an hourly climatology of tornadoes for the US. During my Ph.D. I worked with the OU Institute for Public Policy Research and Analysis (IPPRA),

where I was exposed to social and behavioral science methods, further combining my interests in meteorology and decision making. I defended my Ph.D. in 2020, with my work focusing on the development and testing of severe weather timing information. I worked with forecasters, emergency managers, broadcast meteorologists, and the general public to understand if and how timing information for severe weather events would be useful.

After defending my Ph.D. I worked as a Research Scientist at OU IPPRA for three years, studying how people make decisions in the face of uncertain weather events. In 2023 I joined the NOAA National Severe Storms Laboratory as the Social Science Team Lead. I collaborate frequently with colleagues at OU IPPRA and CIWRO using multiple methods and studying all kinds of high-impact weather. My work generally focuses on decision making and risk communication during severe weather events.

Besides my research activities, I am a competitive figure skating coach, a leisure runner, a craft beer drinker, a dedicated cat mom, and a proud woman in STEM. My ideal evening includes good beer, great people, and usually two orange fur children.

To learn more about Kenzie, see her CV or get in touch at makenzie.krocak at noaa dot gov.