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Shaunna DonaherAssociate Teaching ProfessorDirector of Undergraduate StudiesChair of ENVS Undergraduate Curriculum Committee


  • BS, Atmospheric Science, University of Massachusetts Lowell
  • MS, Meteorology and Physical Oceanography, University of Miami
  • PhD, Meteorology and Physical Oceanography, University of Miami


My current research interests are (1)observational atmospheric data collection with a focus on boundary layer processes, (2) evaluating climate trends with long-term data sets and (3)science education research.I am particularly interested in promoting undergraduate participation in data collection and analysis, and partaking in outreach to enhance scientific awareness in the local community.

The boundary layer is defined as the lowest part of the atmosphere, where contact with the ground influences atmospheric processes. This includes wind shear, turbulence, vertical mixing, and rapid heating or cooling. The most important reason to understand boundary layer processes is because this is the part of the atmosphere in which we live!

My past studies of the boundary layer have included:

  • Multi-wavelength radar analysis of landfalling tropical cyclone rainbands in South Florida
  • Lidar analysis of trade wind cumuli in the Tropical Atlantic
  • Aerosol and cloud variability work in the marine stratocumulus deck off the west coast of South America
  • Studying air-sea fluxes collected via a passenger ferry in Long Island Sound

There are many potential future opportunities for students to study the atmospheric boundary layer (or other observational meteorology projects), especially with the new weather station at Emory. Students that are interested in conducting independent study research with me should contact me about a proposed project. I generally ask students to complete a class with me (ideally ENVS 229) before beginning a data analysis project.

As someone who has been involved in atmospheric research since early in my undergraduate career, I understand the importance of experiencing scientific research to improve student learning. I have been examining the effectiveness of using inquiry teaching in an undergraduate classroom as well as ways to improve science connections for female students through a positive self-image. I am extremely passionate about researching ways to improve science education in the future, especially at the undergraduate level and through the use of real-world data-driven examples.