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557th meteorologist earns Weather Civilian of the Year

OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Nebraska -- Air Force officials recently announced a member of the 557th Weather Wing as the Weather Civilian of the Year.

Samantha Strong-Henninger, 16th Weather Squadron meteorologist, has been working for the 557th WW for three years.

"I began my career as an intern with the 557th WW, what was then the Air Force Weather Agency, on the Air Force Weather Web Services team while completing my master's in meteorology at Creighton University," Strong-Henninger said.

She now works on the Air Force's new Global Air Land Weather Exploitation Model.

"We are currently in the midst of assisting all of our users, Air Force and joint partners, in their transition to GALWEM," Strong-Henninger said. "My role as a subject matter expert is to provide advice, technical solutions, and recommendations on capabilities and policies involving GALWEM. In addition to my SME role, I am heavily involved in the design and development of new or improved capabilities to the model, including implementing numerical weather algorithms needed by our users."

She said she finds the job very rewarding.

"I love that I am working at a highly technical level, yet still get asked to provide advice for big decisions in Air Force Weather's future. I love that my opinions and advice are highly valued."

Additionally, her accomplishments do not go unnoticed.

"Samantha has done an amazing job learning technically complex externally-created weather modeling software and science and then adapting it to meet the needs of over 6,000 DoD weather users," said Evan Kuchera, 16th WS. "In less than a year she established herself as the subject matter expert on this new weather model, making her a lynchpin in its operationalization with 7.5 million model forecast product views in the last 12 months."

These are only a few of the achievements that earned Strong-Henninger the award, for which she said she is truly humbled by.

"I appreciate my leadership nominating me and being so supportive," she said. "It's been a great honor to win the award.  I feel very much appreciated and respected, which is all I could ever ask for in my career."