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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Meteorology professor reflects on 10 years teaching at A&M

Dr.+Conlee
Photo by Photo by Casey Dawson
Dr. Conlee

While forecasting the weather is his forte, Don Conlee, is celebrating a decade of teaching meteorology at Texas A&M by continuing to inspire his students beyond their walk across the stage.
From serving in the U.S. Navy as Director of Remote Sensing Programs and Fleet Systems Commander in 2001 to his vital role as the Gulf Region Manager for Nortek USA, a scientific instrumentation company in 2008, Conlee brings his extensive knowledge of oceanography and meteorology to the O&M Building in the Department of Atmospheric Sciences.
Conlee teaches ATMO 201, 203, 251, 456. Conlee teaches various combinations of Directed Study, Undergraduate research, and Special Topics (Study Abroad) 485, 491, and 489. Conlee is a Naval Weather Service Association Lifetime Member and specializes in Meteorological and Oceanographic in-situ instrumentation.
As a native Mississippian, Conlee said he grew up in a diverse, well educated environment, which inspired him to be successful in his academics.
“I was introduced to people that were titled Dr. often in my town as a child and I remember telling my mom, ‘Those aren’t doctors,’ it was a typical way for someone who ended up being an academic to grow up,” Conlee said.
Conlee got his first meteorology internship at the National Weather Service in Stoneville, Mississippi when he was 17 years old. He went on to become one of the first graduates in the meteorology program at the University of Louisiana, Monroe. After graduation, Conlee served in the Navy as an oceanographer and meteorologist.
“I completed a full career in the Navy but another great fortune was that I got the opportunity while active for the Navy, to work on two advanced degrees being my master’s and Ph.D.,” Conlee said.
Through the Office of Naval Postgraduate school and a Naval Research Fellowship, Conlee got to choose where he wanted to get his Ph.D. Conlee said he looked at places that believed were geographically suitable for monitoring weather conditions.
“I decided between Texas A&M and Oklahoma University, which both had strong meteorology departments,” Conlee said. “A&M partially because they had a good track record of understanding the time pressures that a military officer would be under to graduate on time so this helped me decide that A&M was the right place.”
After getting his Ph.D., retiring from the Navy and working for the National Weather Service at 29 years old, Conlee decided to pursue a job at A&M.
“I look at teaching as something that I was originally supposed to do,” Conlee said. “Everything I completed before this job prepared me well enough to be a more valuable resource for students and I enjoy mentoring and teaching undergraduates to help them have the most meaningful and educational experience that they can while at A&M.”
Quinton Lawton, meteorology junior said Conlee is a stand out professor because he devotes much of his time to helping to enrich and engage students in meteorology.
“Dr. Conlee goes out of his way to provide instruction both within and outside the classroom, as evident in a number of high-impact experiences offered to students, such as leading weather balloon launches, organizing study abroad experiences and leading a number of undergraduate research projects and opportunities,” Lawton said.
Leland MacDonald, meteorology junior said Conlee struly cares about his students.
“Dr. Conlee was instrumental in the renovation of our weather center on the twelfth floor of the O&M building,” MacDonald said. “He is always willing to listen when students come to him for perspective, and he has written job, internship and graduate school recommendation letters for too many students to count.”
Keeping in mind the importance of impacting student lives, Conlee said he wanted to use meteorology to prepare all of his students for the real world.
“When I think about what kind of professor I want to be, I keep my focus on to not only teach but to make an impact,” Conlee said.

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    Photo by Photo by Casey Dawson

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