Biography and Education
As the state climatologist, Mary Knapp occupies a unique position in the Department of Agronomy. She is responsible for establishing and maintaining a statewide network of equipment for gathering of weather data, and answering questions on climate and weather matters. She also maintains the web site that provides a constant update and complete archive of weather-related data for Kansas.
Her degree is in Agronomy from K-State, but her career path back to the department was not entirely straightforward. The Weather Data Library started at K-State in 1976 in the Physics Department. Mary started working at K-State after a stint in the Peace Corps in Dominican Republic as a rice specialist. After a number of years as a research assistant in Entomology, she joined Computer Information Systems in Extension, working with the State Climatologist Dean Bark. When Dr. Bark retired, she became acting state climatologist. The Weather Data Library moved to Agronomy in 2002.
The best part of being state climatologist is being able to travel the state frequently, checking on weather data collection stations and giving talks. She also enjoys the interaction with other weather and climate specialists in the region and nationwide. She is especially proud that K-State recently received a 50-year recognition from the National Weather Service for continuous weather observations during that time.
She advises students interested in meteorology or climatology to take as many courses as possible in mathematics and statistics, and in communications. The courses in math and statistics will help students interpret and understand data throughout their lifetimes, she says. And the courses in communications are vital to any professional position, and always will be, she adds.
B.A., Agriculture | Agronomy, Kansas State University, 1978
Staff and Students
- Katelyn Barthol - Undergraduate | Weather Data Library
- Interactions of climate and agricultural activities
- Urban energy use
- Provide climate and weather information for producers across the state of Kansas.