Dr. Jason Finley grew up in Joliet, IL (just outside Chicago) and
has been a weather enthusiast since he was 5. However, it was not
until he attended Joliet Junior College when he decided to become a
meteorologist. He studied climate dynamics, synoptic meteorology,
and severe weather (which included chasing storms/tornadoes) at
the University of Oklahoma, but he finished his B.S. in Meteorology at
Northern Illinois University in 2002.
He then moved to California and attended UCLA graduate
school in atmospheric sciences. After teaching meteorology and
biogeography at UCLA, he realized he wanted a career as a
professor in a teaching-focused community college. In 2005, he
earned his M.A. in Geography focusing on climate
dynamics, synoptic and mesoscale meteorology, and
geographic information systems (GIS). Climate dynamics and
GIS were the focus of his master's thesis and journal publications.
In 2016, he earned his Ph.D. in Adult Learning/Development
specializing in dialogue, meteorology, and science education
within community college learning environments.
Between 2004 and 2011, Dr. Finley worked for the private sector as a
GIS analyst and meteorologist at Southern California Edison
and Fugro Consultants, Inc. He helped develop a GIS-based,
rainfall-induced landslide prediction model for California, which
involved the application of both meteorology and GIS. Through this
work he became a Certified Consulting Meteorologist (CCM) and a
Geographic Information Systems Professional (GISP). Even so,
his primary passion was teaching. Therefore, he also taught
GIS and geography at Rio Hondo College and Pierce College.
In 2011, he landed a full-time position at Pierce College.
As a full-time faculty member, he primarily teaches
physical geography, meteorology, and GIS courses. He is also the
Director of the Pierce College Weather Station, one of the first
official cooperative weather stations for the National Weather Service
(www.piercecollegeweather.com). In addition, he teaches marine meteorology
at the University of Southern California.
Dr. Finley's current teaching/research interests include climate studies,
mesoscale meteorology, applied meteorological/GIS applications,
adult learning theory, and meteorology education at post-secondary institutions.
He is working on publishing a journal article that focuses on the impact of
dialogue-based education on student engagement and learning of
abstract/theoretical meteorological knowledge.