Dr. John Frye is an Assistant Professor in the Geography, Geology and Environmental Science Department
What’s your educational background?
I have two degrees from Ball State University- both my Bachelor’s degree and my Master’s degree. Then I did my PhD at the University of Georgia. My undergrad was actually in Journalism with a minor in Geography, and then I changed career paths and did the Master’s and PhD in Geography, focusing on weather and climate.
What courses do you teach here?
I teach the Intro to Physical Geography class, which is a pretty large GenEd class. Then I also do all the Weather and Climate classes. I teach an upper level meteorology class and a climate class that’s also upper level. For the last three years, including this semester right now, I also do our field course where we go storm chasing. We learn all about severe weather and how to forecast for severe weather, and then we spend two weeks out in Great Plains doing some storm chasing.
What are your research interests?
Most of my research interest is in the severe weather field, so looking at tornados and thunderstorms. I do that both from a climate standpoint- so looking at changes in the patterns of severe weather to the meteorology aspect of it- why certain events happen where they do. I also do a lot of educational components- so how people learn about severe weather and where they get their information about severe weather.
How long have you been teaching at Whitewater?
I started in the fall of 2011, so this is my fourth year here.
What inspired you to become a professor?
I enjoy working with students- that’s the biggest reason. I am really student-focused in all of my classes. I just like sharing what I know about the weather and physical geography while teaching students about it and getting them interested in it.
What do you like most about UW-Whitewater?
I like the small-feeling of the campus and the community here. I enjoy working with students, and this is a good place to be- you get a lot of one-on-one interaction with students both inside the classroom and outside the classroom through things like undergrad research, which I’m also involved in.
What are some of your interests outside of teaching?
Outside of teaching I help coach a lot of youth sports. I have three kids that are both going up through the youth sports ranks here in town. I really enjoy teaching and coaching in those sports leagues. As a family we also like to do a lot of outdoor activities- like going camping, hiking, and that sort of stuff. We are kind of outdoorsy kind of people. I also do storm chasing on my own as well outside of the field course.
What’s your favorite musical artist?
I like 80’s hair band music- so Poison, Motley Crue and all that kind of genre. I also like jazz and blues music a lot. Anyone from BB King to Michael Brecker and all those kind of classic jazz and blues legends.
What is something that your students may be surprised to learn about you?
I’m actually married to my high school sweetheart. We met in high school and we’ve been together ever since.
Who inspires you and why?
First and foremost, I do what I do for my kids and my wife. They definitely inspire me to be the best that I can be. My students inspire me as well- seeing the passion in their eyes and seeing them learn stuff is also very inspirational to me. A former professor of mine, Dr. David Arnold, was very instrumental in getting me into the field of Meteorology and Climatology, so he’s definitely a big inspiration. As far as famous people, Cal Ripken, a baseball player in the 80s and 90s, inspires me. I grew up watching him play. Most people know him because he set the all-time record for consecutive games played. He always showed up to work and gave it 100% every single day, so I aspire to do that, too.