Observer People

Dr. Jason Welsh

Research Scientist
Each one of us has the power to discover new and interesting things with the data that we are exploring.

Where are you from?

I am originally from Uxbridge, Massachusetts and have grown up and lived in the Boston area my entire life! I love the fall foliage and enjoy spending time with my family up in the Monroe, New Hampshire area, it is a beautiful and small quaint town with New England charm.

What do you do?

I’m a research scientist for NASA GLOBE Clouds and I work on CLOUD GAZE which is based out of the Science Directorate at NASA Langley Research Center with Science Systems and Applications, Inc. (SSAI). I’m part of the GLOBE and CLOUD GAZE Teams to ensure that we are implementing science into our research projects, which helps students and other learners become more educated on scientific concepts. In addition, I work with Zooniverse to help develop meaningful connections with scientific researchers, enabling analysis of resultant datasets and providing results that are tailored to the community’s needs.

How do you use GLOBE Observer?

My focus is on developing data quality flags that can be used in helping us identify what data is more useful for scientific researchers.

How do you plan on using GLOBE Observer in the future?

My future plans would be to bring in Artificial Intelligence (AI) into the identification process of determining what cloud photos are representing; for example recognizing what types of clouds you see. This computer technology would enable us to compare and help us identify cloud types much faster.

What advice do you have for people just getting into citizen science?

It’s important to have an open mind when starting something new and in particular, being open to the power that citizen science gives you. You are not only contributing to a particular scientific field, but you're networking with other real world scientists. Your contributions are valuable and without them, science wouldn’t be where it is today! The great thing about citizen science is that you don’t need to be an expert or even have a background in science, you only need to keep an open mind and be ready to explore the universe with us!

What do you enjoy doing for fun?

I really enjoy going skiing in the winter, hiking, spending time with friends and family, and taking walks with my two beautiful standard poodles, Lexi and Tucker up in the New Hampshire area.

What inspires you?

I feel inspired knowing that each one of us has the power to discover new and interesting things with the data that we are exploring. There is no end to research or the discoveries that we can make if we only use our imagination and a little common sense. It’s empowering to think that we can do anything we place our minds to! Challenges may seem overwhelming but with citizen science we can come together as a global society and reap the benefits of potential when we collectively place our minds to the task at hand. My favorite task is our citizen science work through photographs and scientific data, to understand the planet more and more each day!

Any favorite quote(s) you would like to share?

"If not us, who? If not now, when?" – John F. Kennedy

"Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try." – John F. Kennedy

So go ahead and give citizen science a try… you never know where it might lead!