SAFE Student Spotlight: Ethan Barber '22

Ethan Barber '22
Student and Faculty Excellence (SAFE) Fund Recipient: Spring 2023

Project: "Research Presentations and Instrument Training at the NOAA Global Monitoring Division in Boulder, CO"

Barber received a Spring 2023 Student and Faculty Excellence (SAFE) grant to support his travel to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Global Monitoring Laboratory's 51st Global Monitoring Annual Conference in Boulder, Colorado from May 23-4, 2023. "This funding allowed me to travel to Colorado to attend and present research while learning from scientists in my area of study. I was able to network and learn from professionals, which has improved my skills required in my research," wrote Barber.

At the conference, Barber presented a poster on his research, titled "An Initial Study of Seven Months of Size Number Concentration Data of Atmospheric Aerosols in Boone, NC." The project, advised by Department of Physics and Astronomy Professor Dr. James Sherman, analyzes the seasonal and daily variability of aerosol particles based on measurements collected at the Appalachian Atmospheric Interdisciplinary Research (AppalAIR) facility at Appalachian State's Boone campus. As a result of attending the conference, Barber shared that he feels "better suited and more equipped as a researcher and scientist."

Barber graduated from Appalachian with his bachelor's degree in physics and a minor in mathematics in 2022. Currently, he is pursuing his master's degree in engineering physics with a concentration in instrumentation and automation. Barber is a member of the Men's Cross Country and Track and Field teams, as well as the Graduate Student Government Association.

According to Barber, having the opportunity to attend the Global Monitoring Annual Conference not only contributed to his goals, but also allowed him to show off the innovative research being conducted at Appalachian to leading scientists in the field. "This allowed me to make connections with both governmental and private organizations that could be great relationships for future students getting jobs and other opportunities," he wrote.


About the SAFE Fund
Initially endowed by Hughlene and Bill Frank, the College of Arts and Sciences Student and Faculty Excellence (SAFE) Fund provides resources that can be used to support undergraduate, graduate and faculty experiences. The SAFE Fund provides funding for college priorities and opportunities that arise throughout the year. These unrestricted funds support student and faculty travel, publication support for faculty and student research opportunities. Learn more at:

About the Department of Physics and Astronomy
The Department of Physics and Astronomy’s curriculum has an applied nature that includes a core of fundamental physics courses and laboratory experiences. The department prepares graduates for a variety of scientific, teaching or engineering professions, as well as future educational endeavors. Learn more at

Written by Lauren Gibbs
January 23, 2024

Ethan Barber '22
Published: Jan 23, 2024 8:45am