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May-June 2017

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On the Job

Jonathan Merage Severe Storm Research Philanthropist

Jonathan Merage may have one of the most unique jobs in the meteorological sciences today. He is a 35-year-old private philanthropist who funds severe storms research. The grandson of one of the men who invented the Hot Pocket, Merage has dedicated his piece of the family's grant-making consortium, the Jonathan Merage Foundation, to funding niche projects in severe storm research. With roughly $3 million in assets, his foundation has supported the Vortex2 project, purchased lightning detection equipment and storm chasing vehicles for the University of Colorado Boulder's research program, and is helping advance weather balloon technology at the University of Hawaii. The foundation also funds alternative energy installations, another of his keen interests. 

KIMBRA CUTLIP is a freelance writer and former assistant editor for Weatherwise. 

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