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Florida State enhancing care for aging Floridians

Three-year, $2.25 million grant will strengthen state's ability to meet needs of older patients

NASA scientist will be featured speaker at summer commencement

Florida State University alumna Gail Skofronick Jackson, a highly accomplished and well-regarded scientist who leads NASA's Global Precipitation Measurement mission, which investigates precipitation on Earth, will be the commencement speaker during the university's summer commencement ceremony.

Jackson will deliver the commencement address at 9 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 8, at the Donald L. Tucker Civic Center, 505 W. Pensacola St. President John Thrasher will preside at the ceremony, which will be webcast at

Approximately 1,400 Florida State students — of the 2,687 graduating this summer — will participate in the ceremony. Of the students graduating, 1,861 will receive bachelor's degrees, 697 will receive master's/specialist's degrees and 129 will be awarded doctorates.

Jackson has worked as a physical scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center since 2003. She has served as laboratory chief of the Mesoscale Atmospheric Processes Laboratory since 2013 and has served as the project scientist of the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission since 2014.

Jackson's research focuses on using satellite data to estimate Earth's falling snow rates, an interesting choice for someone who grew up in the subtropical humidity of Tallahassee. Her work requires knowledge ranging from the micro-characteristics of individual snowflakes to the large structures of the overall snowing cloud in order to interpret the satellite data. Because snowflake shapes and falling snow rates are quite variable, estimating falling snow is much more challenging than liquid rain.