Gab at the Lab: Allen Zahrai

Allen Zahrai, Research Scientist


Background:M.S., Computer Science, University of Oklahoma
M.S., Electrical Engineering, University of Oklahoma
B.S., Electrical Engineering, Minor: Mathematics, University of Oklahoma
Experience:Allen was born in Tehran, Iran, and moved frequently during his early years. He spent some time in Sweden, and believed he would likely settle down in Europe until he came to Washington, D.C. to study at George Washington University. He was then enticed by a friend to transfer to Central State College in Edmond, Oklahoma and, from there, made his way to the University of Oklahoma in Norman. As a child, Allen was fascinated by engineering and could often be found tinkering with objects in his bedroom. He brought the same enthusiasm to his studies, earning both a bachelor’s and Master’s degree in electrical engineering. He came to NSSL as a graduate student, collaborating with Dick Doviak on a digital acoustic profiler project for NASA.
What He Does:Allen has a long history at NSSL, and has been part of the evolution of the Lab’s radar programs. He worked on some of the earliest equipment and helped develop the first dual polarized doppler weather radar. In time, he joined the National Weather Service’s Radar Operations Center, where he worked on WSR-88D deployment issues. Now, he is a radar engineering team leader in the Radar Research and Development Division at NSSL. Allen has been a team member on projects like the WSR-88D dual pol upgrade, and helped build the National Weather Radar Testbed. He has worked on mobile radars, like the dual polarized X-band and the SMART-R dual polarized C-band. Currently, he is helping to test the ten panel demonstrator and build the Advanced Technology Demonstrator, which will allow researchers to test dual polarized phased array radar.
Trivia: Allen enjoys spending time with his family, which includes three children and five grandchildren.He and his wife also have two cats and a dog. In his free time, he likes the outdoors, video games, computers, electronics, motor vehicles, and wood working.