One of the most rewarding aspects of my job is the ability to assist individuals in a wide range of topics, from providing information on complex subjects to helping with everyday tasks. It's satisfying to know that my responses can help people save time, find solutions to problems, and gain knowledge about a particular topic.
I like to do things that have never been done before, and my job has had many of those. We were the first to measure and quantify the strength or hardness of hailstones, the first to 3D scan and print hailstones and have now done this for two state record stones, the first to test and destroy a full-scale two story home with hurricane-force winds, the first to conduct a full-scale fire ember storm, and most recently, we developed a brand new test method to rate the hail performance of roof shingles.
It's okay not to have a job lined up right after graduation. Your degree also does not entitle you to a job. I really want to highlight how important these two things are when you're searching for your first role. I spent six months looking for my first job after I graduated. I applied to anything and everything under the sun, including positions where meteorology was a footnote or not even listed in the job posting.
While exploring different concepts of boundary layer changes in mountainous regions of India, the most challenging part for me is traveling these mountainous regions and roads but it still gives me a smile.
The opportunity to practice in front of a green wall was essential in securing my first job. I also did some forecasting for an organization called Foot's Forecast. There was no pay involved but it helped me get some experience on my resume.
I always like new things and the challenge of learning in the job. The most important things on a resume is to convey your confidence and commitment through your experiences.
Forecasting can be challenging in itself, but it is also very fun. I forecast Ozone and PM-2.5 concentrations throughout the state of Michigan, so each morning and throughout the day I am checking the forecast and current concentrations via numerous monitors we have across the state. I love to forecast Ozone and PM-2.5 because, yes, the weather influences the concentrations, but they also can interact with each other and makes forecasting a fun challenge.
It is my experience that many people who tend to work over 50 hours tend not to spend their time as efficiently as possible. So it is important to value your time and have a balance.
Being a weather analyst, regardless if using numerical weather prediction or charts, forces a person to think outside the box. This is both what I liked most and provided a challenge for me.
During an active hurricane event, our whole team becomes hyper-focused on that specific event and it's unique features and impacts. I enjoy that we get to translate the scientific aspects of a hurricane to its societal impacts.
When bad weather threatens, it's important to break down the reasoning behind your forecast and give viewers the confidence they need to prepare. Viewers recognize a strong meteorology background when we're on TV analyzing the dangers behind the storms in real-time.
When I left graduate school, I went to work for Dr. Joanne Simpson and Dr. Robert Simpson. The lessons learned at the highest possible level of meteorology were dramatic. One of the outcomes of their influence was to always work with students in any way that was possible because that's just how things are always done.
I started networking early in my education by attending a local chapter of the American Meteorological Society. It was essential in putting me in touch with the right people at the National Weather Service so I could start working for them when I got up into my Junior and Senior year.
My main emphasis is on providing weather-based advisories to farmers for increase in crop productivity due to change in climatic conditions. I worked on smart agriculture facilities for farmers to minimize the communication barriers between farmers and scientists.
Over 32 years, I served on ships and submarines operating all over the world where I provided critical weather and ocean information to keep Navy operations safe and effective. I retired as the Oceanographer of the Navy, and then served as the Acting and Deputy Administrator of NOAA.
In my eyes, an ideal job is one that is interesting and rewarding, and there are good people that share my professional values.
I have learned that no matter how deep your knowledge of science—in my case, atmospheric science—your knowledge can only go so far if you cannot properly communicate it. Having taken many theatre and improvisational classes, I learned the invaluable skill of listening and reacting, as well as clearly communicating to connect with my audience.
What do I like most? Guiding my clients through rough waters and ensuring that they have a profitable business. As a consultant, we are heavily relied upon for our expertise and opinion. The most challenging??? Predicting the future. Clients rely on me to predict what the near-future will look like. As you can see, what I like most and what is the most challenging are basically one and the same!
If you were not able to be a meteorologist, what would you be? What other passion do you have? Seek out opportunities to grow that alternative passion through course work, club activities, and student memberships in professional societies. Learn as much as you can about that passion. Increasingly, being a meteorologist will need to be accompanied by specialization in another area, and bringing those two passions together for applications to real-world problems.
One of the most exciting things that has happened to me was coming to NOAA to work on applied science to advance our forecasts of too much and too little water. Working as a public servant is a big responsibility but is extremely gratifying and, let's face it, NOAA's mission of science, service, and stewardship is pretty cool.