Career Profiles

John Nicola, Energy Analyst, SESCO Enterprises / Energy
John Nicola, Energy Analyst, SESCO Enterprises / Energy

I love that weather is such a huge player in the energy markets. To be able to do something as fun and challenging as predicting prices across an entire energy grid, while still being able to involve my first passion—weather—on a daily basis is a dream come true.

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Don Berchoff, CEO, TruWeather Solutions Inc.
Don Berchoff, CEO, TruWeather Solutions Inc.

What makes atmospheric science so compelling is there is so much more to figure out. I love the challenge of trying to make sense of the puzzle without having all the pieces... and then communicating what we do know to improve business and society.

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Matt Fronzak, Weather Portfolio Advisor and Principal Aviation Systems Engineer, The MITRE Corporation
Matt Fronzak, Weather Portfolio Advisor and Principal Aviation Systems Engineer, The MITRE Corporation

I can tell you that being a degreed meteorologist and competent developer is a dynamite combination. Given how our field is coming to grips with the probabilistic nature of all forecasts, I also wish I were better versed in statistics than I am.

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Maureen McCann, Broadcast Meteorologist, Spectrum News 13
Maureen McCann, Broadcast Meteorologist, Spectrum News 13

I recently went back to school for a masters degree in emergency management. The curriculum focused on the societal impacts of weather. I really enjoyed classes on cross-sector collaboration and hazards planning, to help me understand more about how weather information is used by other professionals like planners, emergency managers, and government officials. 

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Thomas Guinn, Professor and Meteorology Program Coordinator, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
Thomas Guinn, Professor and Meteorology Program Coordinator, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

For academia, especially at a four-year institution, you must have a passion for teaching and desire to connect with students. I always look for faculty who have demonstrated exceptional performance in the classroom as well as in their research.

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David Ortiz-Suslow, Research Assistant Professor, Naval Postgraduate School
David Ortiz-Suslow, Research Assistant Professor, Naval Postgraduate School

The most special, and rare, thrills of my job are having a truly collaborative experience with another colleague(s). The synergy of several minds working together from different perspectives, but oriented towards the same goal is an incredibly exhilarating experience from which the best scientific discoveries originate.

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Douglas Hilderbrand, Physical Scientist, National Weather Service
Douglas Hilderbrand, Physical Scientist, National Weather Service

The world doesn't need more traditional meteorologists, but rather, needs meteorologists who also have expertise in other disciplines to more effectively connect weather impacts to society. The wonderful thing about the weather is that it impacts everyone and everything, so career options are truly limitless.

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Carl Schreck, Atmospheric Scientist, North Carolina Institute for Climate Studies, NCSU
Carl Schreck, Atmospheric Scientist, North Carolina Institute for Climate Studies, NCSU

During graduate school, I worked hard to share my code, data, and anything else with the field. That led to collaborations that built my network and helped me land a postdoc position.

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Patrick Hyland, Research Meteorologist
Patrick Hyland, Research Meteorologist

When discussions about tours of the National Weather Center began when we moved into the facility, I knew this opportunity would not only improve my communication and public-speaking skills, but that it would also allow me to build relationships with people inside and outside the NWC. We would never know when we were interviewing for a job because of some of the unique visitors that would tour the facility, so I was able to market myself and build my brand over 13+ years of tours.

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Bruce Telfeyan, Senior Requirements Meteorologist, 557th Weather Wing, US Air Force
 Bruce Telfeyan, Senior Requirements Meteorologist, 557th Weather Wing, US Air Force

In our science, you really need to be able to demonstrate that you have good people skills. Inevitably, there are tense situations on the job and its essential to maintain a cool and logical perspective on the many challenges at hand. Your resume should have a way to reflect this characteristic within you and your letters of recommendation should highlight these desirable traits.

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Albert Betancourt, Catastrophe Management Analyst
Albert Betancourt, Catastrophe Management Analyst

The ability (skill) to clearly and effectively distill complicated scientific concepts in a manner that the typical business professional can comprehend is vital. It is also important to identify how the science connects to the business. Know your customer's wants/needs. How could they benefit from the information you are providing them?

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Lance Steele, Certified Consulting Meteorologist
Lance Steele, Certified Consulting Meteorologist

The best aspect of my job is the continual learning process. Every day spent programming is an opportunity to learn new tips, tricks, and techniques, and I keep a repository of code and subroutines that can be applied to future programs. Although it can be daunting I also try to keep up with the latest developments in computer science including artificial intelligence and machine learning.

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Stephen Bieda III, Science & Operations Officer, NOAA/NWS Weather Forecast Office Amarillo, TX
Stephen Bieda III, Science & Operations Officer, NOAA/NWS Weather Forecast Office Amarillo, TX

I would encourage individuals wanting a career in meteorology to develop their leadership and social interaction skills. A clear majority of meteorologists are introverted by nature, yet a majority of what we do within the National Weather Service requires us to interact with people on the phone, brief emergency managers in person, conduct media interviews and/or manage teams in a stressful environment.

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Aaron Piña, AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow, NASA Headquarters, Washington, D.C.
Aaron Piña, AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow, NASA Headquarters, Washington, D.C.

Another useful skill that I did not realize until recently was convening and organizing sessions at large scientific conferences. It is good for students who plan to go into research to gain experience in organizing meetings related to topics of interest.

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Laura Edwards, State Climatologist, SDSU Extension
Laura Edwards, State Climatologist, SDSU Extension

Social media helps me reach those who do not seek out traditional media news sources. I would encourage all students to find opportunities for science communication and to reach out and try it. This is becoming more important all the time.

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Hannah Strong, Broadcast Meteorologist
Hannah Strong, Broadcast Meteorologist

Experience, whether paid or unpaid. Take internships or many job shadow opportunities so you know what is expected in the work. Commitment in jobs. If you bounce between jobs every couple months, that sends red flags. You need to spend a year or two at the same place to establish trust and connection with viewers and to begin to understand local variations in weather.

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Adam Roser, Meteorologist, National Weather Service San Diego
Adam Roser, Meteorologist, National Weather Service San Diego

Emergency management or any disaster preparedness course you can take would be very beneficial! The NWS has great ties with this community, so having some background knowledge of this subject will go a long way and make you more marketable.

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Tim Spangler, UCAR (retired)
Tim Spangler, UCAR (retired)

My first job after the masters was with North American Weather Consultants working on air pollution monitoring and prediction, and also some work on weather modification. This was an exciting job doing field research: driving 4X4 trucks, riding in helicopters, serving in right seat on research flights—about 1/3 of my work was outdoors and I loved it.

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Morgan Yarker, Founder/Owner/CEO, Yarker Consulting
Morgan Yarker, Founder/Owner/CEO, Yarker Consulting

Leadership experience. It can be leading a project, but also could be as simple as volunteering on local and/or professional boards. BE ACTIVE. Make it obvious that you can get work done, especially in a group setting. Clients want to know that you will be a good person to work with.

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Anthony Praino, Chief Engineer/Meteorologist, IBM Research
Anthony Praino, Chief Engineer/Meteorologist, IBM Research

Software, coding and programming skills are extremely important for individuals working in the field. More recently, data science and machine learning skills are becoming more utilized.

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