After 15 years, the first Hollings scholars reflect on how NOAA shaped their careers

Fifteen years ago, the first class of Hollings scholars set off on their NOAA internships, ready for a summer full of hands-on learning in science and policy. The scholars and Hollings program team expected the internships to provide new skills and knowledge, but the richness of the scholars' experiences surprised everyone. They learned about the true nature of science — including how to carry on when a moose, fire, storm, or bear gets in the way. They formed mentorships and friendships that are still strong today. And they clarified their career goals, confirming that they were on the right track or ready to take a fork in their path. 


A grid of ten photos. Each photo is a headshot of one of the alumni
Ten of the first class of Hollings scholars share their advice and career path 15 years later. (NOAA, individual photos provided by alumni)

Today, the alumni represent the variety of career options open to those who pursue NOAA STEM fields, from those who stay in similar fields as researchers, engineers, national television meteorologists, or administrators, to those who took a different path and now work in the medical field or in business. 

Now that the alumni are well into their careers, we asked our first Hollings class to reflect on their internships and share how it helped propel them where they are today. Get to know ten of the 2005 Hollings alumni and see what advice they offer to current students and recent graduates who are embarking on their own adventures.

All numbers are approximate and based on available data. There are bars of data showing the percentage of scholars working in various sectors. The most are in private companies (36%), government (20%), and academia (20%). Others work at nonprofits (12%), in the medical field (9%), and a few work in education (1%).
Hollings scholars from the class of 2005 are in a wide variety of careers. They work in the private sector, government, academia, for nonprofits, in the medical field, and as educators. Approximately 79% of them are still in STEM careers. (Office of Education)

Ten 2005 Hollings scholars share their career paths, advice, and reflect on their NOAA internships

Click on an alumni photo to view their story.