How I reaffirmed my career aspirations and built key skills through my Hollings internship

Hi everyone! My name is Delián Colón-Burgos and I am a 2021 Hollings Scholar! I study meteorology and atmospheric science, with a geography minor, at Penn State University. I am from Puerto Rico, where the frequent threat of tropical cyclones fostered a passion for weather early on. Experiencing Hurricane Maria in 2017 and seeing the devastation it caused on the island made it certain I wanted to become a meteorologist. 

Delián poses in business casual clothing and smiles for the camera in front of a glass wall with an etched NOAA logo on it. In the background, the words "National Hurricane Center, National Weather Service" are written on the wall above two large monitors showing satellite weather
Hollings scholar Delián Colón-Burgos at the National Hurricane Center during her 2022 summer internship. (Aidan Mahoney)

I’ve always wanted to visit the National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida, so I was stoked to see there was an opportunity to do my NOAA Hollings internship there! During my internship I worked on an applied research project adding radius of maximum wind for landfalling hurricanes (1852-1970) in the continental United States, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, to the Atlantic Hurricane database and proposing a radius of maximum wind value for landfalling hurricanes between 1970 to 2021. This work is valuable for better understanding how radius of maximum wind relates to other variables and serves to improve its use as an indicator of a tropical cyclone's storm surge, often the greatest threat to life and property from a hurricane.

Delián looks at a large computer monitor, which displays hundreds of data points overlaid on simple outline of the southern United States, Caribbean, and Central America.
Delián Colón-Burgos working on surface analysis during 2022 Hollings internship. She spent part of her internship training in the surface desk at the National Hurricane Center’s Tropical Analysis and Forecast Branch. (Aidan Mahoney)

As part of my internship, I also got to train on the Tropical Analysis and Forecast Branch Surface Desk, where I learned how to produce operational products that aid in decision-making related to atmospheric conditions, including the Unified Surface Analysis and the Atlantic Tropical Weather Discussion.

At the end of my internship, I felt extremely grateful for the experience and confident that the skills and knowledge I had gained throughout the summer would be helpful for graduate school and my professional career. My mentor, Chris Landsea, was super supportive and helped me expand my network.

My internship reaffirmed my passion for tropical meteorology and hurricanes and opened my eyes to all the opportunities available within NOAA to serve the community in this field.

Delián Colón-Burgos, 2021 Hollings scholar
Delian stands near the entryway of a large, blocky concrete building with a NOAA logo, and smiles for the camera.
Delián stands in front of her summer 2022 internship site, the NOAA National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida. (Sandy Delgado)

The Hollings Scholarship is an extraordinary opportunity where you will not only gain an amazing network and lots of new skills, but it will also open many doors for you in the future!

Delián poses in business casual clothing and smiles for the camera in front of a glass wall with an etched NOAA logo on it. In the background, the words "National Hurricane Center, National Weather Service" are written on the wall above two large monitors showing satellite weather
Delián Colón-Burgos, 2021 Hollings scholar

Delián Colón-Burgos is a 2021 Hollings scholar and meteorology and atmospheric science, with a geography minor, at Penn State University.