Hollings internship office and topic
Weather Forecast Office in St. Louis, Missouri, studying tornado outbreaks.
- B.S. in atmospheric science from University of Missouri-Columbia
- M.S. in atmospheric science from University of Alabama in Huntsville
Master Instructor at National Weather Service Leadership Academy
My biggest piece of advice is not to forget the value of that experience. Lean into it. Lean into the broader NOAA experience and continue cultivating those relationships.
What was your career path?
After graduating with my bachelor’s degree in atmospheric sciences in 2007, I went on to earn my master’s degree from University of Alabama in atmospheric sciences in 2009. While pursuing my master’s I was also an intern for the National Weather Service (NWS) Forecast Office in Huntsville, Alabama. After graduation, I started working full time as a forecaster for the NWS in Springfield, Missouri. I then returned to Alabama as a Journeyman Forecaster in 2010 and also started working on a second master’s degree in education. In 2014, I joined NWS headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland, as an executive officer in the Office of the Assistant Administrator. Since then, I’ve held several other positions within NWS, NOAA, and National Environmental Satellite Data and Information Service (NESDIS) headquarters, including a Program Coordination Officer, Policy Advisor, Organization Analyst, Congressional Affairs Liaison, and my current position a Master Instructor for the NWS Leadership Academy.
How did Hollings impact your career path?
Hollings gave me the opportunity to work at a forecast office. It helped me affirm that NWS and operations is where I wanted to start my career rather than at headquarters where I completed a previous internship. Because we did our Hollings presentations with interns across offices, it gave me a sense of how important NOAA connections are and the broad scope of NOAA. [The Hollings Scholarship] has been highly influential in my career. I started as an Operational Forecaster for NWS, but early on went for an opportunity to do a NOAA Program Coordination Officer rotation (a crew of 6 employees who serve as representatives for each line office of NOAA in the administrator's office). I was interested in that program because of Hollings, and that was pivotal to where I am today.
Do you still use skills learned during your internship or other aspects of your Hollings experience today?
I formed great relationships during Hollings. I’m still very closely connected to a lot of people that I met during my internship at the host office and they are wonderful informal mentors even today.
What advice do you have for current and future Hollings scholars?
My biggest piece of advice is not to forget the value of that experience. Lean into it. Lean into the broader NOAA experience and continue cultivating those relationships. So much more of where we are headed as an agency and a world are interconnected.
What was your favorite or most memorable moment from your Hollings experience?
I worked at the St. Louis forecast office for my internship, and we had a very large wind event hit our forecast area while I was there. A good chunk of staff were out on a canoe trip that day, and I got to stay in the office to help with some of the initial severe weather operations. So, I remember everyone responding to the event and coming back smelling like river water and fish. While that is funny, I remember their dedication and how they were excited to be out doing something fun together, but they were equally excited to get back in and work that event. I will always remember the passion … and smell ... of the staff.