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Meteorology Success Stories


Matthew Hladio - KDKA-TV

Matt Hladio Internship title: Weather Intern

How did you find your internship?

On KDKA's website

What are you primary responsibilities/day-to-day activities?

To help Dennis make daily forecasts for that day's newscast.  I would come up with a forecast for different times throughout the day and for certain locations. If there was something interesting on radar to show the viewers, i would be able to move the radar around to show specific things. Before the 12 o'clock news, i would be able to create some graphics , such as the 5-day Forecast, to be used on-air. On the last day of the internship, i was able to get recorded giving a forecast in front of the blue screen. I got a DVD of it to use as a resume tape. 

What is the best part of your internship?

To be able to get experience in front of the camera to practice giving a forecast.

Would you recommend this internship to someone else?

Absolutely 

A quote from you regarding your experience?

It was a great learning experience that can't be replicated in the classroom

Bryan Tolle

Bryan TolleMajor:  Broadcast Meteorology

Hometown:   Lawrenceburg, Indiana (Cincinnati, Ohio)

Internship placement:  WTRF-TV 7 News - StormTracker 7 Weather Lab, Wheeling, West Virginia

Your Internship Title:  Intern Meteorologist

How did you find your internship? 

My grandma and mother both live in the Wheeling, West Virginia area, so I grew up watching 7 News.  I inquired about doing a weather internship, and went in for an interview.  I was told I came highly recommended from my internship in Cincinnati at News 5 WeatherPLUS, and they brought me on. They were not disappointed.

What are your primary responsibilities/day-to-day activities?

I assisted in creating the forecast for the day, as well as creating the graphics used in the daily weather broadcasts.  I was responsible for updating the website every night.  I worked with the updated forecast and severe weather information, and also began what is the daily weather synopsis:  discuss what was on the website, and I got to put my name on it as well.  Also, I recorded the forecasts on the StormTracker 7 Weather Line, and assisted in severe weather operations with StormTracker 7 Instant Alert as well during severe weather situations.

What is the best part of your internship?

Being in a weather lab from day to day working in the television stations for me is like a high.  I am exhilarated to go in on a daily basis, that I don't think of it as a job, but as my life.  I could not imagine doing anything else.

What are the top two things you have learned?  

To go with the flow of things, especially when severe weather occurs, and then to make new friends and colleagues in my field.

Would you recommend this internship to someone else?  

ABSOLUTELY!!  If I got this much hands-on experience in my field, I don't see why others can't as well.

A quote regarding your internship experience?

"Your broadcast should be like telling a story.  You want to keep the viewers drawn in for more, as well as keeping them safe during severe weather situations.  Those are some of the good traits of a great broadcast meteorologist."

Andrew Milevoj - National Drought Mitigation Center (NDMC)

Major:  Meteorology
 
Internship Placement:  National Drought Mitigation Center (NDMC)
 
Your Internship Title:  NDMC Intern

How did you find your internship?
 
I asked Mr. Brian Fuchs, a Climatologist at the NDMC, about a potential internship at the center and through several e-mails back and forth, I was given the opportunity to intern this summer at the NDMC at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
 
What are your primary responsibilities/day-to-day activities? 
During this internship, I was assigned many projects pertaining to their new product called the Drought Atlas. In addition to the projects, I was given the opportunity to conduct literature work for the Director.
 
Tell me about the most fascinating person you have met during your internship. 
Dr. Michael Hayes was a wonderful individual to work for. He is the Director of the NDMC and he assigned some literature work for me to help him write a chapter for a book. Dr. Hayes is a very down-to-earth individual and is well-respected among the atmospheric science community.  In addition, he has many publications and has held seminars all over the world.
 
What one day at work really stands out? 
The last day of my internship at the NDMC, I was asked to give a presentation of my work during this internship.  When I gave my presentation to the staff, they were very impressed with the work I have completed; so impressed that they asked Dr. Hayes if he can send them my work to add to their research. I was thrilled!
 
What is the best part of your internship? 
The end of my internship was the best part because I was able to see how much I have advanced and grown since I arrived in Nebraska.
 
What are the top two things you have learned? 
The top two things I have learned are to have patience and be persistent.  Patience is important because during this internship, some things/ideas did not come to me right away and I began to feel a bit frustrated.  But eventually, I was able to complete whatever I was working on and understand how to do it.  Persistence is important because it gave me the ability to not give up on my work and over time, I completed it all and the staff was impressed.
 
Would you recommend this internship to someone else? 
I would highly recommend this internship to others, especially to my peers in the Earth Science Dept. For those who like to study Meteorology/Climatology and Geographical Information Systems (GIS) will enjoy their time at the NDMC.
 
A quote from you regarding your internship experience? 
Interning at the NDMC has been the opportunity of a lifetime!  This experience has given me the confidence and the contacts I need to pursue a potential career in the field of Climatology.

Caitlyn Lawrence - KDKA-TV

Major:  Broadcast Meteorology Minor: Music
 
Internship placement:  KDKA-TV, Pittsburgh, PA
 
Your internship title:  Weather Intern
 
How did you find your internship?
I looked up the station's website on the internet.
 
What are your primary responsibilities/day-to-day activities?
I created the five-day forecasts, wrote forecast discussions, helped the meteorologists create their weather graphics, observed the meteorologists do their daily duties on and off the camera, and practiced my forecasting skills in front of the chroma key blue wall.
 
Tell me about the most fascinating person you have met during your internship.
The most fascinating person I met in my internship was Jon Burnett. Not only did he forecast weather for KDKA, but he also a part of the Pittsburgh Today Live Show.  I also found out that he was in a show for years with Patrice King Brown, who is now a famous news anchor for KDKA, before he forecasted the weather. Jon also had a background in theatre and had excellent camera skills and had a good bit of knowledge in weather.  These great qualities gave him a job in weather.
 
What one day at work really stands out?
The one day at work that really stands out is a day where the meteorologists seem to be accurate with everything that is happening weather wise!  It feels like a major accomplishment when a meteorologist hits a forecast right on the money.
 
What is the best part of your internship?
The best part of my internship is practicing my forecasting skills in front of the chroma key blue wall.
 
What are the top two things you have learned?
I learned how to create weather graphics and I learned valuable techniques in front of the blue wall.
 
Would you recommend this internship to someone else?
I would recommend this internship to anyone who wants to pursue a career in broadcast meteorology.
 
A quote from you regarding your internship experience?
KDKA was a great interning experience, because I worked with a variety of meteorologists and I had a myriad of experiences to enhance the knowledge in my major.

Chad Meehan - WTAE-TV

Major: Meteorology

Internship placement: WTAE-TV

Your internship title: Weather Intern

How did you find your internship?


What are your primary responsibilities/day-to-day activities?
When I report to the weather center, I help forecast for their show, answer phone calls, assist in making graphics and practice my on-air forecast in front of the camera. 

What is the best part of your internship?
My best experience has been being critiqued by Don with my on-air performance.  He has helped me with what I need to do and not need to do.
What are the top two things you have learned?
I have learned that broadcast meteorology is a totally different field of work than operational meteorology in that you are in the media, a public figure and that half your job is promoting your station and actually doing some public relations.  Also, I have learned key ingredients to help with my on-air performance that only professionals who have been in the field for many years would be able to teach me.

Would you recommend this internship to someone else?
I would definitely recommend the weather internship to anyone in the meteorology department because it is an experience of a lifetime.  Also, I would definitely recommend any of WTAE-TV's internships because you will learn from the best in the field in a wonderful atmosphere.
 
A quote regarding your internship experience?
Being a weather intern at WTAE-TV has given me the knowledge in how to incorporate my meteorological skills into the broadcast field.

Heather Dominik - WOIO/WUAB 19 Action News, Cleveland, OH

Major:  Meteorology

Internship placement Name:  WOIO/WUAB 19 Action News, Cleveland, OH

Your internship title:  Weather Intern

How did you find your internship?
We have 4 lovely TV stations in Cleveland.  None of them 'offered' a weather internship, so I applied for a 'News' internship at 19 Action News first and they offered me a Weather Internship with their Chief Meteorologist.
 
What are your primary responsibilities/day-to-day activities?
I start off by forecasting for the week, and  then update the Web, the News Ticker, and the show with the forecast. I also learned how to how to work the WeatherCentral graphics system and worked on my presence in front of the chroma-key. During severe weather, I would keep Jeff updated on Warnings issued. I also got to learn what went on in the other departments at the station such as working on the Assignment Desk and working with a reporter and I watched lots of news!
 
Tell me about the most fascinating person you have met during your internship:
My mentor, Jeff Tanchak. He's a crazy, crazy man who really keeps his weather hits alive with his dynamic style and amazing forecasting skills.  He was named Cleveland's best meteorologist by Associated Press during my internship.
 
What one day at work really stands out?
The first day I put together a forecast, put together my own show, and explained it in front of the chroma-key. It just all came together and clicked. Amazing!
 
What is the best part of your internship?
The best part would be a split between meeting everyone at WOIO and learning from the pros: Jeff, Jenn, and Jon, playing with the chroma-key, and going to the live shot at the Berea Rib Cook-off!
 
What are the top two things you have learned?
To be on top, you have to forecast aggressive and broadcast meteorologist to so much more than just stand in front of a chroma-key and talk about the weather. They have to educate the community about weather, speak to classes, and change it up by doing live shots to promote an event. In this business, you must also use every source of social connection you can including the web, Facebook, and Twitter to stay on top.
  
Would you recommend this internship to someone else?
Definitely, how else would you know what you want to do with the rest of your life and get experience other than take up an internship?
 
A quote from you regarding your internship experience?
"Experience all you can, so you can get the big picture and practice your skills so you can be not good at what you do, but great at it!"

Kevin Lowrie - NOAA/NWS WFO, Pittsburgh

Major:  Operational Meteorology / Music Minor

Internship placement: NOAA/NWS WFO, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration / National Weather Service Weather Forecast Office)

How did you find your internship? 
I have been familiar with the National Weather Service in Moon Township for a number of years, first becoming a SKYWARN spotter in the late 1990s.

Since my very first SKYWARN training session, I have actively worked with Richard Kane, the Warning Coordination Meteorologist for NOAA/NWS Pittsburgh, in enhancing the efforts of SKYWARN training across the County Warning Area (CWA), including the development of the first Advanced SKYWARN training class, first held at California University this past year.  Through the years of increasing weather awareness related to SKYWARN and unrelated to SKYWARN, I have built a strong working relationship with nearly all staff members at NOAA/NWS Pittsburgh, and thus I was very excited to have the opportunity to further develop myself, while at the same time work with a staff that supports the development of the science of Meteorology. 

What are your primary responsibilities/day-to-day activities?
Every day I am doing something different, which is why I enjoy my internship so much.  Not to mention, weather and the science of Meteorology is dynamic -- always changing, so there is always some type of excitement happening.  My responsibilities ranged from hydrometeorological research to mailing out equipment for the COOP (Cooperative Observer) Program, and everything in-between.  Some days I would come in, and I would be a forecaster on shift.  Each shift has two forecasting responsibilities, Long Range Forecasting, and Short Range Forecasting / Aviation Forecasting.  I did find myself as a Lead Forecaster on shift twice during the internship.  If I was not forecasting, one might find me as the RADAR operator during a severe weather outbreak, where I would also have the responsibility of correctly interpreting atmospheric dynamics and thunderstorm structure and issuing appropriate watches, warnings, and statements related to the weather.  If not doing these activities, I likely was programming AWIPS (Advanced Weather Information Processing System) computers, as I was converting a SKYWARN database into the format of a new program to issue Local Storm Reports on active weather in our County Warning Area.  If not working on that, I started to work on research for Flash Flood Monitoring and Prediction (FFMP), however, that is a more longer term project than just this summer at this point.  A less detailed list of other responsibilities were: launching of weather balloons (7 am and 7 pm); climatology and climate data acquisition/quality control; servicing of cooperative observer equipment (rain gauges, max/min temperature systems, etc.); storm damage surveys / reports; interacting with and briefing the public, emergency management officials, newspaper reporters, military officials, and aviators; maintenance and operation of the Console Replacement System (CRS) which controls nine (9) NOAA Weather Radio transmitters, ranging from 300 watts to 1000 watts.

What is the best part of your internship?
I am not sure I can come up with a "best" part of my internship.  I love just about every bit of my internship.  I think though, the best satisfaction and gratification comes from those days that I sit at the screen of the WSR-88D (Weather Surveillance Radar-1988 Doppler) RADAR, issuing warnings (some of which I do not want to issue, i.e. marginal storm, etc), and receiving the reports of hail or wind damage after the warnings.  It tends to be a bit relieving because I know that the warning helped to extend the mission of the National Weather Service - To Save Lives and Property, and that perhaps that is one more verified warning that someone won't blow off because "nothing happened."

What are the top two things you have learned? 
If there is one thing that I learned more than anything through this internship, is that some people are very careless, are ignorant, or just have no regard for anything.  An event that happened in early June sums up what I am talking about.  NWS-Pittsburgh had multiple complaints about our warnings breaking into someone's soap opera, causing them to miss it because they do not care if their life may be in danger due to a tornado or a severe thunderstorm.  One of the complaints we received about this problem (of which Comcast controls, not the NWS) read "I am sick of the NWS cutting into my (insert show here) to tell me that it is raining outside, when I can just look out the window and see that."  It almost puts a burning rage inside me as a warning forecaster toward that person because they don't have any regards for anything life has to offer besides television, but on the other hand, I know that I did my best to warn of danger to life and property, and that there are people who will take action based on their trust of the NWS in Pittsburgh.  This next thing that I would contribute along the lines of learning...perhaps it is a mere realization that also fits this category, but, the observations acquired across the United States have to be very carefully scrutinized to make sure that all weather reporting locations (whether temperature, precipitation, both, or other data) are correctly sited according to the National Weather Service Observing Handbook No. 2.  I mention this because, the picture below is an image from The University of Arizona, Tucson, where the COOP (Cooperative Weather Observer) station is run by the Department of Atmospheric Sciences.  This is not the only climatological data location of which skewed representative data is measured, but is a key to how not to take weather observations...

Would you recommend this internship to someone else? 
I certainly would recommend this internship to someone else.  I am happy to note that this past year approximately 45 applicants applied for an internship at the National Weather Service in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and there were only three openings.  Two interns are from California University of Pennsylvania, and another intern is from Penn State Main Campus.  It is an amazing experience to intern on the operational side of meteorology at the source of nearly all weather data and forecasts, the National Weather Service. 

A quote from you regarding your internship experience? 
Strive to perform at the highest level you can, however, take care to view those surrounding you, for your ego must maintain a low profile.