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Meteorology Alumni Experiences


wku meteorology

                    Alumni Experiences


The WKU meteorology program is a young program, with the first graduating class holding B.S. degrees in meteorology in 2010. Since that time several students have graduated from the undergraduate program and a number have also graduated with a M.S. degree in Geosciences with a focus on weather and climate. Below are the profiles of several of the WKU meteorology alumni. The diversity of the jobs and locations of WKU meteorology students proves there are many occupations and locations where you may find yourself with a degree in meteorology. If you are a WKU meteorology alumni and your profile needs to be added or updated download this form and email it to Dr. Gregory Goodrich.


Marcus Bagwell  

Tony Bedel

  Ian Blaylock

Marcus Bagwell, Class of 2013

Major: BS in Meteorology

Minor: Broadcasting

Current City: Tyler, TX

Current Job Title: Meteorologist

Current Job Description: I am the weekend meteorologist and weather producer at KETK-TV. I also write a weather blog.

One Fond Memory from WKU Meteorology: My favorite experience was sitting in class having forecast discussions of the weather each day. Every day, the forecast was different. And, it was great to talk weather with those who lover it!

 

Tony Bedel, Class of 2010

Major: BS in Meteorology

Minor: Mathematics

Graduate School: Received an MS in Geography from the University of Georgia (2012)

Current City: Frankfort, KY

Current Job Title: Section Supervisor

Current Job Description: As a member of the Quality Assurance (QA) Section of Kentucky's Division for Air Quality, my duties focus on ensuring that ambient air concentrations of critical pollutants (i.e., O3, SO2, NO2, CO, and particulate matter) in Kentucky meet the national ambient standards for public health. This is accomplished by routinely certifying on a quarterly basis that all equipment and monitors within the Kentucky Ambient Air Network remain in compliance with the standard equipment maintained by the QA Section in Frankfort. Additionally, data collected by the KY Ambient Air Network are quality assured to determine if each monitoring site within the network is compliant with federal pollutant standards.

One Fond Memory from WKU Meteorology: My best memories from the WKU Meteorology Program center on engaging with my fellow classmates, both inside the classroom and out. My 2010 graduating class was especially outgoing in the classroom, often stimulating deep discussion about course and general topics with the Program professors. I also fondly recall working and studying with my peers on the days leading up to homework assignment due dates and exams. I made some lifelong friends during my time with the WKU Meteorology Program, and for that I am truly grateful.

 

Ian Blaylock, Class of 2012

Major: BS in Meteorology

Minor: Mathematics

Current City: Peachtree City, GA

Current Job Title: Hydrometeorological Forecaster, NWS

Current Job Description: I launch weather balloons, answer phone calls, and create climatology and hydrological products. I'm also involved in local research and development projects.

One Fond Memory from WKU Meteorology: This is more related to the honors college, but the process of writing a senior research thesis with Drs. Mahmood and Foster was a very memorable experience. I also enjoyed getting delicious food with the NWS Louisville staff.


 Mitchell Gaines    Danny Gant    Landon Hampton

Mitchel Gaines, Class of 2012

Major (Graduate): MS in Geoscience

Current City: Mount Holly, NJ

Current Job Title: Meteorologist

Current Job Description: I'm a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. The majority of shifts I work focus on public service. I'm also responsible for some hydrology and climate products released by the office daily. In addition, I'm training to become a journeyman forecaster. My focal points are with outreach and the NOAA Weather Radio.

One Fond Memory from WKU Meteorology: They are quite a few fond moments I had at WKU and it's hard to pick just one. It's hard not to remember the field course out in the plains. Actually seeing firsthand what we had learned was incredible. Another fond moment was winning the University of Georgia forecasting challenge. I could go on with quite a few more good memories but I'll stop here for time's sake.

 

Danny Gant, Class of 2010

Major: BS in Meteorology

Minor: Mathematics

Current City: Greenville, SC

Current Job Title: NWS General Forecaster

Current Job Description: Provide weather information, warnings, aviation and public forecasts to the general public and to special user groups in the Weather Forecast Office (WFO) service area. Provide the coordination of National Weather Service (NWS) products, warnings, and forecasts with the on duty Senior Forecaster Service Hydrologist, hydro-meteorological technicians, and surrounding offices. Provide professional advice and assistance to peers and lower grade staff members on weather and GIS related issues.

One Fond Memory from WKU Meteorology: I recall all the pre-test study sessions in the newly converted Meteorology Lab, especially for Mesoscale and Dynamic Meteorology. I remember my first in-class weather briefing given by Ronnie Leaper and myself, and how Dr. Goodrich said, 'That's NWS Quality'. It was that comment that motivated me further to apply for the SCEP position, and eventually get hired at the NWS Forecast Office in Nashville. One other comment, if any future Meteorology students' are fearful of the Math they have to go through, I would like to tell them that if I can do it, they can do it. I started at the lowest level remedial Math class, and ended up with a minor in Mathematics. With hard work, motivation, and dedication, anything is possible.

 

Landon Hampton, Class of 2010

Major: BS in Meteorology; AS in Meteorological Technologies

Current City: Bowling Green, KY

Current Job Title: Moderator, Founder & Meteorologist at Wx Or Not BG

Current Job Description: I produce forecast on a regional perspective for the citizens in and around west central Kentucky. I do this through many platforms, including radio, broadcasting, interactive blogging and social media. I'm also responsible for public speaking engagements to EMT's, schools, etc. Last but not least, I also consult WRECC electric company, local Board of Educations and other entities regarding weather hazards.

One Fond Memory from WKU Meteorology: A very fond memory I have is being part of the first ever WKU storm chase team. We had the chase of a lifetime, witnessing 17 touchdowns across numerous states, while traveling over 8,000 miles! I will forever remember this experience, and am forever grateful to Dr. Goodrich and Dr. Durkee for helping mold me into the Meteorologist I am today.


Dustin Jordan   Kyle Mattingly   TJ Malone

Dustin Jordan, Class of 2012

Major: BS in Meteorology

Current City: Jackson, KY

Current Job Title: NWS Meteorologist

Current Job Description: My primary role as Meteorologist Intern at the NWS in Caribou is data collection. This includes mainly hydrological, climate, and upper air data. Also early on in the position I have the opportunity to become part of the forecast process by producing long term forecast and terminal aviation forecasts.

One Fond Memory from WKU Meteorology: The forecasting and weather analysis field study (WKU Storm Chasing Class) was by far the best memory. I was able to attend to first year that class was offered and had to compete for the position by taking a extensive severe weather analysis test. This experience exceeded my expectations and improved my forecasting skill that benefits me to this day.

 

Kyle Mattingly, Class of 2012

Major: BS in Meteorology

Minor: Mathematics

Graduate School: MS in Geography from the University of Georgia (2014)

Current Location: Athens, GA

Current Job Title: Graduate Assistant

Current Job Description: I am researching atmospheric circulation patterns associated with large thunderstorm complexes in subtropical South America. I also serve as a teaching assistant for atmospheric science classes.

One Fond Memory from WKU Meteorology: My best memories are of road trips with meteorology friends, especially the storm chasing trip and our trips to the National Severe Weather Workshop.

 

TJ Malone, Class of 2010

Major: BS in Meteorology

Minor: Mathematics

Current Location: Grand Forks, ND

Current Job Title: Operational Meteorologist, Iteris

Current Job Description: Create and publish detailed, hourly forecasts for state Departments of Transportation and Highway 511 systems.

One Fond Memory from WKU Meteorology: I really enjoyed the opportunity to serve as Assistant Director of the StormTopper Network and the opportunity to attend several regional and national conferences. Also, being part of the inaugural Field Methods in Weather Analysis and Forecasting class was one of the most fun, challenging, and rewarding experiences.


Sam Roberts   Nathaniel Shearer   Evan Webb

Sam Roberts, Class of 2010

Major: BS in Meteorology

Current City: Knoxville, TN

Current Job Title: Intern at NWS WFO Morristown, TN

Current Job Description: There are a variety of things that interns do and duties will vary slightly from office to office. Currently, I deal mostly with climate data and public service type duties. Public service duties include answering phones, doing interviews, looking up weather data, weather briefings, etc. I am also heavily involved in the outreach program. I go out and give school talks as well teach storm spotter classes. I have just recently begin to issue forecasts here at our office.

One Fond Memory from WKU Meteorology: WKU's first storm chase trip was probably one of my best memories. It's an incredible experience that I urge everyone to try and be apart of. I am also grateful for the close-knit met program that WKU has. I was able to make many close friends during my time at WKU, many of whom  still keep in contact with today.

 

Nathaniel Shearer, Class of 2012

Major: BS in Meteorology

Minor: Mathematics

Current City: Bossier City, LA

Current Job Title: Weather Operations Officer in the U.S. Air Force

Current Job Description: I will attend Officer Training School in Montgomery Alabama to become a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force. After OTS, I will complete the Weather Officer Course in Biloxi Mississippi, then receive orders to report to a base of the Air Force's choosing to begin on the job weather forecasting/training for Air Force operations.

One Fond Memory from WKU Meteorology: Working in the meteorology lab as an assistant was a fulfilling experience for me. It was very rewarding being able to help other students understand how the atmosphere works and share with them why I felt meteorology was so interesting.

 

Evan Webb, Class of 2012

Major: BS in Meteorology

Minor: Geographic Information Systems and Mathematics

Current City: Grand Rapids, MI

Current Job Title: Meteorologist Intern, NWS

Current Job Description: As a Met Intern at WFO GRR, I'm primarily responsible for all observations as well as daily/monthly climate information and services. Observations include surface obs as well as river levels. Daily products are issued, detailing current obs from river gages, ASOS sites, AWOS, Mesonet, etc. Daily and monthly climate products are issued as well. There's also an increasing involvement with storm event summaries, so that includes composing event narratives, compiling storm reports, and creating storm event snowfall/precipitation/wind gust maps for the CWA.

One Fond Memory from WKU Meteorology: The highlight has to be the May 2012 version of the Weather Analysis & Forecasting Field Methods course, led by Dr. Durkee and Dr. Dixon. The experience of hauling it all over the Plains in a smelly van in search of beautiful thunderstorms with 7 fellow friends/storm chasers/students/Catch Phrase teammates is one that simply can't be matched in a classroom. After spending the night before as well as that very morning forecasting, analyzing weather data, and driving all over creation, it's a rush and a feeling of undeniable wonder to be greeted that evening with a mammoth, rotating beast of a storm. A tornado on your birthday doesn't hurt either ;).


Astrid Suarez    Chris Johnson    Tyler Binkley

Astrid Suarez, Class of 2010

Major: BS in Meteorology

Minor: Mathematics

Graduate School: M.S. in Meteorology from the Pennsylvania State University, 2013

Ph.D. in Meteorology from the Pennsylvania State University, 2015

Current City: Satellite Beach, FL

Current Job Title: Meteorological modeling analyst

Current Job Description: I currently work with the Air Force Technical Applications Center at Patrick Air Force Base near Satellite Beach, FL. 

One Fond Memory from WKU Meteorology: I have many fond memories working at the Kentucky Climate Center and collaborating with other team members. I recall many wonderful and engaging discussions, teaching opportunities, and “baseball” games in the lab. My involvement with the center allowed me to participate in high-impact research projects that shaped my research interests and my career goals as a meteorologist.  

 

 Christopher Johnson, Class of 2014

Major: BS in Meteorology

Current City: Hazard, KY

Current Job Title: Meteorologist

Current Job Description: I am the morning meteorologist at WYMT-TV. I create graphics on a daily basis and serve as the on-air meteorologist for a 2-hour morning newscast and network morning news. Occasionally fill-in for the chief and the weekend meteorologist as needed. Outside of the my on-air responsibilities, I contribute daily to the online weather blog, clip and post weather videos to the web, radio, assist in newsroom operations, and update news stories. 

One Fond Memory from WKU Meteorology: There are a lot of fond memories from my time at WKU and the Meteorology program, but one that sticks out the most to me would be the opportunity I had as a QA Mesonet Operator/Research Assistant. This position led to a great deal of real world work experience and eventually molded me into who I am today. The research opportunity transformed into work that is in the final stages of being published. These opportunities led to multiple friendships, research opportunities, grants, and an experience in presenting at national weather conferences.  Oh, and I have to say, no one ever forgets the preparation it took for a Synoptic, Mesoscale, or Dynamics test.  

 

Tyler Binkley, Class of 2014

Major: BS in Meteorology

Current City: Bowling Green, KY

Current Job Title:  Meteorologist

Current Job Description: I currently work at Mammoth Cave National Park in the Science and Resource Management division as an onsite Meteorologist and Physical Science Technician.  I am currently assisting in the Cave Atmospheric Air Flow project that is being conducted inside the Historic Tour portion of the cave.  Also, I am assisting in the collection and processing of air quality samples that are being collected within the park.   

One Fond Memory from WKU Meteorology: The number one thing I enjoyed was getting to serve as the President for the WKU AMS/NWA Local Student Chapter for the 2014 calendar year.  This opportunity allowed me to network, bring in big-name speakers, and help our chapter gain national attention by starting the first student led Weather Camp in the nation.  Also, getting to go to national conferences such as the AMS Annual Meeting was fun in that it allowed the students pursuing a degree in meteorology to grow closer together.  Finally, I would have to say that I really enjoyed being a part of the summer 2014 Field Methods in Weather Analysis and Forecasting class.  

Emily Yates   Jane Marie Wix     Austin Boys

Emily Yates, Class of 2014

Major: BS in Meteorology

Current City: Oxnard, CA

Current Job Title: Pathways Intern, NWS

Current Job Description: I am currently the Pathways Meteorologist Intern for National Weather Service Oxnard/Los Angeles. I will be working with the other staff members at NWS Oxnard/Los Angeles to conduct marine and fire weather research, facilitate community awareness programs, and become trained in National Weather Service operations.

One Fond Memory from WKU Meteorology: My favorite experience from WKU Meteorology was coming together with my peers in the Meteorology Lab on a severe weather day to discuss the current set up and debate about the expected outcome. This was not a requirement but something the students at WKU elected to do. I spent the better part of my life growing up wishing to be surrounded by a group of people who had as much desire as I did to study the weather. Equally fond in my memory was my participation in the Field Methods in Weather Analysis and Forecasting course in 2012 where I saw my first tornado. This was an experience that reached beyond my wildest imagination and made the science come to life.

 

 

Jane Marie Wix, Class of 2010

Major: BS in Meteorology

Minor: Math, GIS

Current City: Jackson, KY

Current Job Title: General Forecaster, NWS

Current Job Description: I interrogate meteorological data available from a variety of sources (radar, satellite, observations, etc), analyzing and assessing the current and forecast weather situation at both the synoptic and meso-scale levels. This data is then used to devise and formulate forecast products for our users (including public forecasts and specialized forecasts for aviation and fire weather users), as well as to issue warning, watch, or advisory products if needed.  I also provide forecasts and weather briefings to local and regional officials, radio, and television stations as needed. In addition, I take part in local research projects, as well as outreach events to promote the Weather-Ready Nation initiative. 


One Fond Memory from WKU Meteorology: Being president and co-founder of the WKU Meteorology Club! It was great to be able to socialize and mentor fellow weather enthusiasts. We had lots of great times together, whether it was just hanging out and eating pizza during storm chasing movie nights, getting to listen and talk with professionals from the Meteorology field during our formal meetings, or taking field trips to surrounding forecast offices and local attractions. It was also a great way to form bonds between the upper and lower classman, as well as the meteorology department professors. It was a lot of work, but worth it!

 

Austin Boys, Class of 2014

Major: BS in Meteorology

Minor: GIS

Graduate School: M.S. in Business Analytics, from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, 2015

Current City: Franklin, TN

Current Job Title: Revenue Cycle Business Analyst

Current Job Description: I am a business analyst for Parallon, a subsidiary of HCA, the largest health care facility operator in the world. I design, develop, and implement process improvement solutions across HCA using data analysis and visualization methodologies. Although not directly applied, many soft and quantitative skills gained from my meteorology degree are being applied such as pattern recognition and synthesizing complex information from various sources into actionable summaries.

One Fond Memory from WKU Meteorology: I really enjoyed having intelligent conversations about the weather everyday with classmates and professors. It was something that helped to refine and expand my knowledge in the form of casual conversations. 

 Brian Urbancic        

Brian Urbancic, Class of 2015

Major: BS in Meteorology

Current City: Scott AFB, IL

Current Job Title: Weather Operations Officer

Current Job Description: I issue TAFs for 20 locations along with watches, warnings, and advisories which provide resource protections for many Department of Defense locations stretching from North Dakota to New York. 

One Fond Memory from WKU Meteorology: Working with Dr. Stuart Foster on weather research in 2011 and later presenting that research at the Kentucky Academy of Sciences meeting. 

       

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 Last Modified 1/24/17