I grew up in Port Lavaca, TX and lived there for 18 years. Through my youth, I was involved in sports (baseball, football, and tennis), community theatre, and various school clubs (band, UIL, choir). I became interested in weather, specifically hurricanes, in 1999 with the threat of Hurricane Bret (category 4) making landfall near Port Lavaca. Thankfully, Bret made landfall south of Port Lavaca on Padre Island. I’ll never forget the fear I had for Hurricane Bret (and crying on the living room floor) because news broadcasters were making such a big deal out of this storm.
What got me into weather, so much that I’d monitor radar and satellite images throughout high school, was Hurricane Claudette on July 15, 2003 (I was between 8th and 9th grade). I hadn’t even heard anything about it–perhaps I was too busy being a young teen. I was sitting on my living-room couch and noticed rain and winds started to pick up moreso than a typical Gulf Coast daytime shower. So I tuned in to the Weather Channel–Hurricane Claudette was making landfall just down the road in Port O’ Connor. I really wanted to watch the coverage of Jim Cantore dramatically swaying in the 80 mph winds near the Lighthouse Beach, however, within 15 minutes of turning the TV on, the power went out. I looked outside and the thick bush that was shaped like a gorilla looked more like a dancing balloon.
Throughout high school, I was determined to become an actor. After college classes, I realized I was better fit for a science degree because classes like calculus, chemistry, and physics were much easier than writing courses required for arts degrees. With a specific interest in physical geography and a general interest in math, I transferred from Texas Tech to Texas A&M (whoop!) to pursue a degree in meteorology. My original thought was I would combine my theatre skills with science skills and become a TV meteorologist! Hah. Easier said than done. If you take a script away from me, I am no good in front of an audience. So my next idea was: I’d be a forecaster for the National Weather Service! Although I was on track for a forecaster, I became interested in research and found out I really enjoy science communication–after all, discussing science in a room full of ears is basically theatre. Now, I am a graduate student in the Graduate Degree Program in Ecology at Colorado State University (current work) in Fort Collins, CO. In the future, I’d really like to choose a career that allows me to use what I’ve learned and communicate the importance of science to the public. Areas of particular interest are climate science, meteorology, water-resource management, and air/water-quality issues (especially along coastal regions).