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Kristen Tucker Attends American Meteorological Society Meeting in Austin, Texas

I was star struck when I found myself standing next to Denver’s own 9NEWS Chief Meteorologist, Kathy Sabine, whom I have been admiring for years as she gives her daily local weather report for my hometown. I also quickly realized I was surrounded by peers from New York, Texas, and Florida who did not share my excitement because each have their own famous local chief meteorologists. Local broadcasters are the face of an industry filled with scientists, forecasters, and advanced instruments that go far beyond predicting the temperature and cloud cover for the next five days. They are a part of a team of people who have dedicated their lives to advancing the communication of weather and climate events that affect very large populations, and they all gather annually at the American Meteorological Society Meeting.

I hope to have a career in researching and forecasting weather phenomena and the American Meteorological Society (AMS) is the gateway to this career. AMS produces an annual meeting for professionals and students to gather and share knowledge. I was fortunate to be selected to work as a Student Assistant on behalf of the AMS for the 2018 meeting in Austin, Texas. The 2018 AMS Meeting spanned far beyond the reaches of broadcast meteorology. I met National Weather Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NASA, and private business employees from all over the nation, all as nerdy as myself about clouds, strange snow events, and storm chasing. They have turned their passion into careers producing the science many of us plan our days, weeks, and vacations around. I met the lead scientists behind both the GOES-16 Satellite and the Geostationary Lightning Mapper that rides on the GOES-16, both equipped with technology producing data and images that are changing the game of weather prediction. These lead scientists have worked on their projects for more than twenty-five years, and their work is seen and used by the public all around the world.

One of the most surprising aspects of my trip to the AMS Meeting was the generosity of the people behind the science. Between seven long days of meetings and presentations about new discoveries and applications in the meteorology field, I could have drowned in information. Yet, the people behind the science were welcoming and willing to explain and answer my questions about their work and how to enter their sectors of the field. I began the meeting lacking confidence in my knowledge and my ability to succeed in a field where my experience does not yet run deep. The people at the Haub School and AMS who made it possible for me to attend the meeting and meet people my age and older who share my passions and aspirations was one of the most beautiful things to happen to my confidence and my drive to succeed in the meteorology field.

Story and photo from Kristen Tucker, a senior in environmental systems science with minors in math, geography, and honors who anticipates graduating from the University of Wyoming in December 2018.

Kristen Tucker

Photo: Riana Erickson (left), from the College of Environmental Science and Forestry at State University of New York, and Kristen Tucker (right) from the Haub School at the University of Wyoming, served as student assistants together at the American Meteorological Society Meeting. They are pictured at the NOAA exhibitor booth where NOAA scientists were giving interactive presentations using new satellite data.




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