Meteorologist encourages students to seek career in weather forecasting


David Stemmle

Allison Santorelli speaks to students about careers in meteorology and weather forecasting.

David Stemmle, Daily Editor

A meteorologist gave a lecture on forecasting and meteorology at AACC on Oct 18. 

Allison Santorelli came to the Arnold campus to give a talk about her career in meteorology and encourage students to pursue the field. 

First-year earth science student Emily O’Donnell said she didn’t realize how much work and commitment it took to be a meteorologist. 

“We don’t think about how hard they work… to have the weather on the news,” O’Donnell said. “I didn’t even think about the fact that they’re there 24/7 and stuck there over night when there’s bad snowstorms.”  

Santorelli described the work that she does for the Weather Prediction Center in College Park, MD. 

“As a meteorologist we are forecasting all sorts of weather elements [and] we are highlighting any big weather events,” said Santorelli. Basically, the main mission in the weather service is to protect life and property.” 

Santorelli has worked 7 to 8 years as a meteorologist, covering and drawing surface analyses for large storms such as Hurricane Sandy and the blizzard that hit in 2016. 

Santorelli added that—although she finds her work enjoyable—the storms that meteorologists are witnessing can cause a lot of damage and should be taken seriously. 

“That’s always really humbling, to see these big events that come through,” said Santorelli. “But at the same time [we] try to do our best so that we can get that message out there and so people will, if they need to, evacuate.” 

Zachery Jarjoura, a first-year undecided student, said “I enjoyed it a lot; I’m taking a class—fundamentals of weather—right now, so it was actually interesting to see what they do in the field.” 

Santorelli explained that, although one might not need a degree in meteorology, “These jobs are really competitive. You [also] need something that will set you apart, like if you have good computer science skills or something.”  

She added that networking is crucial to getting a job in forecasting. “Certainly, don’t be afraid to reach out to people you know [in the field],Santorelli said.There is plenty of internship opportunity out there; there’s a lot of volunteer [work]. You can volunteer at your local office; there’s a lot of opportunities out there to get involved with the weather service and really just get your name out there.