More aspiring weather professionals than ever are turning to Mississippi State University for training to launch their careers. In fact, a third of today’s on-air meteorologists are graduates of MSU’s nationally recognized program, and many others are using their education to advance forecasting technologies for a variety of industries.
“MSU’s meteorology program is known for its balanced curriculum of atmospheric science and on-camera opportunities,” says Mike Brown, professor of meteorology and climatology. “That approach makes our graduates among the most sought after in the country, placing them in a unique league of their own.”
With concentrations in professional and broadcast meteorology, Mississippi State prepares students for a broad spectrum of jobs in public and private sectors. Faculty members help graduates match their career goals with the right employers, and the department also maintains a website where potential employers can view student-produced weather shows and resumes.
Students who choose the broadcast career track have access to the industry’s most advanced training tools and studio equipment. With four semesters of green-screen instruction, they learn how to produce professional weather forecasts using cutting-edge graphics systems that rival the best in the business.
“Green screen sets MSU apart from other programs,” Brown says. “Getting broadcast experience with their degrees gives our students a leg up in the profession.”
MSU’s program was a perfect fit for Christana Landress of Buford, Georgia, who started watching the weather forecast in elementary school and decided she wanted to be a broadcast meteorologist. “I was always fascinated by people on TV, and I told my mother I was going to be just like them one day,” she says.
Her opinion about weather forecasting took on a more serious tone after a violent tornado ripped through downtown Atlanta in 2008. “After that incident, my goal changed from wanting to be on TV to wanting to save lives when events like that happen.”
After she graduates in May 2018, Landress plans to attend graduate school to study coastal environments and their relationship with hurricanes and humans. One day she hopes to deliver the weather forecast for a major TV station — a dream her Mississippi State experience has placed within her grasp.
“No matter what your career goals are, our professors work diligently to make sure every student is successful,” Landress says.
Reggie Roakes of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, began his degree work with a broadcast concentration, but his MSU experience helped broaden his knowledge of the field along with his career possibilities. Now he’s interested in developing new software to improve forecasting technologies.
“The meteorology program at MSU prepares you for a wide variety of career opportunities,” says Roakes, who’ll begin work on his graduate degree in 2018. “There are students learning to be on TV, serve as forecasters for the National Weather Service, code weather programs, and even research societal impacts of weather and how the public interprets data.”
In addition to relevant coursework and hands-on experience, Roakes notes that Mississippi State provides a nurturing environment for students that encourages them to learn, grow and succeed.