I was born and raised in the Twin Cities 'burbs of Minnesota on one of the 10,000 lakes. When I was little, my father and I would go storm chasing, or watch storms roll by from our hilltop vantage point where we lived. We watched a local Aviation Weather channel (before there were 24/7 weather channels!) every morning getting ready for work/school. I was fascinated by the science of weather and read every book in my elementary libraries that I could get my hands on. When I was 11 years old, a local meteorologist wrote a book about weather, and my mother had it signed for me...it said, "keep asking questions, and maybe one day I'll be watching you on TV"... talk about a full circle moment.. Since I now work for this man at WeatherNation! My whole life I've told friends and family that I wanted to be a meteorologist, but I was afraid of Math. I struggled in the subject, but tried my hardest and did pretty well in Science. It helped that I was a huge nerd about Meteorology, Geography, and Geology. Anytime I was told "No" or "You Can't" I tried harder, and never gave up. My passion lies not just in telling folks and friends a story about how the weather is going to affect them today...tomorrow..etc, but I love to work with young people and help them realize to never give up on your dreams. It is truly a blessing to be able to teach kids something that I love and see them become inspired.
Education, Awards & Accreditations
I received my Bachelor of Science in Geography - Atmospheric Sciences from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Dr. Cecil Keen got me off the ground and running by getting me involved with the college radio station - where I hosted a weather topic radio show. I stayed on for 1 year of graduate work, and I was blessed to have the opportunity to become funded by the MN Dept of Health and tested homes for Radon. Following that - I was given a scholarship from National Geographic and was able to become involved with a group of wonderful people that went dog sledding across the arctic for "Arctic Transect 2004" upon which they studied the Inuit culture, Climate change, and also created an Online curriculum that allowed students to participate and interact with the team during the trek. To this day, the experience I had helping them prepare for the trek, was one of the most amazing experiences of my life.
I headed to Mississippi State University to finish up my Masters of Science degree in Geosciences/Meteorology, where I worked with Mr. Wayne Verno in the Broadcast Meteorology lab as a teaching assistant. While there, I experienced the force of Hurricanes Ivan, Katrina, and Rita. Upon graduation, I worked at KMEG-TV in Sioux City, IA and became a morning meteorologist. I loved my team there, and had a blast going to schools and after school programs working with students. I left the On Air "biz" for a little while and went to work for a weather software and data company called Weather Central, located in Madison, WI. I learned so much about the industry and really honed my teaching and graphics creation skills during my time there. Then out of the blue, I received a call from a friend at WeatherNation (who also worked with me at Weather Central years back) and eventually, I became part of this team!
Questions & Answers
Q: What is your most memorable weather experience?
A: There's so many! One in particular, I think I was about 6 years old.. and I clearly remember my father and me sitting outside of our home (the one on top of a hill) and watched a wall cloud form almost over our heads.. It happened so fast, it scared us both! (We went back inside of course!). When I was older - I was out driving with a friend of mine after school. We were coming back on the interstate through the Twin Cities. A storm was forming to our South which was the way we were headed. As we were driving, I noticed cars about a half mile in front of us stopping suddenly, I realized that we were about to drive head on into a wall of Hail. There was nowhere to go, I was half under an overpass, and that was the first time I've ever experienced Baseball Sized hail. And trust me...it was the last time that ever happened!
Q: Outside of the weather what are your hobbies and life interests?'
A: Dogs, Baking, and Singing. My adopted rescue dog - Sydney (Aka: Syd Vicious) is a terrier-mutt with scruffy fur and a broken ear, she's a little rough around the edges, but so am I! I'm absolutely obsessed with animals - and I hope to one day become a Foster "dog mom". I'm a terrible day to day cook, ha-ha, but I love the process and procedure of Baking, I'm quite a dork for a new cookie or cake recipe! I sang in choirs and a cappella jazz groups in High School and in College, I was very serious about it and had taken lessons for years. Now days, I can be seen at the local Karaoke hang out or holding a concert in my car, but I'm hoping to get involved in a local choir soon.
Q: Besides your parents who has influenced you the most in your life?
A: I hope I don't embarrass him, but that would have to be Mr. Paul Douglas. Also, my high school English teachers, Dr. Cecil Keen, and Mr. Wayne Verno.
Q: What is a little known fact about you?
A: After going on a snow and ice field studies trip - I ended up moving to Silverton, Colorado (9318 ft within the San Juan Mountains) for a while with a good friend of mine just hanging out in the mountains, working, we didn't know anyone when we got there! I miss my friends there, and it's the most beautiful place I've ever been.
Q: What are your hopes and dreams for the profession of weather?
A: I love that this field never is static. New theories, ideas, and facts are being introduced constantly. Since the "weather" changes every day, I'm glad to see that change is accepted within this subject - things never get boring!
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