The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

Meteorology grows successfully

The number of students who choose broadcast meteorology as a major is growing due to the success and dedication of the meteorology department. 
This tight-knit group works to expand its student involvement. Recently, recruitment has not been a challenge due to excitement toward subject material and student achievements.
Peter Crank, senior broadcasting meteorology major, said he thinks broadcast meteorology is becoming more popular. 
“There are 14 students in my class. Overall, I think that the trend is growing among broadcast meteorology students,”he said.
He said balancing studies with extra-curricular activities has required a lesson in time management and emphasis on remaining competitive.
Doug Gillham, geosciences professor, said he encourages new students to interact with upper-level students within the major and get involved in on-campus organizations.
“Our best meteorology students are typically those who love the weather.  For those students, meteorology is not just their academic major, but it is a major part of their life,” he said. 
Crank said he believes students interested in science and dedicated to schoolwork should consider broadcast meteorology as a major.
“I chose this as my major because I like geography and am good at math and science,” Crank said. “God showed me the ‘yeses’ and opened doors where he thought I should be, and I took those opportunities.”
Mississippi State University  broadcast meteorology majors have demonstrated ingenuity and dedication by winning the Wx Challenge the past three out of four years.
The challenge is a collegiate level competition in which students across North America compete by predicting weather levels across 10 cities in the United States.
Although winning is based on the collective team score, individuals must submit personal predictions and are judged by comparing these to the actual weather.
“It’s kind of like golf,” Crank said. “The more accurate you are, the fewer points you receive. The team with the least amount of points wins.”
Renny Vandewege, geosciences professor, said his excitement toward students’ accomplishments in the Wx Challenge.
“I am very proud of the success of our students in the Wx Challenge and in their career fields. Wx Challenge provides an opportunity to forecast weather in many different locations and scenarios. Our students have been successful thanks to their tireless dedication to producing highly accurate forecasts and taking the instruction from their forecasting instructor, Dr. Doug Gillham, and applying it to the contest,” Vandewege said.
Gillham said although teachers provide information and offer advice, student success rests solely on the individual.
 ”Forecasting is both an art and a science.  We can readily teach the science, but they have to learn the art through experience,” Gillham said.  “There isn’t a 10-step formula that can be memorized that will always lead to an accurate forecast.  Each day presents a new forecasting challenge that may require a different approach from the previous day.”
Crank said he realizes application and internalization of study skills are only useful if applied and practiced and suggests freshman adhere to this advice.
“Take time to understand what you are learning, get out of your comfort zone and practice,” Crank said. “Even I need to do that.”
Most broadcast meteorology majors share a common goal: to enter the working world prepared with an advantage over graduates from other universities.
“We have taken the approach of being ‘media meteorology’ rather than just ‘broadcast meteorology.’  This means that our students will be well-versed in all aspects of meteorology content production. Many employers have commented on how well-rounded our students are in tackling every scenario that comes their way in the industry,” Vandewege said.
As potential community leaders and media spotlights, broadcast meteorology students strive to be the cream of the crop even when under pressure.
“People look to us as leaders and even examples,” Crank said.  “I want to do my best for them.”

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The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University
Meteorology grows successfully