Zack Labe (2015) completed undergraduate research over the summer with professor Toby Ault:
"Collaborating with Dr. Toby Ault in the Cornell Earth and Atmospheric Sciences Department, my summer project involved deriving a temporal relationship between the timing of leaf and bloom periods of plants (e.g. lilac and honeysuckle) and atmospheric variables such as maximum/minimum temperatures and synoptic weather events. This 'Spring Index' (SI) research utilized the original work of Mark. D. Schwartz, professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and will be further expanded through other input variables and output predictors/indices. Long term goals of the research include the development of a Python-based module package containing agricultural predictors and indicators for the Spring Indices Suite of Measurements. By understanding the direct relationship between phenology and climate change, it will be possible to evaluate patterns and trends over the last century for plant-based and agricultural ecosystems across North America. In addition, the SI module will analyze changes in the spring-onset and high vulnerability in weather patterns due to climate change."
Elisa Raffa (2015) interned at the CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta, GA:
"What an incredible internship! I got to work domestic and international weather stories with both CNN teams. I took on a role as social media producer, as well as helped gather photos and videos for our on-air material. I had a great helping hand with the producers in making on-air and CNN.com graphics. I also got to practice in front of the camera... A LOT! This, however, was more my eagerness and enthusiasm for the field. I always went into the studio on the weekends, when it was less hectic, to make graphics and record hits. Afterwards, my CNN meteorologists would critique my work and offer advice to improve my camera presence. Finally, I was the only intern to work both CNN studios - the World Headquarters in Atlanta, GA and the Time Warner Center in New York City."
Molly Smith (2014) interned with the NASA Student Airborne Research Program:
"I spent my summer as a participant in NASA's Student Airborne Research Program (SARP), based out of Palmdale, California. This was an amazing program, as we flew five missions in NASA's DC-8 aircraft, collecting atmospheric data anywhere from 12,000 to just 1,000 feet above the ground, and then pursuing independent research projects based on this data. My research was on variation in the observed ratio of carbon monoxide to carbon dioxide concentrations across the Los Angeles Basin, and the potential that this ratio might have as an indicator of air quality and pollution levels in urban areas. The eight weeks I spent with SARP were among the most fun I've had in my life, and I definitely recommend this program to anyone interested in field research."
Undergraduate Atmospheric Science majors at Cornell spend their summers interning, volunteering, and conducting research with numerous organizations across the country in both the public and private sectors.
Many students take advantage of Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU). These competitive, NSF-sponsored programs offer the opportunity for students to work with mentors at other Universities, and a chance to spend a summer working on a project which can typically be presented the following winter at the annual AMS National Meeting as a poster or talk. In addition, some students find research internships at national labs, and a host of non-REU programs exist at other institutions. Cornell meteorology students have also been extremely competitive at earning Hollings Scholarships, a prestigious award which helps fund undergraduate educations in the Earth sciences and yields a summer-long research internship at a top national lab or agency.
Some organizations and universities that offer summer research opportunities are listed below:
- UCAR's Significant Opportunities in Atmospheric Research and Science (SOARS)
- Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
- National Weather Center in Norman, Oklahoma
- NASA Student Airborne Research Program (SARP)
- Space Physics Research Laboratory, University of Michigan
- George Melendez Wright Initiative for Young Leaders in Climate Change
- Arecibo Observatory Summer Program in Puerto Rico
- Hobart & William Smith Colleges Summer Research Program
- Oak Ridge National Laboratory
- Center for Multiscale Modeling of Atmospheric Processes at Colorado State University
- Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean at the University of Washington
- Texas A&M University Summer Research Internship
In addition to research internships, many students pursue experiences in the private sector, sometimes not even directly related to meteorology! A popular summer internship choice involves working with a local broadcast meteorologist in a student's hometown. Some students have also opted to work with private forecasting shops who liaison with the financial or energy industries.
Some companies that may be contacted regarding internship opportunities are listed below:
- Sonoma Technology
- WABC-TV in New York City
- WNBC-TV in New York City
- I.M. Systems Group, Inc.
- Weather 2000
- WSI (Affiliate of The Weather Channel)
- Weather Works, Inc.
- Vaisala, Inc.
- Weather Decision Technologies, Inc.
- Earth Networks, Inc.
National Weather Service
Students volunteer and intern informally with their local National Weather Service weather forecast office (specifically, Albany and Binghamton), and the NWS also offers a paid internship as part of the Pathways Program. These sorts of experiences are great ways to gain an advantage when seeking competitive positions in operational meteorology or forecasting in general.
Some students break the mold entirely and seek internships outside or tangentially-related to meteorology. In the past, students with business minors have spent summers working in the financial sector, while others have worked at other public agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency, pursuing both environmental science and public policy.
Finding Your Own Internship
The EAS faculty keep students informed via e-mail on many opportunities, and upperclassmen in the department share their internship experiences with younger students and can help them find exciting opportunities. In addition, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences strongly supports undergraduate internship searches, and the National Science Foundation maintains a searchable list of REU programs. Cornell students are encouraged to network and independently contact people or organizations for whom they'd like to work - most groups are thrilled to hire Cornell students, even if just for a summer internship!
Below are some links that may be helpful when preparing a résumé or CV.
CCAMS CV/Résumé Workshop Presentation
List of Skills, Qualities, and Action Verbs from CALS Student Services
Pathways To Science
American Meteorological Society Career Center (Links to Intern and Job Boards)
NOAA Student Opportunities
Internship and Employment Opportunities at the National Weather Service (Pathways Program, Student Volunteer Service)
NASA's One-Stop Shopping Initiative for Internships, Fellowships, and Scholarships
American Meteorological Society Board for Private Sector Meteorologists Mentoring Program
List of REUs assembled by Dr. Clark Evans, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee