We Love Weather Exclusive

How I Achieved My Dream

In the next two weeks (Sunday 1/29 and 2/5 at noon ET), WxGeeks will feature two episodes about Women in Weather – highlighting the challenges and opportunities that female meteorologists face.  I’m honored to be a part of those shows and urge you to tune in – we had a great conversation that kept going even during the breaks for commercials.

As for my weather story, I’ve been interested in weather since I was young.  For many meteorologists there is that one storm: a tornado, hurricane, or big snow storm.  For me, it was just a general fascination with it all!  Growing up in southeastern PA, I experienced a lot of different weather from the Blizzards of 1983, 1993 and the ice storm of 1994, a day off of school from Hurricane Gloria in 1985.  And countless thunderstorms – some with hail!

Watching the weather on TV was always my thing.  In then morning when other kids had on the Smurfs, I knew that at :42 past the hour it was the International Business Forecast on The Weather Channel.  I was part of that first generation that The Weather Channel helped inspire.  My family, friends, and teachers played a big part too. My parents always encouraged me and my sister to think like a scientist.  My friends, who often gave me a hard time for my obsession with weather, very much supported and encouraged it.  My teachers were very influential, from Mr. Bannister – who lent me his pilot textbooks, to Mrs. Russell – a strong female science teacher, to Mr. C – who helped me make my first “Local on the 8’s ” slideshow using Lotus 1-2-3, and Mr. Flango – who had a crossword puzzle on his bulletin board in AP Calculus showcasing careers for people that like Math.  Meteorologist was one of them!

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I went to Penn State because of their well known and well-respected meteorology program.  Right away, I jumped into the Campus Weather Service on the early am shift.  I guess I am a morning person!  The curriculum was top-notch, but it was interaction with the faculty that made it such an enriching experience  This led to an internship at The Weather Channel – a dream come true.  And that led to a full-time job at The Weather Channel when I graduated.  Another dream come true!  Still living the dream!

I never felt the pressure to not be in a science-minded career because I was a woman, in fact it was probably more of the opposite. Because I expressed interest in science, I felt lots of support and encouragement.  But it was always obvious that the male to female ratio in school and work was not equal.  I had a lot of help and mentors (some scientists, some business professionals, some male, some female) along the way, and I try to pay it forward by going to schools to talk about weather and mentoring students when the opportunity allows.  I urge young people to pursue their interests and see where it takes them! And I urge parents to help their young kids give science a try.  I’m in the middle of Science Fair season right now with my elementary age girls.  It’s a lot a work that demands a lot of patience and it becomes a family affair, but the critical thinking skills and curiosity will last a lifetime.  Mine did!


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16 Comments


  1. How I got inspired is when a powerful storm a dericho that hit me in the highway. I came close to being in a tornado but I’m glad that happened to me so I can love the weather just as much as you. I hope I can be on the weather channel just like you Jen and be up their perdicting the weather with you and every other member on the weather channel. Also you inspired me as well.

  2. ❤Love watching you and the Ladies of TWC. Your knowledge of the science of weather is amazing. I watch everyday….especially AMHQ. Thanx 4 all U do Jen(s)!🤓👌☀

  3. I’ve got inspired to it all started when a storm hit me with powerful winds and a tornado ever since I become interested in weather and I began to watch the weather channel and down load the weather channel app and I hope I’m a meteorologist for the weather channel.

  4. Jen in a way I have been just like you i have been interested in the weather since I was young. My mom said when I was a kid with adhd and add I wouldn’t ever sit still for anything on TV but the weather channel. As I got older now in my mid 20’s the weather amazes me everyday and alot of times all I have to do is look up and I could tell or some times predict the weather myself. My dream is to become a meteorologist and a storm chaser.

  5. Hi Jen, I start most workdays with AMHQ and a cuppa joe up here in Dearborn, Michigan to see if I need a coat or not when I walk my mile to work. The Lab is wonderful. I take it that it’s some kind of Holograph machine or VR device?

    Here’s a thought on your Clipper names of a couple weeks ago. You could have an “Ontario Ogre” and a Quebec Qiller (pr. Kebec Killer).

    TWC is addictive or as they say “The Weather Channel is MTV for old people.”

  6. I also love, love, love weather! Jen you are my favorite at the wx channel. Enjoyed reading your story, jeep up the good work! I am a true wx channel junkie! Morning, noon & night!

  7. Jen, great going, positive thinking and a desire to move forward to pursue your dream is always a dream come true. I look forward to the Weather Channel to get an eye view of what we are expecting next in our area. I was always fascinated by the weather, and so happy that there is a Weather Channel to see all of the movements of the weather across our country, plus other news involving the weather elsewhere. The programs the channel carries of interest involving the weather around us. So happy to see the ladies like you doing a great job, move the dream forward >>>

  8. I’ve watched Jen a long time , I guess since She came to the Weather Channel… A girl that’s into weather and fitness is a real find : ) I started tracking weather at 14 yrs old after a Christmas Morning it was 28 deg with moisture moving in… Excited about the snow coming i was keeping an eye to the sky and a rain drop hit me and another and then its an all out rain at 28 deg… How can this be ,,, So forom then on I was in the encyclopedia …. the symbols were disappointing and seemed a lot to learn but I used the high clouds and the direction they were coming in from , the wind direction and barometor to try to predict winter weather from then on.. I wanted to go on to school, but that wasn’t an option … I have fallen off of my tracking for the most woth all the other tech : ) I luv the radar at home… I wished for that for ever before it was available… I’m big on Storms for sure . It fires me up like crazy .. I tried to catch a tornado at 17 and always drove down to the lake to get a better view as they rolled in during the spring My fear of them as a young child basically growing up in a falling down shack with a tin roof would freak anyone out in a high wind : ) Once i under stood then storms better i became hooked on them …
    It would be cool to have a more advanced section on this site as well … P.S.
    want to go to see Phil , Pic me up on the way 😮 )

  9. thanks for you and co-partners on the weather channel. thanks for the beauty and wit u bring to the morning weather. it is the first channel I watch every morning. I taught school for 34 years and taught geography, so I got a little taste of explaining some forms of climate and weather. again, thanks for making the weather so interesting. keep bringing the facts.

  10. Jen, keep up the great work! I can tell you truly enjoy weather. Weather has always been one of my interests.

  11. I think you women are great! Especially your use of technology. Wish I’d had it in 1965 when I was hired by Corinthian Broadcasting to be one of the first six women in the US to take on the male domain of the newsroom, which included weather. I did the AM news and weather casts at 5 am using the teletype info from the Associated Press (AP) Wire and had to move magnetic pieces of rubber on the map to display fronts…which is all we new about then. I’ve a great photo which will give you a chuckle, but I don’t know how to send it to you.

  12. Jen, You’ve come a long way since I first saw you on the Weather Channel at 2 a.m. when I was awake and would look to see what the weather would be for the day, Congratulations, on jobs well done.

  13. Jen, when it comes to women in STEM, you are the #wxwoman role model at The Weather Channel. Female meteorologists prove continuously that they are just as terrific as anybody else. I give all the #wxwomen 10 out 10 stars. I have been a colossal fan and supporter of The Weather Channel; and I hope that you feel that way too. Yes, the impossible dreams come true. Bring it on! #wxgirlsrule 😀

    When it comes to weather schooling, please remember that the University of Oklahoma is the #1 school for meteorology in the USA. #boomersooner