National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce
Student Volunteer Program

National Weather Service Forecast offices regularly provide opportunities for college students to gain valuable work experience, both as paid employees and as unpaid volunteers. Many NWS employees participated in such programs themselves when they were students and remain grateful for the experience. For this reason, they understand how beneficial such programs can be, and they are eager to return the favor. This is true even if a student ends up not working for the National Weather Service.

Of course, the NWS benefits greatly from these programs as well. Not only do we gain a little extra help for a few months, but we also give potential future employees a running start toward a successful NWS career. When deciding which recent graduate to hire, a manager in the NWS often would like to select someone who has actual NWS experience -- and the positive recommendations to go with it! There are several avenues by which students can participate in operations at WFO Boston below.


Pathways for Students and Recent Graduates

The Pathways Program offers clear paths to Federal internships for students from high school through post-graduate school, and to careers for recent graduates. As a student or recent graduate, you can begin your career in the Federal government by choosing the path that best fits you and where you are in your academic career. For an overview of Pathways, including a means for you to get notification of Pathways openings, visit USAJOBS. The information in the paragraphs below will provide you with background knowledge of Pathways.

The Pathways Internship Program is for current students. It replaces the Student Career Experience Program (SCEP) and Student Temporary Employment Program (STEP). The Internship Program provides students in colleges, trade schools and other qualifying educational institutions with paid opportunities to work in agencies and explore Federal careers while completing their education. The Pathways Recent Graduates Program provides developmental experiences in the Federal Government. It is intended to promote possible careers in the civil service to individuals who, within the previous two years, graduated from qualifying educational institutions with a bachelors, masters, professional, or doctorate degree from qualifying educational institutions.


The NOAA Ernest F. Hollings Scholarship Program

Another form of paid employment (and scholarship money!) is offered through the NOAA Hollings Scholarship. This scholarship program was established in honor of retired South Carolina Sen. Ernest F. Hollings, who promoted oceanic and atmospheric research throughout his career. NOAA solicits applications for this program once per year, usually between September and January. Application materials and the most current deadlines are available from the NOAA Hollings Scholarship webpage.

Scholarship students will be eligible for the following:
  • Up to $8,000 of academic assistance per year for full-time study during their junior and senior years
  • A paid 10-week, full-time internship position during the summer at a NOAA facility ($650 per week)
  • A housing subsidy for scholars who do not reside at home during the summer internship
  • Travel expenses to attend and participate in a mandatory orientation and conference
Applications for the Hollings Scholarship Program are available online, by e-mail at studentscholarshipprograms@noaa.gov, by telephone to 301.713.9437 x150, or by mail to:

NOAA Hollings Scholarship Program
Attn: Student Scholarship Team
1315 East-West Highway, Room 10734
Silver Spring, MD 20910-6223

Note: Although selections for the Hollings Scholarship are not made by the local forecast office, we can serve as a host office for students who have already been accepted into the program and are seeking a summer internship. Staff members occasionally list potential summer internship projects in the SSIO database, and Hollings Scholarship students may also directly contact potential mentors at our office to discuss creating a project based on mutual interests.


Student Volunteer Program (College or Graduate School Students)

This annual volunteer program is open to undergraduate students majoring in meteorology (or any of the physical sciences) or to graduate students with a background in meteorology. You must be an enrolled student over the summer in order to be eligible. The program gives students the opportunity to learn about NWS careers by gaining on-the-job experience. Several former Summer Student Interns have been hired by the NWS. Students can earn academic credit for work accomplished, if approved by their academic institution. Occasionally, students may also volunteer during the academic year.

Students work on a project and spend time shadowing forecasters. Job shadows are also arranged with the Northeast River Forecast Center (located in our facility) and the NWS Center Weather Service Unit (CWSU), which is located at the Boston Air Route Traffic Control Center in Nashua, NH and provides direct weather support to the FAA. Students are also welcome to visit a cooperative weather station, automated airport weather station, river gauge station, and participate in an office outreach event.

Most students who volunteer at WFO Boston are taking coursework in atmospheric science or hydrologic science. However, we also host students with skills in Information Technology, Geographic Information Systems, or any of the physical sciences. We understand that student volunteers have many other commitments, including their academic work and perhaps actual paid employment. For this reason, we are flexible about the specific hours that a student works as a volunteer. We ask that student volunteers average 2-3 days per week.

Applications consist of a letter of interest and resume, which highlights your skills and interests in meteorology. Applicants must be U.S. citizens and are subject to Department of Commerce and NOAA security and background investigations.

Each year, the application period runs from February 1 to March 1. Selections are usually made by April 1. We will post the official announcement on our web site which includes a description of the office projects for that year. For more information, contact Joe DelliCarpini, NWS Boston Science and Operations Officer.


Job Shadows (Middle School, High School, College, or Graduate Students)

Students (especially those in Middle School or High School) who are interested in a career in meteorology are welcome to schedule a Job Shadow. You will spend time sitting aside one of our forecasters and learn how we prepare our forecasts. Most Job Shadows last 1 or 2 hours and there is plenty of time to ask questions. This is a great opportunity to learn more about National Weather Service operations and see if this is something you’d like to pursue as a career!

To schedule a Job Shadow, contact Hayden Frank, NWS Boston Outreach Team Leader.


Tours (Students from Elementary School through College or Graduate School)

All students (and the general public) are welcome to schedule a tour of our office. Tours normally last 30 to 60 minutes and include a brief presentation about what we do (not just forecasting!), a tour of our operations area, and time to ask questions. This is your chance to see our forecasters in action and learn more about what we do!

To schedule a Tour, contact Hayden Frank, NWS Boston Outreach Team Leader.