National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce
Alexandra Kent

Location: Grand Forks, North Dakota
WFO Eastern North Dakota (FGF)
Job Title: Meteorologist

Educational Background

  • I graduated from Mississippi State University in 2019 with my B.S. in Geosciences - Operational Meteorology with a Broadcast Emphasis. I plan to pursue my masters degree soon as well.

Describe the career path that led you to your current job with the National Weather Service.

  • During my time at Mississippi State, I volunteered on the weekends at WFO Memphis, TN. I always looked up to the NWS as a future for me, and my volunteer time just confirmed it for me! In my senior year, I started my career as a Broadcast Meteorologist in the Mississippi Delta on the weekend. Lots of long drives, and early wake-up calls! I continued as a Weekend Meteorologist/Multimedia Journalist in Texas after graduating. Under the encouragement of a mentor and retired career NWS Employee, I applied for the NWS once my time in TV came to an end. The rest is history!

What do you do for the NWS?

  • I provide weather forecasts for the many populations we serve, including the public, emergency managers, and different stakeholders. I also issue warnings for severe weather impacting Eastern North Dakota and Northwestern Minnesota including tornadoes, severe thunderstorms, flash flooding, and blizzards. 
    Outside of operations, I interact with the public and our partners by providing Impact based Decision Support Services (IDSS), various outreach activities, and spotter talks! I’m also the newsletter editor for ADAPT, which is our Persons with Disabilities Employee Resource Group (ERG). 

What was the most interesting, exciting, or impactful weather/water event you experienced while working for the NWS and why does it stand out?

  • The most recent winter, 2021 - 2022, was an impactful winter here in eastern North Dakota and northwestern Minnesota. We had a large number of blizzard events, and we issued our first Snow Squall Warning in the history of the office. I remember creating a graphic on the day shift messaging the potential for snow squalls, and educating people who follow our social media what exactly that is and means. It was unbelievable to see it all pan out, and see people recognize what a snow squall is!

What made you decide to pursue a career with the NWS?

  • I wanted to serve the public, and help educate people on weather and how to stay safe in severe/winter weather. The NWS is a prestigious organization that gives me the ability to serve and provide the public, emergency managers, and other stakeholders with the best possible weather information.

What do you like most about working for the NWS?

  • I love the people I work with on a daily basis, and the fact that there’s never a boring day here in the Red River Valley! Being able to encourage diversity and inclusion in the NWS, with the help of ADAPT, is also a great joy of mine.

What advice do you have for someone interested in a career with the NWS?

  • Get involved and network! Volunteering is great for networking. Don’t get discouraged if life takes you in a different direction at first, those experiences will provide you with valuable skills you can use to make the NWS a greater organization!

What training or coursework would you recommend to someone interested in following your career path?

  • No one loves it (ok, I do a bit), but math is a necessity. Science courses are essential as well. I’d recommend taking some media classes: Public Speaking, and Journalism, to help with communication. We communicate with the public, other meteorologists, even reporters on a daily basis. You get some media training with the NWS, but having that extra knowledge under your belt in this job helps a lot!