National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce
Carissa Klemmer
Carissa Klemmer

Location: College Park, Md
National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP)
Job Title: Meteorologist
Carissa Klemmer


My name is Carissa Klemmer, and I was born and raised in Sonoma County, California. I grew up loving the weather, which is strange since California doesn't have real weather. I used to take pictures of white fluffy cumulus clouds and dream they were thunderstorms. As a teenager I sent in a letter to the local WFO and got a pamphlet back that taught me how to be a weather spotter. I remember one night calling into the local office and reporting a lightning strike, I was so excited to talk to a real meteorologist. I feel like I was lucky, I knew for as long as I can remember I wanted to be in weather and I had wonderful family support of that goal. I made that dream into a reality by getting accepted into Penn State, the top meteorology school, ask anyone from PSU. I realized pretty quick that my passion didn't extend into forecasting. As any meteorologist will tell you, the first question a stranger asks when finding out your occupation is, "are you on TV"? I found great enjoyment supporting weather through computer science.


After graduation I applied across the country for jobs. That was hard. I think particularly within the STEM field most of us are not able to find jobs in our home towns, let alone our home state. If you weren't willing to move for a job, you probably ended up as a realtor. And that is the most honest advice I give to those interested in our field. Out of college I was offered my first job working for the department of meteorology within the Army Test and Evaluation Command in Dugway, Utah. I supported the proving ground for 5 years, growing my skills in database and computer systems support.

In 2011 I applied to a job within NCEPs Central Operations branch under the dataflow team in College Park, MD. Pretty much my dream job. I was thrilled that they selected me, and it was then I started my career for the NWS.

Being a female within my organization is empowering. I have a female boss and have watched a number of other deserving woman move up in the ranks, myself included. I enjoy the highs and lows of working in operations within NCEP. My boss once said that it's easy to lose sight of how important our job is when everything is going good. But you gain that perspective back as soon as you have a bad day and the Washington Post writes about it. And that sums up most of the jobs in the weather service pretty well. My advice for woman looking to enter in this field, let your passion and drive be visible and don't be afraid to speak up. It has worked out well for me so far!