National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce
Sarah Rogowski
Sarah Rogowski

Location: Salt Lake City, UT
NWS Center Weather Service Unit in Salt Lake City
Job Title: Aviation Meteorologist

Background & Current Work:

My name is Sarah Allen Rogowski and I grew up in Sulphur, Louisiana. I earned my degree in Atmospheric Science from the University of Louisiana at Monroe in 2004. I am currently an Aviation Meteorologist at the NWS Center Weather Service Unit in Salt Lake City, UT.

How did I get here? I saw the movie Twister and thought it was fun, but I didn’t want to be the storm chaser. I wanted to be the person behind the scenes, back in the office with lots of colorful computer monitors. My parents thought I wanted to be a storm chaser, so encouraged me to volunteer/internship at the local TV station and NWS office. That seemed to click!

My mom’s a retired music teacher and my dad’s an engineer, so math, science and the arts were equally important parts of daily life. I sang in choir and took Physics and Calculus. Some of my earliest memories involve weather, from calling my grandparents down the street with the outside thermometer to see if it was cold enough for snow (being a south Louisiana girl, I saw snow twice before college), to wanting to watch the lightning storm out of the preschool classroom window while the other kids were crying, to making hurricane evacuation boxes each summer. We had a bulletin board with a painted map with latitude and longitude and tracked Atlantic & Gulf of Mexico hurricanes, placing ice cream bets on our own landfall forecasts. That evolved into choosing a major and then picking a college.

In college, I was 1 of 2 women in my graduating class of 8. There was institutional encouragement from professors and the administration to increase the number of women in STEM through additional scholarships, but I was still outnumbered. I was told by some male classmates that I only got the grades I got because I was a girl - not because I studied and worked hard and went to class. I was told during my internships that this was a harder field for women than men and so not as many women were hired - I wouldn’t get a job. But for every negative comment, there were men and women there to encourage me, mentor me, and teach me. They were stronger and louder than the negative voices. As soon as someone tells me I can’t do something, or I don’t really “count”, I work to prove them wrong (thanks, mom and dad, for the stubborn gene).

I began volunteering and eventually earned a paid internship at the NWS office in Lake Charles, LA in 1998. My first “official” job after college was as a Meteorologist Intern at NWS Jackson, MS, in 2004. I then moved in January 2005 to the NWS Baltimore/Washington office - my dream location. I met and married my husband at that office and he applied for a promotion in Salt Lake City he swore he wouldn’t get. In December 2008, we moved to the side of a mountain in Utah during the middle of winter, and I began my new career at the nearby Center Weather Service Unit.

The best thing about working with the NWS is that I’ve been able to pursue my interests as they have developed. I’m doing more than I even knew existed - outreach, education, teaching, social media - and enjoying it! It is truly rewarding to immediately see the impacts of your work. I work with air traffic controllers (another male-dominated field) by preparing them for daily weather impacts. I also provide weather information to pilots to help them make informed decisions with respect to aviation weather. I’ve given information to controllers who have relayed it to pilots in trouble, helping them land safely. Stressful but rewarding days for sure.


For decades, women have filled certain vitally important but expected roles in society. And each year, each decade, women are pursuing roles that our parents and grandparents never dreamed possible. More importantly, we are establishing a choice in career path and able to pursue our interests in any career! The STEM field needs more intelligent, motivated and curious people. We need more of these people to pursue their passions and bring their perspectives to strengthen the field. The NWS is changing - we are doing more and doing it differently than before. We need variety in our workforce so that everyone’s strengths are utilized and we continue to be able to do better work.

My advice for young women exploring an interest in STEM is to TRY it! Talk to women in various STEM fields, volunteer and intern, take an extra even unrelated class, even go to a conference. See for yourself what you like and, just as important, what you don’t like. Be open to opportunities that come along and pursue what interests YOU. You learn from every experience, good and bad. Also, continue with non-STEM activities that you enjoy! Be as well-rounded as you can be and focus on what you enjoy.

TIme Outside of Work?

My time outside of work is busy - I’m a mom of a toddler! So I am often playing with cars (and all things that go), watching dinosaurs and trains on TV, and reading books about cars and trains and dinosaurs. (Sensing a theme there?) My husband is also a meteorologist, but there is little to no weather talk at home. However, my son LOVES to watch the weather on the evening news and look for snow and snow plows. I’m on the board of directors at my son’s daycare. I’m also an adjunct professor at Westminster College teaching Aviation Meteorology to student pilots. I’m still working the non-STEM part of my brain with crafts and home organization as well as Pinterest projects (yep, one of those moms, but I enjoy it).

For a woman considering a STEM career, be prepared for the negative voices, the comments, and the lack of confidence. But at the same time, listen for the positive. Look for the support, either in family or the workplace. Use both for sources of strength and determination. While it’s not the easiest field you can enter, it is certainly rewarding.