National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce
Stephanie Dunten

Location: Taunton, MA
Boston, MA WFO
Job Title: Meteorologist
Stephanie Dunten
Stephanie Dunten
Stephanie Dunten

Educational Background:

  • Bachelor's Degree in Meteorology at Valparaiso University

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

  • I knew early on that metrology was my calling, so I began my career path as a volunteer at the Louisville, KY WFO. As a volunteer I worked 40 hours a week during the summer without pay. My dedication paid off and I was fortunate to receive a SCEP position (now Pathway) and worked at the Northern Indiana and Chicago WFO while still in college. After school, I worked out of the Wichita, KS WFO and then was promoted to general forecast to the Boston office.

What do you do for the NWS?

  • I am currently a general forecaster at the Boston WFO. Here I prepare forecasts out to 7 days and also issue watches, warning and advisories for this busy metro, aviation and marine region. The office is also heavily involved in supporting local and state emergency management. Several events that I have been onsite to provide weather information include the Boston Marathon and the Boston Pops 4th of July spectacular.

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

  • April 15th 2013 is a day I personally will never forget. I was the on-site meteorologist at the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) for the Boston Marathon. Unfortunately, a terrorist attack occurred near the finish line when two bombs exploded. Not knowing a lot of details, I immediately ran the HYSPLIT model and issued a spot forecast in the event that dirty bombs were used. I then quickly switched gears to help MEMA by following their informational feeds for them.

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

  • I knew I wanted to be a meteorologist since I was 6 years old. From there is was all about finding what work best for me. After volunteering at the Louisville, KY WFO the Warning Coordination Meteorologist position was right up my alley and it is something I am setting my sights on in the future.

What do you like most about working for the NWS?

  • My job literally changes from day to day. One day I am in the office forecasting, and the next I am out giving a talk or providing weather support at an event. It keeps me on my toes and that is what I enjoy most about it.

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

  • Set yourself apart. You need to think outside the box on how you are going to rise to the top compared to other applicants. Also be willing to move around. This job has allowed me to work with a variety of customers (farmers to metropolitans), landscapes (Flat plains to Ocean), and weather phenomena (Tornadoes, Hurricanes and Nor'easters). Be willing to keep learning.

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

  • Aside from science and math, I recommend communication classes. In this job, you have to find a way to communicate upcoming hazards to the public and your partners. GIS and computer science are also great classes to take for the NWS.