National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce
Treena Jensen
Treena Jensen

Location: Portland, OR
Portland Weather Forecast Office (WFO)
Job Title: Lead Forecaster

I got into Meteorology because of my love for Math and Physics, and my awestruck wonder of the natural world. I did not start my education loving Math and struggled with Algebra in 7th and 8th Grade. Then in 9th grade, I had a wonderful math teacher who helped me see the fun in math, and ignited my math brain. I quickly excelled mathematically, such that I took a College Calculus class at the age of 16 at the local Community College. Can you believe that the teacher of that college Calculus class was the husband of the teacher that turned me on to math in high school? Even more shocking was when 10 or so years later, while I was studying Meteorology at the University of Hawaii, I learned that one of the PHD Meteorology students there was the son of those two teachers.

When I was young, I always felt encouraged at home and at school to pursue a STEM career. Two popular movies when I was a teen, Contact and Twister, had female lead scientists as the main characters, and it never really dawned on me that science was a rare field for women. My physics, math, and meteorology classes in college were likely more dominated by males, but it was not something that was obvious to me. The gender disparity in Meteorology did not become noticeable to me until I entered the workforce, and began my career with the National Weather Service 15 years ago.

I have since become involved with many outreach and educational activities encouraging the young to pursue their STEM interests. My success in Meteorology has been due to the encouragement from teachers and my parents, and the fact that I never felt it was abnormal for me, as a female, to pursue a career in science. I like to think that the outreach activities I participate in exposes youth and their parents to female scientists, such that their mental image of scientists includes women.

What I love best about working for the National Weather Service is the people. The NWS has a way of hiring inspiring and dedicated people that further inspire me to be more dedicated and inspiring.  As scientists like to say, it is a “positive feedback loop”.  Most meteorologists that I work with are driven by the National Weather Service’s mission to protect life and property. It is the commitment to this public service that creates a supportive working environment, and a unique community that I am proud to be a part of.