National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce
Dr. Hattie Wiley

Location: Kansas City, Missouri
Office: Office of the Chief Learning Officer

Job Title: Instructional Systems Specialist
Dr. Hattie Wiley

Educational Background:

  • BA’s in Psychology, Sociology, & Philosophy from University of Missouri-Kansas City
  • MS in Instructional Design & Technology from Emporia State University
  • PhD in Transformative Studies from California Institute of Integral Studies

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

  • After completing my MS in Instructional Design & Technology, I completed some contract work with Wiley Publishing and later gained permanent full time employment with Sprint PCS (which later became Sprint, then Sprint/T-Mobile.) I gained a lot of hands-on corporate and multimedia experience in those days at Sprint and then later with IBM. When I interviewed with the NWS, I shared my background and experiences, emphasizing that I came with all four skill sets: instructional design, multimedia development, technical writing, HTML/web development, as well as some light programming capabilities. I believe it was this diversity of skills which led my selection.

What do you do for the NWS?

  • I lead and create both in-person and online performance development experiences for the NWS and sometimes NOAA such as the NWS New Hire Orientation, the NOAA Tribal Consultation course, and others. I provide coaching, consultation, training, troubleshooting, and guidance for my peers, and I design and develop materials using a variety of different techniques and multimedia software. For example, I designed and delivered a series on Presentation Design to help NWS employees create better visuals.  In addition, I maintain internal and external websites. I was also one of the founding co-chairs for ADAPT, the Accommodating Differently Abled People Team - NOAA's Person with Disabilities (PWD) Employee Resource Group (ERG). 

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

  • In my family, there is a tradition of serving your country. My mother served her country (South Korea) for two years. My father and most of his generation (siblings and cousins) served in the military. My brother and most of our generation (cousins) served. I, however, was not eligible for military service due to a sleep disorder that I have. So, I did not serve. I did keep an eye on openings, however, at the three coolest federal offices… FBI, CIA, and the NWS.

What do you like most about working for the NWS?

  • I love the mission and the people. I mean what is better than “protecting life and property?” 

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

  • My advice is really the same regardless of career choice. Take time and develop your basic skills, well beyond what is “required” at least by public school standards. Be sure you are able to read, write, handle basic math, follow logic, use technology, and locate information. Here’s what many people miss. It doesn’t matter if you do or do not “have” these skills. Get them. Get children’s workbooks (yes even if you are an adult). Play educational games. Use the Internet. Do whatever you need to make sure your skills are honed and sharpened. Then, move on, explore all topics. Undergraduate programs force you to take a menagerie of courses for a reason. So, stay open minded. Once you have explored and decided, watch for job openings and apply as many times as it takes. Don’t get discouraged. Keep knocking if you want a door to open. Along the way, keep returning to the basics and keep seeking and developing more knowledge and skills.  

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

  • Instructional design is actually a very diverse field. Some instructional designers focus primarily on writing courses. Some develop online courses others have written. Some make visuals or training videos. Still, others facilitate courses. Then, there are those like myself who do it all. That type of flexibility is not a requirement; however, a skeleton key is likely to open a few more doors, right? This field is all about your ability to communicate. It is a great career path for someone who enjoys being creative, using technology, facilitating, and/or writing. I recommend courses in project management, composition, graphic design, and instructional design.