National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

The National Weather Service Wilmington, NC Forecast Office accepts applications annually for volunteer college students. Students may request to volunteer during spring, summer, or fall semesters. This program provides students with the experience of performing a mentored meteorological/hydrological research or data project while assisting in operations at an NWS forecast office. Each selected student will present a briefing of his/her project at the end of the volunteer period. Please see below for more information about our program.


Students selected for our program are expected to do the following:


  • Volunteer 2-4 days (12-24 hours) per week at minimum, combination of operational volunteering, training, and project work, on an agreed to schedule

  • Work on an assigned research project or data project, mentored by an NWS meteorologist

  • Become familiar with NWS operations, policies and procedures, software and computer systems, and hydrological/meteorological products by working alongside NWS meteorologists on routine shifts

    • There will be a required minimum number of these shifts, but the maximum number is up to you!

  • Complete a required list of training modules for additional insight into the NWS organization and programs


Who is eligible to apply?


Students interested in this program must be U.S. Citizens pursuing a degree in meteorology or a related science (such as climatology, hydrology, geoscience, atmospheric science, mathematics, etc.), and must be a full-time student actively enrolled in related classes both the semester before and the semester after the volunteer period. What this means is graduating seniors are only eligible (for the summer period) if already accepted to/enrolled in graduate school in meteorology or a related field the following fall. Students who already have an active interest in a future career with the NWS are especially encouraged to apply; however, participation in this program is not a guarantee of future employment with the NWS.

Students with additional skill sets such as GIS, emergency management, videography, communications, engineering, etc. are highly encouraged to apply as long as the degree requirements above are met.


What other things might one get to experience?


In addition to the required elements of our volunteer program, you may have the opportunity to:

  • Join NWS meteorologists in post-event severe weather analysis including storm surveys

  • Assist NWS meteorologists in obtaining severe storm reports during real-time operations

  • Join NWS meteorologists at outreach events or in observational fieldwork to see weather equipment in action, and more!


The NWS Wilmington Student Volunteer Program is not a paid program; however, it may be possible for students to earn class credit. This can be determined by the student’s advisor and/or department head.

Students selected for this program do have the option to continue volunteering beyond the original program period, if eligible and interested.


Application Deadlines


To allow time for application review and required security checks, please submit applications by the following dates:

  • Spring Semester - November 1st

  • Summer Semester - April 1st

  • Fall Semester - July 1st


How do I apply?


To submit an application, fill out our College Student Volunteer Application. Send the completed application and additional required items (listed on the application) to Donald Hawkins at


Are there paid opportunities available?

The National Weather Service as an agency does offer paid internship positions; however, none of these have been assigned to this office at this time.


Past Student Volunteer Projects


2023: Develop a climatology of MVFR, IFR, and LIFR visibilities at local TAF sites

2023: Investigate analog events for storm surge levels at local beaches and Downtown Wilmington

2023: Historical Review of River Levels and Coastal Flooding on the Cape Fear River near Downtown Wilmington, NC

2022: Past Erosion/Ocean Overwash Events at Local Beaches - Anna Miller (UNCW)




Contact Donald Hawkins (