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The National Weather Service in Louisville, KY has a long and successful track record with student opportunities and engagements. Students are the future of the NWS, and we want to help students learn about the agency and gain invaluable experiences before graduating!


Please view the tabs below to learn about all of the student opportunities that are available. 




Job Shadow


The NWS Louisville Job Shadow Program is the most basic opportunity available to students. The Job Shadow Program is intended for high school or undergraduate students interested in meteorology, atmospheric sciences, hydrology, climatology, with an emphasis on the operational meteorology environment as a career option. Students will spend several hours with a NWS Louisville meteorologist observing the forecast process, daily shift duties, and discussing NWS career opportunities. Parents or guardians are welcome to join their student (encouraged for pre-college students). There are two levels of the Job Shadow Program. 




Level 1

This level is intended for pre-college students who are interested in meteorology, atmospheric sciences, hydrology, or climatology. Students 10 years of age or older are welcome, but parents or guardians are required to join their student if under 16 years of age. Parents or guardians are encouraged but not required to join their student on a Job Shadow if between the ages of 16-17. 


This level of the Job Shadow Program is intended to give students a basic understanding of the job responsibilities of an NWS meteorologist, while allowing them time to ask questions and discuss career opportunities with a current professional. Visits to NWS Louisville include a tour of the office and approximately 1-2 hours with an NWS meteorologist. Please be aware that short-notice rescheduling may occur due to impactful weather events. 


Level 2 

This level is intended for college students who are either enrolled in or considering a major in meteorology, atmospheric science, hydrology, climatology, or engineering. This opportunity involves a tour of our office, and approximately 2-4 hours shadowing an NWS meteorologist, getting a more in-depth view of our job responsibilities and the forecast process.


There will also be time for the student to discuss future career options, and ask any questions they may have. Time for a job shadow are flexible, but we generally recommend a period during the late morning to early afternoon to coincide with the issuance of our daily forecast package. Please be aware that short-notice rescheduling may occur due to impactful weather events. 



Students interested in a Job Shadow Opportunity should contact the office at We  accept Job Shadow inquiries year-round!

Please provide some basic information, such as student age, grade/year in school, what school you attend, and why you are interested in shadowing someone at NWS Louisville. 


Volunteer Internships


We are no longer accepting 2024 Student Volunteer Applications


The Student Volunteer Program at the National Weather Service (NWS) in Louisville is a step above the Job Shadow Program, offering undergraduate and graduate students the opportunity to spend time in the NWS office throughout the summer or fall semester. The internship is fully volunteer (non-paid), and gives the students opportunities to work with NWS Louisville meteorologists, apply what they have learned in the classroom to a research project, and gain invaluable experiences in an operational meteorology environment. 


The Student Volunteer Program at NWS Louisville is competitive, and provides students with mentoring, networking, and familiarization trips and sessions. Student volunteer positions are best suited for sophomore-senior undergraduates or graduate level students majoring in meteorology, atmospheric science, hydrology, climatology, or engineering. 





  • Must be a United States Citizen

  • Declared major in Meteorology, Atmospheric Sciences, Hydrology, Climatology, or Engineering

  • Undergraduate student going into sophomore, junior, or senior year

    • ​Senior students graduating must show proof of enrollment into graduate program

  • Must have completed an Introductory Meteorology Course

  • Be able to provide fingerprints and pass a background security investigation


Application Process


Students need to submit a resume, unofficial transcript, and write a short essay when completing the application.


Once the deadline for applications has passed, our Student Program Team will review all submitted applications. Due to the competitive nature of our Student Volunteer Program, we will conduct informal interviews before making selections. Students will be updated on the status of their application throughout the interview/selection process. 


If you are selected for a Volunteer Position, you will need to submit fingerprints and pass a background security investigation. This is required for all volunteers or potential employees at federal agencies, and can take 6-8 weeks. Once the background check is complete, we will contact the student to discuss a start date. 


Expectations and Duties

Volunteer Hours: Students should expect to spend at least 8 hours per week volunteering at NWS Louisville. However, students are welcome to volunteer more than that if they wish to do so. 


Research Project: Student projects are generally focused on a student's area of interests with the goal of providing a tangible benefit to the office. An opportunity will be provided at the end of the volunteer period for students to present their research findings to the NWS Louisville staff. 




Additional Expectations and Opportunities

  • Students will become familiar with NWS operations, policies and procedures, software and computer systems, and hydrological/meteorological products

  • Students may assist meteorologists during severe weather operations

  • Students may join NWS staff for outreach events, partner meetings, and familiarization trips

  • Opportunities to participate in post-event damage surveys may occur

  • Put your radar skills to the test on our Weather Event Simulator (Issue NWS Warnings yourself!)

  • Students may be able to get college credit for their volunteer hours




Paid Opportunities


Paid internship positions within the National Weather Service can be a challenge to find and are very competitive. They are not offered directly by the local NWS offices (though NWS Louisville routinely host paid interns), but rather determined at the regional and national level. It is highly recommended that anyone seeking a career with the NWS to consider applying for these paid positions when they become available. 




Pathways Program

This Program is designed to provide students enrolled in a wide variety of educational institutions with opportunities to work in agencies and explore Federal careers while still in school and while getting paid for the work performed. Students who successfully complete the program may be eligible for conversion to a permanent job in the Federal Government.

Current undergraduate or graduate students of appropriate majors who are US Citizens are eligible to apply. The Pathways Program is administered by each hiring agency at a national or regional level. Agencies may hire interns on a temporary basis for up to one year for an initial period, or for an indefinite period, to complete the educational requirement. Intern's job will be related to the Intern's academic career goals or field of study, and may work in a part-time or full-time capacity. 

To be eligible for conversion to permanent employment within the Federal Government, Interns must complete at least 640 hours of work experience acquired through the Pathways Program, successfully complete their degree, and meet the qualification standards of the agency and the position to which the Intern will be converted to. 

Students interested in Pathways must apply through

Application period: Closed for 2023

For more information, visit USAJobs Help Desk or OPM



Ernest F. Hollings Scholarship Program

The Hollings Scholarship Program provides successful undergraduate applicants with awards that include academic assistance (up to $9,500 per year) for two years of full-time study and a 10-week, full-time paid ($700/week) internship at a NOAA facility during the summer.

The internship between the first and second years of the award provides the scholars with hands-on, practical experience in NOAA-related science, research, technology, policy, management, and education activities. Awards also include travel funds to attend a mandatory NOAA Scholarship Program orientation and the annual Science & Education Symposium, scientific conferences where students present their research, and a housing subsidy for scholars who do not reside at home during the summer internship.

Am I Eligible to Apply?

Application period: September through January

For more information, visit



William M. Lapenta NOAA Student Internship Program 

NOAA is offering paid summer internships targeted towards current 2nd and 3rd-year undergraduate and enrolled graduate students to work in areas that will provide robust research and/or operational experience that will prepare the student for further study in NOAA fields, for application to fellowships or for the NOAA-mission workforce. In addition to their project, participants attend lectures, participate in workshops to build skills and knowledge relevant to the job, and then present their projects in both written and oral formats. The Internship Program offers a $6,000 stipend, furnished housing, travel allowance, and payment of abstract fees for AMS or AGU conference. 

Am I Eligible? 

Application period: October through early January

For more information, visit



José E. Serrano Educational Partnership Program With Minority Serving Institutions (EPP/MSI)

The EPP/MSI program awards funding to minority serving institutions and students attending MSIs through national competitions. Since its establishment in 2000, the program has worked collaboratively with MSI faculty and staff to increase the opportunities for education, training, and research in NOAA-mission disciplines, particularly for participants from traditionally underrepresented minority communities in NOAA-mission disciplines. The successful history of the program demonstrates the value of collaboration between NOAA and MSI academic partners. In 2019, Congress renamed the program the José E. Serrano Educational Partnership Program with Minority Serving Institutions in Congressman Serrano’s honor, who took special interest in the EPP/MSI.

Benefits of the program provide EPP/MSI scholars with scholarships up to $45,000, which includes housing allowances, internship stipends for two experiences, allowable travel expenses of the two year program, and costs associated with attendance at program-approved conferences or workshops. 

Am I Eligible? 

Application period: September through January

For more information, visit


Student Program Statistics


Since 2005, the NWS Louisville Student Program has hosted 74 students through volunteer internships, Pathways Positions (formerly STEP and SCEP), and Hollings Scholars. Our former students have grown personally and professionally since their time here, and now have careers scattered all across the United States. 


The charts provided below visualize data from 1995 and 2005-2023 (there is missing/unknown data from 1996-2004). From this time period, our former and current student demographic (76 total students) is comprised of 51% male and 49% female. Click on the images below to magnify. 




Number of students who intern at NWS Louisville can vary from year to year, but our office can become filled with students during the summer months if we are hosting volunteers, Pathways, and Hollings at the same time! Majority of our students come from Western Kentucky University or University of Louisville, but other meteorology schools in the region (Purdue, Ball State, and Valparaiso) have increased their student involvement in our student program. The vast majority to student positions have been volunteers, mainly because they are more informal and on a local basis (Pathways and Hollings are decided on the national and regional levels)




Of the 57 former volunteer students at LMK, 33 (58%) are currently working in the weather industry. 

5 of 8 (63%) former Hollings Students are in the weather industry today.

8 of 11 (73%) of former Pathways Students are in the weather industry today.




46 of 76 former students (60.5%) currently work in the weather industry. The majority of these 46 individuals (54%) currently work in the National Weather Service. 




Of the 25 former students now in the NWS, 14 (56%) are male, and 11 (44%) are female. 

Of the 6 former students now in Broadcast, 4 (66%) are male, and 2 (33%) are female. 





Course Requirements


In order to be qualified for employment as a Federal Government Meteorologist (Job Series 1340), such as in the National Weather Service, students/applicants must meet the basic requirements. You can view current Federal Government Meteorologist openings by going to and searching for either "1340" or "Meteorologist".


Basic Requirements:​

A. Degree: meteorology, atmospheric science, or other natural science major that included:

  1. At least 24 semester hours of credit in meteorology/atmospheric science including a minimum of:​​

    • ​Six semester hours of atmospheric dynamics and thermodynamics​

    • Six semester hours of analysis and prediction of weather systems (synoptic/mesoscale)

    • Three semester hours of physical meteorology; and

    • Two semester hours of remote sensing of the atmosphere and/or instrumentation

  2. ​Six semester hours of physics, with at least one course that includes laboratory sessions

  3. ​Three semester hours of ordinary differential equations

  4. At least nine semester hours of course work appropriate for a physical science major in any combination of three or more of the following: physical hydrology, statistics, chemistry, physical oceanography, physical climatology, radiative transfer, aeronomy, advanced thermodynamics, advanced electricity and magnetism, light and optics, and computer science. 

*There is prerequisite or corequisite of calculus work in atmospheric dynamics and thermodynamics, physics, and differential equations. Calculus courses must be appropriate for a physical science major. 

------------------------------------------------------------ or --------------------------------------------------------------

B. Combination of education and experience -- course work as shown in A above, plus appropriate experience or additional education.   


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