National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Summer College Student Volunteer Program

Applications for the Summer 2019 program ARE NOW OPEN. Read below for additional information and to apply!

 

National Weather Service
Baltimore/Washington Weather Forecast Office
Sterling, Virginia

 

The Baltimore/Washington Forecast Office of the National Weather Service accepts applications annually for volunteer college students each summer.  Our competitive program provides students with the experience of performing a mentored meteorological/hydrological research or data project while assisting in operations at a NWS forecast office. Each chosen student will present a briefing of his/her project at the end of the summer term. Please see below for more information about our program.

Students selected for our program will be expected to do the following:
• Volunteer 2-4 days (approximately 16-24 hours) per week on a set schedule
• Work on an assigned research project or data project, mentored by a 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!)
• If appropriate, submit summer research results to the National Weather Association annual conference (to be held September 7-12 at the Von Braun Center in Huntsville, Alabama) and/or other professional conferences. Students are strongly encouraged, but not required, to attend the conference to present their work.  If a student is unable to attend, NWS staff will present their research on their behalf.

Who is eligible to apply?
Students interested in this program must be pursuing a degree in meteorology or a related science (such as climatology, hydrology, geoscience, atmospheric science, etc.), and must be actively enrolled in related classes both the semester before (Spring 2019) and the semester after (Fall 2019) the volunteer period.  This means graduating seniors are only eligible if already 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; many of our past students have gone on to careers in the NWS.

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

What other things might I get to experience?
In addition to the required elements of our volunteer program, you may have the opportunity to:
• Become certified in taking upper-air observations
• 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 field work to see weather equipment in action
...and more!

The NWS Baltimore/Washington 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.  Participation in this program is not a guarantee of future employment with the NWS.

Students who are selected for this program do have the option to continue volunteering during the school year, or for another summer, if desired/interested, but this interest should be stated at the time of selection.

How do I apply?
To apply, students must submit three things by the deadline of Friday, February 1st, 2019:

  • An online application, available here.
  • A one-page resume, either uploaded here or emailed to Jason Elliott at jason.elliott@noaa.gov
  • A transcript (official or unofficial) that includes your fall 2018 coursework, either uploaded here or emailed to Jason Elliott at jason.elliott@noaa.gov

Students may also submit other supporting documentation if they wish, but this is not required.

Some applicants will be asked to participate in a 30-60 minute interview with our office during February 2019.  Applicants will be notified of selection status by March 1st, 2019.


History of our Student Volunteer Program:

Colleges and Universities whose students we have hosted include:
University of Maryland, Penn State, Millersville University, University of Delaware, George Mason University, Ohio State, University of Ohio, Valparaiso, Florida State, Virginia Tech, University of Virginia, University of Miami, Tufts University, California University of Pennsylvania, NC State, and SUNY Oswego. 

Some past student projects include:
(2018) Radar Climatology & Analysis of Near-Storm Environment of Tornadic Vortices in the Baltimore/Washington Region of the Mid-Atlantic United States
(2018) Isabel: 15 Years Later: A Look Back at the Region's Most Recent Significant Tropical Threat

(2017) Observational Analysis of Cold Air Damming in the Mid-Atlantic Region  -won 2nd place among undergraduate posters at the NWA meeting!-
(2017) From Nuisance to Extreme: A Comparison of Flash Flood Atmospheric Ingredients in a Range of Events Across the NWS Baltimore/Washington Area

(2016) Verification of an Experimental Days 4-7 Local Winter Storm Threat Product for 2015-2016 Winter Season
(2016) Utilization of Lightning Event Heights in the Warning Decision Process
(2016) Determining Model Bias During Cold-air Damming in the Mid-Atlantic
(2016) Communicating Probabilistic Forecasts for Wind Speed and Direction at Washington Dulles International Airport
(2016) Small Craft Advisory and Gale Warning Verification in the Chesapeake Bay and Potomac River

(2015) Use of Aviation Model Guidance for Ceilings and Visibilities to Produce Digital Aviation Services at the NWS Baltimore/Washington WFO
(2015) Improvement and Verification of Total Water Level Forecasting in the Maryland Chesapeake Bay and Tidal Potomac River

(2014) Forecasting Surface Wind Gusts in Positively Stable Environments
(2014) Analysis of 2013-14 LWX Winter Probabilistic Snowfall Forecasts

(2013) Gauge Correlations and Tidal Anomaly Indicators in the Chesapeake Bay and Tidal Potomac, Anacostia, and Patuxent Rivers
(2013) Evaluation of Probabilistic Snowfall Amount Forecasts for Decision Support in the Mid-Atlantic Region

Prior Years:
Tornado Climatology for the Sterling, VA Weather Forecast Area
A Study of Small Craft Advisories on the Potomac and Upper Chesapeake Bay
Location of Flash Flood Prone Areas
A Study of a Major Washington DC Sleet Storm
Increased accuracy in predicting severe hail size using Doppler radar
Sociological impacts in the Washington DC Metro Area resulting from the convective winter event of 26 January 2011