Undergraduate Atmospheric Science majors at Cornell spend their summers interning, volunteering, and conducting research with numerous organizations across the country in both the public and private sectors.
Many students take advantage of Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU). These competitive, NSF-sponsored programs offer the opportunity for students to work with mentors at other Universities, and a chance to spend a summer working on a project which can typically be presented the following winter at the annual AMS National Meeting as a poster or talk. In addition, some students find research internships at national labs, and a host of non-REU programs exist at other institutions. Cornell meteorology students have also been extremely competitive at earning Hollings Scholarships, a prestigious award which helps fund undergraduate educations in the Earth sciences and yields a summer-long research internship at a top national lab or agency.
Some organizations and universities that offer summer research opportunities are listed below:
- UCAR’s Significant Opportunities in Atmospheric Research and Science (SOARS)
- Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
- National Weather Center in Norman, Oklahoma
- NASA Student Airborne Research Program (SARP)
- Space Physics Research Laboratory, University of Michigan
- George Melendez Wright Initiative for Young Leaders in Climate Change
- Arecibo Observatory Summer Program in Puerto Rico
- Hobart & William Smith Colleges Summer Research Program
- Oak Ridge National Laboratory
- Center for Multiscale Modeling of Atmospheric Processes at Colorado State University
- Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean at the University of Washington
- Texas A&M University Summer Research Internship
In addition to research internships, many students pursue experiences in the private sector, sometimes not even directly related to meteorology! A popular summer internship choice involves working with a local broadcast meteorologist in a student’s hometown. Some students have also opted to work with private forecasting shops who liaison with the financial or energy industries.
Some companies that may be contacted regarding internship opportunities are listed below:
- Sonoma Technology
- WABC-TV in New York City
- WNBC-TV in New York City
- I.M. Systems Group, Inc.
- Weather 2000
- WSI (Affiliate of The Weather Channel)
- Weather Works, Inc.
- Vaisala, Inc.
- Weather Decision Technologies, Inc.
- Earth Networks, Inc.
National Weather Service
Students volunteer and intern informally with their local National Weather Service weather forecast office (specifically, Albany and Binghamton), and the NWS also offers a paid internship as part of the Pathways Program. These sorts of experiences are great ways to gain an advantage when seeking competitive positions in operational meteorology or forecasting in general.
Some students break the mold entirely and seek internships outside or tangentially-related to meteorology. In the past, students with business minors have spent summers working in the financial sector, while others have worked at other public agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency, pursuing both environmental science and public policy.
Finding Your Own Internship
The EAS faculty keep students informed via e-mail on many opportunities, and upperclassmen in the department share their internship experiences with younger students and can help them find exciting opportunities. In addition, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences strongly supports undergraduate internship searches, and the National Science Foundation maintains a searchable list of REU programs. Cornell students are encouraged to network and independently contact people or organizations for whom they’d like to work – most groups are thrilled to hire Cornell students, even if just for a summer internship!
Below are some links that may be helpful when preparing a résumé or CV.
Pathways To Science
American Meteorological Society Career Center (Links to Intern and Job Boards)
NOAA Student Opportunities
Internship and Employment Opportunities at the National Weather Service (Pathways Program, Student Volunteer Service)
NASA’s One-Stop Shopping Initiative for Internships, Fellowships, and Scholarships
American Meteorological Society Board for Private Sector Meteorologists Mentoring Program
List of REUs assembled by Dr. Clark Evans, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee