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ECU Honors College Alumnus Lands Job with National Weather Service
This September, East Carolina University Honors College alumnus Thomas Vaughan ’15 will join the National Weather Service in Wichita, Kan. as one of 31 new hires by the federal agency that is responsible for providing weather forecasts, warnings of hazardous weather, and other weather-related products across the country.
Vaughan, who is nearly complete with his Masters in Meteorology from Florida State University, said he had his choice of going to the National Weather Service offices in Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado and Michigan. Vaughan ultimately chose Wichita to be close to the action.
“I picked Wichita because I knew I would get a lot of severe weather experience there,” Vaughan said. “I knew Wichita would be more beneficial in the long run to my career because they have severe weather all the time, and I’ll get to experience all four seasons.”
The National Weather Service announces job vacancies in rounds, and the round Vaughan was hired in had 31 job vacancies across the country. For those 31 vacancies, Vaughan said the NWS received more than 850 applications. After not being referred to the final pool of applicants the first time he applied, Vaughan said he was relieved to have his choice of four stations this time.
“It Is pretty competitive to get into and I knew I would have better chance to get in with a masters, so that is why I went to Florida State [University],” he said. “This is something I have been wanting to do for a long time.”
While the official title for Vaughan’s position is Meteorologist Intern, it is the entry level staff position for the NWS. In his first couple years, Vaughan said he will be learning how to complete the NWS forecasts, train on the NWS computer systems and radar, launch weather balloons, and help manage his office’s social media accounts.
After his time as a Meteorologist Intern, Vaughan hopes to move up to through the ranks of the NWS and eventually make it back to the NWS station in Honolulu, Hawaii where he completed a summer internship while at ECU. Other “dream” stations for Vaughan include Guam, or one of the stations in Florida.
“I’d say my dream job would be to be the Meteorologist in Charge at one of those stations, but that is a long time away,” he said, laughing.
For now, Vaughan is focusing on defending his master’s thesis on historical rainfall variability in the Sahel and Guinea coasts of Africa, and moving to Kansas in September to begin working for the NWS.
By Cole Dittmer
ECU News Services
I’ve been in Williamsport, PA since Memorial Day and I just finished the third week of my internship at Little League. I have met so many great people up here and I am excited for what the next two months have in store! I am learning so much and experiencing even more. It is amazing to see behind the scenes of a place that I’ve held in such high esteem my entire life.
I am staying in an apartment less than half a mile away from the Little League International complex at some older apartments set beside a pretty lake. The weather here has been pretty great and I’m looking forward to exploring the mountains around here, and have enjoyed running along the extensive river walk they have along the Susquehanna River. I am rooming with a fellow intern at Little League, Stephanie. There are four of us interns and we are all girls! We share an office on the bottom floor overlooking part of the complex. I am the Marketing Intern and there is a Web Development Intern, Digital Media Intern, and Media Relations Intern as well.
Every day we are given an hour for lunch but receive free lunches in the cafeteria in the International Grove. For those of you who don’t know, this is the gated area on the complex that houses all of the players when they come here. It has a really neat rec room as well as its own pool. During “The Series”, this area is always completely locked down to all outsiders for security reasons so I find it very cool to be able to walk through those gates every day on the way to lunch. Because we have lunch so close to our office, there is normally time after eating for some exploring around the complex. I have to pinch myself to remind myself that this is real sometimes.
This week was very exciting as we hosted the Little League Luncheon. There were all sorts of supporters of Little League in attendance as well as Frank Coonelly, the president of the Pittsburgh Pirates Major League Baseball team. I enjoyed listening to him speak about the Little League Classic between the Pirates and the Cardinals. It is being held here in Williamsport at Historic Bowman Field on Sunday Night Baseball on Aug. 20, during the Little League World Series (Aug. 17-27), and all of the World Series participants and their families will be attending. There is a ton of excitement around this event and I’m sure it will be memorable. During the luncheon, the four interns were all allowed to place the names of the regions and countries on the 2017 World Series bracket as their spots were randomly drawn. It was an awesome experience that I’ll remember for a long time.
Next week, camps will begin here and I’m sure that will add even more excitement and activity in the coming weeks leading up to the World Series. I can’t even begin to describe how excited I am to work this event. On the weekends, I have been hanging out with my roommate, Stephanie, and another intern Olivia. Olivia goes to school at a small college here in town so last Sunday she took me to her church and I met some of her friends there. It was great! I am hoping to make some weekend trips to Hershey, Pittsburgh, and possibly Philadelphia before the end of the summer. It’s wonderful getting the chance to explore a different part of the country.
I do miss home a bit though. Today (June 17) was the first day of playoffs for Greenville Little Leagues and I have learned that I hate to miss big events such as this. However, I know that I’m right where I need to be. Thanks for all the support everyone has shown me leading up to this summer. I’m having the time of my life and can’t wait to give you guys even more exciting updates in the future!
Ashley is a rising junior in the Honors College majoring in Sports Studies and is a member of the ECU Softball team.