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Building a Weather-Ready Nation through the Integration of Communication and Education

The National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Hollings Undergraduate Scholarship Program awards students tuition support and a 10-week paid summer internship at any NOAA facility. I am a 2016 Scholar and spent this summer interning at the National Weather Service (NWS) Office of Communications. 

After experiencing extreme flooding in my neighborhood from Hurricane Ivan remnants, hazardous weather fascinated me. I developed a deep passion and goal to educate people about weather hazards, safety, and preparedness. My unique summer experience, supporting NWS external communications efforts, provided me with the opportunity to achieve this goal. 

Utilizing NWS Owlie Skywarn social media, I developed scientific, educational, safety and preparedness content, and provided people the tools and tips to be proactive in weather, water, and climate resiliency. Some other projects included two social media campaigns supporting the field in interactively engaging the public with NOAA/NWS and Weather-Ready Nation (WRN) Ambassador partner resources. To effectively reach and engage all learning styles, I wrote informational and educational articles for Owlie’s Journal, and designed short PSA videos on NWS Owlie Skywarn, radar, and satellite. 

One of the most effective and useful information disseminators is public outreach. My internship encompassed national public communication with one-on-one interactions discussing hazard safety and preparedness with other government agencies and students. I even recruited organizations from my professional network to become WRN Ambassadors in an effort to increase the number of weather, water, and climate resilient communities. 

My summer immersed in the NWS Office of Communications has taught me the importance of communications in a science based service organization. The science is of no value unless it is effectively communicated and people take action against weather hazards affecting their communities. Mentoring students in programs like NOAA Hollings is vital for professional development. This internship was life-changing as it shape my career path.

Author: Amber J. Liggett

Photo: My experiences throughout the summer.

Photo: My experiences throughout the summer.