What inspired me to become a meteorologist?20 Oct , 2011 | 6
When we were kids, most of us had dreams about growing up to be something cool. Maybe a firefighter or doctor or astronaut or policeman…my dream since I was 12 years old was to become a meteorologist. I have always been fascinated with how quickly the weather changes….even living in perceived “Sunny California” we have so many microclimates…why is it so chilly in San Francisco yet so warm in Sacramento? It peaked my curiosity and inspired me to become a meteorologist. I saw my local weatherman on TV to understand the reasons of why these weather patterns existed…and since then I was hooked. Weather seemed so cool and TV weather looked like such a fun job.
In 8th grade, I had a career interview and my task was to interview a professional in a field you are interested in. I decided to call the chief meteorologist of CBS in San Francisco. His name was Brian Sussman. He graciously accepted my request and my friend drove me to the CBS studios. I conducted the interview, got a tour of the station, met a lot of the anchors, and afterwards felt like I was on cloud nine (no pun intended).
In 10th grade, I had the same career interview assignment. I decided to interview my favorite TV chief meteorologist: Fox’s Bill Martin. Bill Martin was awesome…had a very “nice guy” and genuine feel to him. After my interview, he gave me tips on how to start practicing for TV. I remember to this day…he said,
“Record yourself talking to the camera and use your sliding door closet as the “green screen. Keep doing it over and over until you feel comfortable.”
(Learn more about my first experience with a real “green screen” here: www.freshaj.com/doughnuts-are-a-control-rooms-best-friend)
Then, he said to me,
“Look, if you’re interested in this business, I’d love to help you get started. If you keep up your interest, I’ll offer you an internship to work with me personally at the end of your senior year of high school”
I was floored! Bill Martin became my personal hero overnight. I listened to every word he said. I started making tapes of myself everyday at home after high school. I watched his forecasts every evening to learn about his delivery, communication strategies, and the weather patterns itself.
Over the next few years of high school, I kept in touch with Bill Martin every few months to update him of my progress. When I had to choose between attending UC Davis and UC Berkeley, I decided to call him to give me some input since he attended UC Berkeley himself. He advised me to go to UC Davis because they had an Atmospheric Science program. Day by day, he started to become my mentor.
Once I got accepted into the Atmospheric Science program at UC Davis, I called Bill and said,
“I’m ready to start your internship this summer”.
What’s funny is he totally forgot he offered the internship! I found out later from Bill (being the nice guy that he is) that he usually says this “internship line” to many fellow students who meet with him. But he says nobody ever took the time and energy to follow up on it.
He said to me, “You’re such a persistent young guy and I love your drive and passion….let’s get started.” It changed my life forever.