A consistent aspect of many peoples’ morning routines is checking the daily weather. Sure, there are weather apps, but what about a brief, detailed and accurate weather report every morning accessible through one’s phone via Twitter? That’s exactly what UNC Charlotte’s Meteorology students provide everyday in their very own broadcast center.
The broadcast studio was created by Danielle Miller, a recent UNC Charlotte graduate, in partnership with the Levine Scholars Program (LSP), using a civic engagement grant. Scholars receive can apply for this grant to work on a project with a nonprofit in the Charlotte area.
“I recognized the need within the meteorology department for a space for students to learn how to present their forecasts and and was able to create what you see today,” Miller said. “The process was lengthy and included completing a grant application that had to be approved both by the Department of Geography and Earth Sciences as well as LSP.”
Miller began planning the space and talking with department faculty and staff in the fall of 2016. In the fall of 2017, the grant was approved and by spring of 2018, Miller was able to purchase the equipment needed and many students and friends helped set up the studio. They painted, installed the equipment, and began learning how all of the new technology worked together.
Finally, in the fall of 2018, the students were able to begin producing daily weather forecasts and videos. Practically everything in the broadcast center is executed by the students themselves.
“These forecasts are created by meteorology students and the videos are shot, edited, presented and produced by students as well,” said Miller. “ I oversaw much of the operations of the studio last year.”
Forecasts are provided either the night before or the morning of every day. The students research and analyze data, present it and then upload the forecast.
“Something that I’ve learned by using the studio is learning what information is useful to present and what is not,” sophomore meteorology student Cristian Gonzalez said. “I’ve learned to carefully research and analyze data so I can figure out what to filter and what information is most important.”
The studio is used for daily forecasts which are posted primarily on Twitter, but also Facebook and Instagram. The space is also used by students to create videos and practice for other classes like weather communications, which is offered in the spring.
On Twitter, there is an approximate average of 300-400 views of the broadcasts each day. Professional meteorologists follow the Twitter page.
“I’ve been told by real meteorologists that they’ve seen me on the broadcasts which is really neat,” Gonzalez said. “I think having people in the field who are more experienced follow us on Twitter helps get the word out and is also exciting.”
This space has significantly helped many meteorology students gain practice and experience. It also helps other students and those in the Charlotte area obtain specific and accurate information regarding weather.
“I graduated in 2019 and am so happy to see the space still in use this year and hope to see more and more students use it in the future,” said Miller. “It certainly helped me hone my skills and get to the job I have today. I hope other students find good use of the space and use it to help them achieve their dream jobs as well.”
Miller currently works at News19 WLTX in Columbia, SC. For more information and to view daily forecasts visit @UNCCWeather on Twitter.