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.
Sarah Bonin, an East Carolina University College of Education student majoring in special education from Cary, has received the 2016-2017 Michael F. Bassman Honors Thesis Award.
One student is selected each year for the outstanding senior Honors College thesis or project and a $500 award. Bonin created a reading and math curriculum for students in third through fifth grades, and is believed to be the first education student to win the award, said Dr. Guili Zhang, professor and interim chair of the Department of Special Education, Foundations and Research.
“Your personal achievements and accomplishments exemplify the very best of the Honors College and ECU,” said Bryna Coonin, coordinator of the award, in an email announcing Bonin’s selection.
Bonin was nominated by Dr. Melissa Hudson, her senior project mentor, in collaboration with Dr. Linda Patriarca, who has been Bonin’s instructor and internship supervisor this year. Faculty member Debbie Metcalf also provided a support letter.
Bonin will be recognized at the Honors College departmental graduation ceremony on May 3 at Rock Springs Center in Greenville. Bonin will be moving to Durham to begin her career as a kindergarten through fifth grade resource teacher at Glenn Elementary School in the Durham Public Schools system.
By: Julia Horiates, Honors College Senior
“The days are long, but the years are short,” is a quote my mom often repeats in our conversations about school. I’ve been in school for about 16 years. High school flew by and coming into college, I didn’t want to believe anyone saying that this time at ECU would go by even faster. (They were right.)
I’ll be leaving East Carolina University this May with the greatest memories I could have ever dreamed of making – shout out and thank you to my core group of friends: Justin Safin, Caroline Balch, Tyler Walston, and Evan Butler. But what happens when you don’t have it figured out? What happens if you think you know what you want to pursue after graduation, but aren’t entirely sure?
The stigmatized words, “Gap years” come into play.
As a dual-degree student, I had no time to fill out my applications to medical school and properly prepare for the MCAT during my college career. Out of my 8 semesters here, I’ve taken over 18 hours for 5 of them, in addition to classes over 4 summer sessions. Add in my time to working at least 2 jobs, volunteering as an EMT, and co-founding a chapter of the national non-profit, Timmy Global Health.
Pros? I’m graduating with a 2 separate degrees, a BS in Biology and a BA in English. I’ll be debt-free. I had an amazing college experience! Cons? I’ll be starting medical school later than I initially thought.
While I will use my time to shadow and work towards my paramedic license, I also plan to use my gap years to explore other areas of interest to ensure I want to go to medical school. From exploring climate research and conservation internships, volunteering in hospitals in other countries, teaching middle school literature in Philadelphia, I have a couple opportunities in different programs lined up for this summer and fall. Soon after, I plan to take the MCAT and start preparing for applications. I’ll also have to be working as well. These gap years mean I’m taking my time and pursuing things to confirm I’ll be making the right decision with my future.
So my advice to anyone reading this and possibly debating gap years is this: Don’t rush into it. Any professional program is a long and intense process and if you are any bit unsure of it, take some time off. Don’t start a program you’re not sure if you want to. Don’t accumulate the debt if you’re not whole-heartedly in it. Don’t push yourself to take more if you really need to decompress after college. Do make sure to explore your interests. Do have a plan and a timeline so you go back to school if that’s your initial goal. And lastly, do be flexible. Gap years can change everything.
If someone told me four years ago I would be taking two gap years before entering medical school, I would have laughed. I had a different mentality where I was full-throttle-ahead-nothing-will-stop-me. And I know in some ways I still have that spirit, but for now I need to focus on graduating and what will happen next. Maybe I’ll end up attending medical school in Fall 2019 or maybe I won’t, but wherever I end up is where I am supposed to be and I’ll be happy.