Ready to Excel Through Skill-Building, Networking, and Hands-On Learning
Atmospheric sciences major Jonathan Hutchinson ’20 loves to talk with the public about meteorology, whether it’s children and community groups near campus or in another country. Through NVU, he went with a professor to Honduras, where he discussed weather events with students at a school run by an NVU graduate.
With an interest in advocacy, his outreach work has strengthened his communication skills as he explains climate change science to non-scientists. The concentrations Jonathan is pursuing in broadcasting and climate change are preparing him for a career that could include teaching on the college level and advocacy.
“I communicate about climate change in a way that’s understandable to children and adults,” he says. “NVU not only gives you the education, but it prepares you for the real world after college through hands-on learning.”
Professional Forecasting as an Undergraduate Student
Jonathan is gaining specialized skills and using what he has learned at NVU by creating winter weather forecasts for the Vermont Agency of Transportation. “It definitely helps with written communication skills and communicating to a wide audience in simple terms,” he says.
During the summer between his junior and senior years, Jonathan interned with Southwest Airlines in Dallas, Texas. As a member of the airline's meteorology team, Jonathan put together forecasts and graphics to send to pilots and airports across the country ensuing safe flights around the world.
NVU’s Climate Consensus group is another way Jonathan and other students learn to discuss climate issues with the general public. He is the social media manager for the campus-based advocacy group and talks at schools and with community organizations.
Other hands-on learning options Jonathan has pursued have been through NVU’s student chapter of the American Meteorological Society (AMS), which hosts the annual Northeastern Storm Conference, the largest such student-run event in the country. He has helped organize the conference and is the community outreach coordinator for the NVU AMS chapter.
The AMS group has given him opportunities to attend professional conferences, which he says is “a wonderful networking tool and a great way to set up internships.”
Large Alumni Network is Committed to Students
Through the AMS chapter, Jonathan — who earned an associate's degree in Broadcast and Digital Journalism from NVU — has met and worked with people in the meteorology and broadcasting fields. He watched a live weather broadcast at WMUR-TV in Manchester, New Hampshire, given by an NVU graduate who is a meteorologist there. He also worked with NVU alumni while at Southwest Airlines.
“NVU is preparing me for my career by offering courses that are very relevant to what we’ll be doing once we graduate,” Jonathan says. “One of the greatest things is that they’re really connecting us to the alumni network, so we’ll have a lot of contacts to reach out to when we graduate. The alumni group is super tight-knit.”
The Faculty is Part of a Student-Focused Campus Community
The small NVU campus also is tight-knit, which Jonathan wanted in a college.
“Everybody on campus knows each other and is very supportive. I know the faculty on a personal level and can work with them one-on-one,” says Jonathan, from Columbia, Maryland. “Having a good community and support system to keep you going is the most important thing in education,” he says.
The support at NVU goes beyond academics, with many social events on campus and planned recreational activities on and off-campus.
“What stands out to me about NVU is that it’s very student-oriented. They focus on meeting students’ needs in all ways,” Jonathan says. “It’s tuned in to keeping students happy and healthy.”