Student society of meteorology accepts national honor, recognition

Members of the Northwest Indiana Student Chapter of the American Meteorological Society and National Weather Association were honored as the Local Chapter of the year by the National Weather Association on Wednesday.

The Northwest Indiana Student Chapter of the American Meteorological Society and National Weather Association was awarded the Local Chapter of the Year award by the National Weather Association.

On Oct. 21, chapter members from Valparaiso University accepted the award at the 40th Annual National Weather Association conference in Oklahoma City.

“It just seemed like the right time and the right place and we had the right tools and it all came together and we won,” said Elyse Smith, Northwest Indiana AMS/NWA chapter vice president.

The Chapter of the Year award is given to one of the nearly 50 chapters from around the country for showing excellence in public outreach, career building and extracurricular events.

“These awards recognize work by weather forecasters and broadcasters who deliver critical weather forecasts and warnings, researchers that improve forecast tools and processes and volunteers who promote weather safety,” said Elizabeth Page, National Weather Association president, in a press release.

Executive members of the NWI chapter say that a lot of the credit for this award goes to the E-board staffs from past years that have worked to get the organization to where it is now.

“[The award] shows how well the organization has been handed down from year to year,” said Raelene Campbell, Northwest Indiana AMS/NWA chapter president. “We always get so close to winning these awards, but we don’t. It’s incredible that we’ve been able to go strong for the past few years.”

AMS also received an award for the 2014-2015 school year as honorable mention for the AMS Chapter of the Year.

Formed in 1996, the NWI chapter of AMS/NWA has been dedicated to helping students at Valparaiso University and the surrounding community promote excellence in operational meteorology, as well as providing professional experience to those interested in the field.

“Throughout the department, meteorology majors are really excited about the organization,” said Kyle Brown, a senior at Valpo. “The fact that we have always been striving for (the award) makes members curious to help make the organization better.”

That participation that has grown over the years has allowed AMS/NWA to partake in several events each year that have helped them create a professional environment for the members involved.

Since 2002, the chapter has hosted the student-run Great Lakes Meteorology Conference each spring. The annual event, held on Valparaiso University’s campus, welcomes meteorology professionals from across the country and students from regional universities.

“It’s a small conference, but it’s good time to interact with other meteorology professionals,” Campbell said.

Chapter members have also participated in the meteorology field day, where chapter members teach different aspects of operational and broadcast meteorology to local kids, as well as philanthropic events such as Relay for Life.

The AMS and the NWA are both national organizations that meteorologists can get involved in. AMS and NWA offer professional tools for students to continue their education in meteorology as well as for graduates looking to find jobs in the field.

Contact Aimee Van Der Heyden at

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