When College of Charleston student Grace Lowe was a little girl, she used to sit outside and watch the sky for hours, trying to figure out when a storm might blow in.
A severe thunderstorm that blew through her neighborhood when she was 8 had left a strong impression – of both terror and awe.
“I sat and listened to the howling wind and the cracking trees outside until it was over,” recalls Lowe. “After the storm had passed, I went outside to see our neighbor’s tree was down, and from that moment on I realized that I needed to know when the next storm was going to happen.”
That early experience first sparked Lowe’s fascination with weather, and it’s only grown from there. As a rising junior double-majoring in meteorology and physics, Lowe wanted to find a way to build her skills in the field of weather forecasting and data. So she jumped at the chance to serve as a public relations/marketing intern for weather software firm HailPoint, which provides detailed digital products – including maps and impact metrics – on hail.
“Weather is forever changing; there is always something new to watch and learn,” says Lowe. “And that is what makes it so interesting for me.”
The College Today caught up with Lowe to find out how her internship with HailPoint (which she has been doing remotely) is shaping her understanding of the field of meteorology and what impact the experience will have on her future career plans.
Why was an internship with HailPoint of interest to you?
The internship just happened by chance. I was in a meeting with professor Lee Lindner for building the new broadcast lab for meteorology majors. HailPoint CEO Mike Dross was helping with that project, and we just got to talking after that meeting, and HailPoint sparked my interest! Talking to Mike Dross was really interesting, and I realized I wanted to learn more about different careers in meteorology. Since I already had some experience in public relations, I thought that I could learn more from working at HailPoint and looking at the marketing side of meteorology. And I thought this internship could also provide me with some much-needed screen experience.
What are the duties of your internship?
I help market their social media and websites by doing tutorial videos on how to track hailstorms and how to navigate weather data for a customer. I work very closely with CEO Mike Dross, watching/working on rebranding the social media of HailPoint.
How are you putting what you’ve learned at the College to use in your internship?
I have taken classes with meteorology professors Lee Lindner and Gabriel Williams. I have learned the basics of meteorology, as well as how to track different weather patterns. By working closely with Mike Dross at HailPoint, I have learned that there is so much more to meteorology than what I had originally thought. When you think of a meteorologist, most people think strictly about weather prediction. Working with HailPoint has shown me that as a meteorologist there is a larger audience that I am providing forecasts to beyond just the casual viewer at home. We have to take into consideration that, after any kind of inclement weather producing hail, there’s an audience of roofers and insurance companies who need that information. That is where HailPoint comes into play.
What’s the most surprising thing you’ve learned so far through this internship?
I never really realized the broad role that meteorology covers in day-to-day life and the importance of meteorology in terms of insurance and financial impacts. It is so important for non-broadcast meteorologists/meteorology companies to advertise their services. I didn’t realize that there was a high demand for a meteorological perspective from insurance companies and/or for personal use in situations where property damage has occurred. Someone’s roof may have been damaged by hail, but they may not be sure. HailPoint provides hail verification/hail reports to let the customer know if they have had hail damage.
How has this internship shaped your perspective on the field of meteorology?
Working with HailPoint has opened my eyes to so many different careers in meteorology, as well as the social media presence of meteorologists. You have to connect not only with viewers, but also with the community around you. Being able to connect with all different types of people to communicate the weather is what being a broadcast meteorologist is all about!