After studying geography at undergraduate level, Rachael went on to complete an MSc in Applied Meteorology. She now works as Head of Education at the Royal Meteorological Society.
Even when I was younger I was always interested in the environment and science, in particular the weather and climate. Growing up in Yorkshire you tend to get used to all types of weather from an early age! I used to be enthralled by the snow and other winter weather. Growing up with the British psyche of being fascinated by the weather meant I was intrigued enough to find out more about the subject and, through the completion of a BSc Geography degree, I touched on many environmental aspects related to climate and climate change, which cemented my interest in meteorology as a whole. Meteorology is so much more than weather forecasting alone, and the varied nature of the subject leads to many good career paths.
My undergraduate degree in geography provided a firm environmental foundation to begin the MSc in Applied Meteorology. The MSc was very relevant in securing my current position; it has provided a strong meteorological background for me to build on. During my time studying I acquired many transferable skills, such as good organisation, time management and report writing, as well as others more directly science related, such as how to study climate change and hydrology, and the basics of weather forecasting.
I got my current job with the Royal Meteorological Society straight after completing my postgraduate course. I develop resources for educational use inside and outside the classroom related to weather and climate issues. For example, I create children's colouring sheets and activities, go to science festivals and tell people about weather, give career advice and provide some work experience placements. Over the next 12 months I shall also be redeveloping our educational website with new links, resources, pictures and activities.
I love the varied nature of the job: one day I can be preparing resources for primary school students, such as weather poems and mobiles, the next day preparing teaching resources linked to the curriculum, and the next day visiting a science festival. For now I'm happy being involved in the education side of meteorology and would love to continue in this type of work.
To get into a meteorological career, a strong science background, usually maths and physics is required (at A-Level), followed by a maths, physics or environmental science subject at degree level (although not always). An interest in the natural world and the environment in general is crucial.
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