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Doppler Data Meets The Green Screen for VA Tech Intern

Graduating senior Edward Shaw III of the College of Natural Resources and Environment got a taste of the limelight this past year during a nine-month internship with NBC’s Weather and Climate Unit.

Working both remotely from campus and at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York City, Shaw had the opportunity to sharpen his forecasting skills, while also rubbing shoulders – sometimes literally – with professional meteorologists such as weathercaster Al Roker.

Shaw, who majored in meteorology in the Department of Geography, received the 2024 Ambassador of the Year for the college and was also his department’s nominee for the college’s David William Smith Leadership Award. As a Hokie, Shaw has been active in numerous student organizations: He was the president of both the Meteorology Club at Virginia Tech and the Chi Epsilon Pi National Meteorological Honor Society as well as the former weather director for WUVT. He was a 2024 recipient of the Thomas M. Brooks Scholarship

Shaw reflected on how he found his way to becoming a Hokie, his experiences as an intern for NBC, and his contribution to the recent coverage of this year’s solar eclipse.

How did you find your way to majoring in meteorology?

Meteorology has just always been what I’ve wanted to do my entire life, even before I knew how to spell “meteorology.” That’s what essentially led me to VT. However, it was a tad more difficult to finally decide on college, given the fact that all this was happening at the peak of a global pandemic. I was deciding between VT and another college with meteorology on the East Coast, and ultimately, the undergraduate research opportunities and the Hokie Storm Chase sold me. Four years later, I can say that I made the right choice.

How did you hear about the internship with NBC, and what was the application process like?

I found out about the opportunity to intern with NBC at the 10-year anniversary event for the meteorology program in the fall of 2022. At that event, I was introduced to fellow Hokie Kathryn Prociv ’11, M.S. ’12, who is a senior meteorologist and weather producer for NBC’s Weather and Climate Unit.

I talked with Kathryn about my goal to do something in weather and climate communications and showed her my resume and reel. She said that, based on the work I had already done, I should apply for an internship with NBC.

The application process was relatively straightforward. After I sent my resume and application in, I participated in a prerecorded interview where I answered questions via video. Afterward, I interviewed with Kathryn and Erin McGarry, who leads the Weather and Climate Unit.

While visiting the NBC Studio in New York City, Edward Shaw III was able to sharpen his on-air skills with the guidance of professionals. Photo courtesy of Edward Shaw.

What was your day-to-day work like?

I typically worked three days a week, though on several occasions I worked more just because I wanted to. That’s how much I enjoyed this internship. My hours would vary by month based on who I worked with. Sometimes, that would mean I worked from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. with meteorologist Steven Strouss to make graphics and approve scripts for the Nightly News with Lester Holt. Other times, I worked from 2 a.m. to 8 a.m. I was able to experience every single shift with this internship, and, oddly enough, I enjoyed the 2 a.m. shift the most.

A lot of people wondered how on earth I was able to do that shift and not fall asleep, and then go to class immediately after. The answer? I’m not really sure. I think it was the combination of being able to work with Don Tsouhnikas – who is the original NBC meteorologist and a delight to work with – and an excessive amount of caffeinated drinks.

The biggest exception to my typical schedule was when I visited the 30 Rock studios during winter break, and again during spring break. When I was in New York, I had the chance to work with the on-air talent to refine my craft in front of the camera.

What were some highlights of this internship?

This entire internship has been a highlight in itself. There was never a day I did not want to work and I loved working with every member of the team.

My two New York trips to work in person were certainly amazing, as I met so many people and got to see so much that I had grown up watching. Getting to Facetime Al Roker almost daily and then working with him in person was certainly something I will never forget.

I also helped produce a segment on glasses for the eclipse for our 2024 eclipse special. I interviewed the chief marketing officer for American Paper Optics, and I actually ended up supplying NBC News with eclipse glasses for the 2024 eclipse. Some interns fetch coffee for their employers: I got to fetch eclipse glasses.

Edward Shaw III (at right) had the chance to work with NBC News Weathercaster Al Roker (at left) and Senior Meteorologist and Weather Producer Kathryn Prociv ’11, M.S. ’12. Photo courtesy of Edward Shaw.

How did your education at Tech or your previous internships help prepare you for this internship?

My time at Virginia Tech prepared me extremely well for this internship, as a lot of the meteorology and data analysis I used was material I have learned from our program here at VT.

My previous internship at WRIC-8 in Richmond – and in particular the support of WRIC Meteorologist Matt DiNardo – also really helped me with the news side of the internship, which included writing articles and putting together a show.

Where are you going next, and what message do you have for future meteorology students?

I currently have a position lined up for my future, but I’m waiting a bit before officially announcing it, so I’ll leave that a surprise, although, I won’t be going far from VT!

My advice for any meteorology student is to network frequently. It will get you extremely far in life and open all sorts of opportunities if you just reach out to people in the industry.

Current and prospective students interested in learning more about the meteorology major can visit the meteorology major page. With a curriculum that utilizes cutting-edge technology to provide a deep knowledge base about the scientific and human dimensions of weather systems, and hands-on learning opportunities that include setting up remote weather stations or participating in the Hokie Storm Chase, meteorology students in the Department of Geography get to experience and study weather science, rain or shine.

By David Fleming

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