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Graduates in the Spotlight : 2019 Graduates in the Spotlight

Erica Bower

image of Erica BowerHOMETOWN: Hillsborough, New Jersey

MAJOR: Meteorology, concentration in Broadcasting

MINOR: Mathematics

WCSU DEGREE: Bachelor of Science in Meteorology

ACTIVITIES: Kathwari Honors Program; Varsity Softball captain; Honors Students of Compassion treasurer; Student Athlete Advisory Committee co-president; Meteorology Club; Teaching Assistant, Honors 100: The Nature of Inquiry; Leadership, Compassion and Creativity Certificate; Steeplechase Cancer Center volunteer; Ethan Allen Preparatory at the Golf Performance Center in Ridgefield (part-time tutor, science department coordinator, Science National Honor Society faculty adviser); part-time Math Clinic tutor; Weather Center part-time researcher, mesoscale convection and indices



INTERNSHIPS: National Weather Center Research Experience for Undergraduates, summer 2018, Norman, Oklahoma, with Dr. Elinor Martin, mentor/adviser, Global Annual Precipitation Cycles and Variability Presentation at the 99th Annual American Meteorological Society Professional Conference, January 2019; WTNH News 8 New Haven, Aug. 2018, Graphics rebranding project and on-camera work

HONORS AND AWARDS: 3.97 GPA; Dean’s List every semester; Provost’s Award at Western Research Day; inducted into Chi Alpha Sigma; Dean’s Award for the Macricostas School of Arts and Sciences; completed degree in three years; President’s Merit Scholarship, all three years; Alumni Association Scholarship, 2017-18 and 2018-19; Jonathan D. Mottley Memorial Scholarship, 2017-18 and 2018-19 (for having the highest GPA in the Physics, Astronomy and Meteorology department); Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year, 2017-18



Erica Bower says she chose to major in meteorology because she has known for as long as she can remember that this is what she wants to do with her life. “You are born to be a meteorologist, and most of us have a story about what got us interested in our ‘favorite’ type of storm. My passion lies in the tropics, and I will go on from WCSU to study tropical cyclones in graduate school. The 2008 hurricane season sealed the deal for me, helping me decide what I wanted to study. Seeing storms like Hurricane Gustav, Hurricane Hanna and Hurricane Ike lined up across the Atlantic Ocean one after the other was incredible; I watched storms feed off each other and interact without touching. I was intrigued beyond belief, and I had to know more. I found some of the answers in my meteorology classes, and I plan to continue hunting for answers throughout my graduate and professional career.”

Bower decided to come to WCSU “because it offered me a meteorology degree, which is difficult to find at most universities. I also was recruited to play softball here, and most schools would have made me give up the sport I love just because I would be majoring in a science. The lab courses I have taken would restrict my availability for sports, and most other schools that offer a meteorology degree would not have accepted me on the team. WCSU offered me the degree I wanted, the sport I continue to love, and all of the campus involvement I didn’t want to miss.”

In addition to pursuing a demanding field of study and participation in an NCAA Div. III sport, Bower also participated in several clubs in leadership roles, the demands of the Kathwari Honors Program and two internships – and still completed her degree in three years with an impressive 3.97 GPA.

Bower reaffirms her decision to study meteorology AND play softball by explaining the impact her coaches had on not only her team play, but also on her academics. “My three coaches, Coach Heather Stone, Coach Kim Lynch and Coach Melissa Fracker, became mentors to me throughout my time at WCSU,” she says. “These three women teach the softball team not only how to play the game at a high level, but also how to become strong, successful women in this world. They stimulate teamwork, encourage accountability and promote good character overall. My coaches were the ones who supported me when I wanted to go to graduate school, and they genuinely looked out for me and for all of my teammates. My experience at WCSU would not have been the same without them.”

Asked what she will remember most about her WCSU experience, Bower says, “One of the most memorable experiences for me was when I got the phone call telling me that I had been accepted into the National Weather Center Research Experience for Undergraduates. This was the opportunity of a lifetime, and I knew I had exciting things ahead of me.”

After graduation, Bower says, “In June, I will begin my graduate studies as a Ph.D. student under Dr. Kevin Reed at Stony Brook University in Long Island.”

Her advice to new students entering WCSU is: “Make your experience here at WCSU what you want it to be. Whatever you decide your college career will be, it will be. Make the choice to create opportunities for yourself and to have a good career. Life will not always be perfect, but if you keep positive and work for the things you want, you will be happy regardless of where you find yourself.”