Alum heading for her dream job wants to change the unfair perception that meteorologists never seem to get it right.
The latest job outlook for meteorologists from the U.S Dept. of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics says that growth in the field of meteorology (also called atmospheric science) is forecasted to be at 12% between now and 2026, a "faster-than-average" rate, BLS added.
For Notre Dame alum Mary Lund, it's indeed good news. That's because she is actively pursuing a lifelong dream to have a career in meteorology — a dream that began way back at St. Lawrence Catholic School in Utica, Mich., and now continues in the University of Michigan's Climate and Space Sciences program.
"I've always known I wanted to be a meteorologist, even in elementary school," said Lund, who graduated from Notre Dame Prep in 2014. "I was on the science olympiad team there and received medals in an event called 'Weather or Not.' And then finding a university close to home that offered a major in my favorite field I thought was extremely fortunate, I thought."
Lund is currently a meteorology major at Michigan. She said that because meteorology at U-M is within the College of Engineering, she knew she needed a strong math background in order to succeed in the program. Fortunately, at Notre Dame, she got one.
"Teachers like Mr. [Mark] McCaskey and Mr. [Daniel] Chun really helped me solidify pre-calculus and calculus concepts, so I already had a thorough understanding of my first year of math at U-M," she said. "Students at NDP are always well-prepared for their freshman year when they get to university, and I was no different. NDP grads typically have good study habits, good communication skills — both written and verbal — and the ability to live and work well with others."
Lund's devotion to her chosen field of study also has led to a number of special intern opportunities as well.
"Last May, I started working for DTE Energy as a meteorology co-op student and will be continuing that co-op through next school year," she said. "The position with DTE involves putting together daily weather forecasts for the company to help prepare for major storms that could cause power outages. Also, I did a couple of segments last month on The Weather Channel’s AMHQ (America's Morning Headquarters) TV program to talk about winter storm Mateo, which spread a whole bunch of snow and ice from the Rockies to the Northeast."
Lund plans to continue her undergraduate studies one additional semester and receive an environmental engineering minor, and then attend graduate school at U-M for a master's degree in meteorology. She hopes all this hard work will lead to a long and successful career — and to a job that admittedly doesn't always get the respect it deserves.
"The number-one complaint I hear about meteorologists is that they are always wrong," she said. "Which leads to a distrust, and often to people ignoring the warnings provided by them and by the National Weather Service. I want to change that perception and my passion to do so is what keeps me going."
Another thing that keeps her going is recalling the four years she spent studying — and having fun — on 1300 Giddings Road.
"I have so many positive memories of NDP," she said. "Senior-year Irish Week, performing in musicals, sitting in the B-wing triangle with my friends before first hour, and of course, Kairos XVI. And, also, all the wonderful teachers!"
Lund said she had many great teachers at NDP, but she really enjoyed her classes with Mr. Chun, Mrs. [Gretchen] Glick, Mrs. [Amy] Kochenderfer/Preiss, Mrs. [Lauren] Byrd/Raleigh and Mr. McCaskey.
"I also enjoyed my time with Mrs. [Della] Lawrence and Mrs. [Cathy] Zuccaro in campus ministry," she said.
But what Lund really misses the most now that she's in college is the fact that her high school teachers knew their students so well and the fact that they were genuinely interested in what was happening outside of class.
"You could have real conversations with them and make a much deeper connection than you can with college professors, for sure," she said. "Notre Dame teachers always seemed to know when something was wrong and how to make us feel better. They gave us strength and encouragement, which is certainly not something you get with professors at a large university!"
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About Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy
Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy is a private, Catholic, independent, coeducational day school located in Oakland County. Notre Dame's upper school enrolls students in grades nine through twelve and has been named one of the nation's best 50 Catholic high schools (Acton Institute) four times since 2005. Notre Dame's middle and lower schools enroll students in pre-kindergarten through grade eight. All three schools are International Baccalaureate "World Schools." NDPMA is conducted by the Marist Fathers and Brothers and is accredited by the Independent Schools Association of the Central States and the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement. For more on Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy, visit the school's home page at www.ndpma.org.