by Christena Callahan via the Florida Tech Today
Not a sentiment you hear every day, but that is the opinion of Kassandra Crimi ’08, meteorologist for WFTV/WRDQ-TV in Orlando, home of Severe Weather Center 9. Crimi applies her Florida Tech meteorology degree and her dynamic personality to the broadcasting field to convey the science behind the storm to a lay audience at home.
“Our job [as broadcast meteorologists] is to inform the public and keep people safe if there’s bad weather.”
This starts with the science—analyzing weather patterns around the country, applying her knowledge and expertise, and interpreting that data to determine how it will affect viewers. Next comes the fun—creating graphics, preparing the presentation and sharing the information with the public over the broadcast channels.
“We think scientifically, but we speak in terms for a lay audience,” says Crimi. “It’s very what-do-I-need-to-do: wear short-sleeves, wear long-sleeves, grab extra water, grab the umbrella.”
“I like that about my field. I love science and I love math, but I also love people and I love talking.”
That enthusiasm has translated to career success. She landed her first job out of college quickly in a notoriously competitive field, where it’s not uncommon to remain unemployed up to 7 or 8 months chasing your big break. Next, she jumped from market 137 (New Bloomfield, Mo.) to market 19 (Orlando) in her first move.
One of her favorite professors and early mentors Steven Lazarus, associate professor of meteorology, says it’s no surprise. He remembers Crimi as a top-notch student who could “do anything she wanted. I’m very proud of her,” says Lazarus. “She’s going places.”
Ironically, her most recent stop is right where her journey began … at WFTV, where Lazarus was instrumental in helping her get a foot in the door.
Her own initiative led Crimi to pursue an internship in broadcasting. She reached out to WFTV Chief Meteorologist Tom Terry, who took a course that Lazarus lectured when he was a graduate assistant at the University of Oklahoma.
As an intern, Crimi honed her craft, practiced her presentation, produced a demo reel and gained valuable network connections to launch her career. A career inspired by hurricane season.
Crimi was a freshman studying astronomy and astrophysics during the 2004 hurricane season.
“Coming from Minnesota, it was so foreign to me,” she recalls, of the weather most coastal residents grow accustomed to.”
But 2004 was a year for the record books, and the eventful season triggered Crimi’s interest in taking Introduction to Meteorology.
“I took it as a science elective, and I just loved it. So from there, I switched majors.”
The rest, you might say, is history. Fast forward to 2011, and her anticipation for hurricane season is understandable.
“For me to come back and actually be in a working environment during hurricane season, I’m just tickled to death for my first hurricane.”
To read more about Kassandra Crimi, jump over to the Florida Tech Today.
To catch Kassandra Crimi behind the scenes at WFTV, check out the below video.