Kelly Reardon ’16 is the weekend morning meteorologist for 22News in Springfield, Massachusetts.
“As the meteorologist on weekend mornings, I am in the studio at the green screen giving our viewers the weather story and forecast for the day and the week,” Kelly says.
Originally, Kelly planned to work in a behind-the-scenes role within the meteorology field. However, she was steered toward broadcast while at Florida Tech.
“On top of my meteorology classes … I took a writing for media class, which greatly helped me transition to being both a broadcast meteorologist and a reporter.”
As part of the meteorology program, students had to remain on campus for one summer to conduct research. During her summer on campus, Kelly worked on a project at the National Weather Service Forecast Office in Melbourne—a partnership so successful, she continued interning there for two years, which taught her how to forecast.
After graduating cum laude, Kelly began working for a Cleveland news website, Cleveland.com, and its associated newspaper, The Plain Dealer, writing weather forecasts and related stories for northeast Ohio. She took the initiative to begin a weekly YouTube series of her forecasts.
“I started these YouTube video weekend forecasts from local restaurants in Cleveland,” Kelly says. “22News in Springfield picked up on them and invited me out to interview for their meteorologist/reporter position.”
Originally from Springfield, Kelly was excited to move back to her hometown after having lived in eight places throughout the past few years.
In severe weather like thunderstorms and tornadoes, Kelly and her team break into any show to inform viewers immediately of the events and what precautions they should take.
“This information given in a timely matter can save lives,” she says.
Currently a mix of a weekend meteorologist and a weather reporter, Kelly’s ultimate goal is to be on the weather five days a week. She loves being at the green screen in the studio and aims to be there as much as she can.
“Everything we do and say is ad-libbed [unscripted], and you’re able to have so much fun with it on nice weather days.”
Learning the tricks of the green screen was a difficult task for Kelly, as the monitors she sees showing which graphic is being displayed behind her is reverse of what you would see in a mirror. However, she finds her other role as a reporter and multimedia journalist more challenging.
“I’m out in the field all day, carrying my own camera, tripod and microphone, getting interviews and shots all by myself that I need for my stories,” Kelly says. “That took some training as well.”
Kelly’s favorite memory from her time at Florida Tech was at the Northrop Grumman Engineering and Science Student Design Showcase, in which her research received a lot of recognition.
“I won the best in my department, but furthermore, my research was recognized by people from all fields of meteorology—from the private sector to the Air Force and the National Weather Service.”
A lesser-known fact about Kelly is that she has Type 1 diabetes, which is a nonpreventable disease. Her body can no longer produce insulin on its own, so she takes seven injections daily to stay healthy.
Kelly is a fighter, though, and she doesn’t let her medical issues interfere with her ability to perform on the job. Her family members have always been highly supportive, so she is grateful to be living near them again.
While she is happy to be home, Kelly is a keen traveler.
“I’ve traveled all over the world,” she says. “I’ve been to over 40 countries, including Indonesia, China, Egypt, Turkey, Hungary, Germany and France.”
Kelly urges students do say “yes” more often when debating whether to do something or not and to get involved with as many different things as possible. Also, she feels strongly about the importance of internships when preparing to enter into the job market.
“Internships. I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for my two-year internship with the National Weather Service in Melbourne.”