Lindsey Monroe ’11 graduated with a Bachelor of Science in geography and a concentration in professional meteorology and climatology.
Tell us about your Ball State experience.
I chose to study meteorology because I have always found it fascinating that weather has an impact on so many things. My dad has been a drag racer my whole life and I basically grew up at a race track. He would let me use his weather instruments which would tell us what was going on in the atmosphere that would have an impact on how the car would perform. It inspired me to go into the field of meteorology so I could interpret complex weather scenarios and be the communicator of that information to members of my community so they can be more prepared.
What is your current job like?
My career is great – the schedule… not so much. I’ve been a meteorologist on a morning newscast for over a decade now and I don’t think I’ll ever get used to the 2 a.m. alarm clock. I am responsible for my own hair, make-up, and wardrobe so I knock that out first when I arrive at the station. After a pre-show editorial meeting with producers and other on-air talent, I then have time to spend forecasting and putting weather graphics together before we go live at 4 a.m. I am also responsible for live traffic updates throughout the three-hour morning show. Web scripts and social media posts are also sprinkled in throughout the shift. Another major part of being a local media member is getting involved in community events by serving as a host, emcee, judge, etc. I truly enjoy this part of the job because I get to engage in the community I live in and meet the great folks who watch my newscast.
Describe your career path.
I started working at my first job out of college two days after graduation. I was fortunate enough to land a Monday-Friday morning show gig at WTHI-TV in Terre Haute, IN through connections I had made during an internship at WISH-TV in Indianapolis. At the time, the two stations were under the same ownership. I was promoted to chief meteorologist after two years at WTHI and stayed another few years. I then moved on to Memphis, TN and was the weekday morning meteorologist for two years at the Fox affiliate. I gained lots of experience here being out in the field covering everything from a hurricane landfall in Texas to the total solar eclipse. The timing worked out that a meteorologist position opened at my dream station in my hometown market at the end of my contract. I was hired on here at WTHR in Indianapolis in January 2018.
Beyond my knowledge of meteorology I learned at Ball State, there is a lot of hands-on training that goes into a local news operation. I never said no to an opportunity because I wanted to know how to do as much as possible. I believe that is why I was an attractive candidate for my current job – I had a wide variety of skills on my resume and could fill-in as needed.
What is the most fulfilling part about your job?
I am truly blessed to get to work with a team of incredibly knowledgeable and talented meteorologists and our community trusts us to provide vital weather information in times of severe and inclement weather. Even in times of quiet weather patterns, if I can help someone’s day be a little easier or better by something I said during a newscast, that is what it’s all about!
What are the most valuable skills you learned as a meteorology student?
While the required course work to earn a degree in meteorology is much more analytical compared to the daily forecasting I use now, I am grateful to have a strong scientific background. Part of the job is to take my knowledge of the atmosphere and be able to explain it to a general audience to enhance their understanding of weather phenomena that will impact their lives.
Is there a particular class, professor, or professional opportunity that especially impacted you?
One of the main reasons I chose to attend Ball State is because a “storm chasing” class is offered. This was an amazing opportunity to take what I learned in a classroom and apply it to real world scenarios. Dr. David Call has been leading this class for many years and it is perhaps the best hands-on learning opportunity you can experience at the collegiate level. Students are responsible for analyzing weather data every morning, deciding where the atmospheric dynamics were best to produce storms, and coordinate placing the team safely to observe storm development. During this trip, many see their first tornado and experience how weather can cause devastation which reinforces the importance of making forecasts as accurate as possible.
What advice would you give to students in meteorology or those who want to pursue a similar career path?
I would consider all options available in the field of meteorology. Broadcasting was the most rewarding option for me but there are so many ways to implement a degree in meteorology into other career paths such as independent consulting, insurance, environmental management, energy management, computerized geographical mapping (GIS), and governmental work with the National Weather Service.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.