Meteorological Eagles Earn Coveted Industry Internships

Students and staff work in meteorology lab.
Embry-Riddle students Kelsey Kressler, Christopher Deloach and Sam Stone were named to this year’s William M. Lapenta NOAA Student Internship Program, awarding each of them paid positions at leading meteorology organizations around the country.
Woman poses on a cruise ship.
Samantha Stone will intern at the National Hurricane Center. (Photo: Sam Stone)

Three Meteorology students from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University will set off this summer to start internships at leading meteorology organizations across the country. The jobs were granted as the primary benefit to students who earned placements in the 2024 The William M. Lapenta NOAA Student Internship Program.

“There were 67 available scholarship positions this year, so for Embry-Riddle students to receive three of them is quite remarkable, considering there are far greater than 67 meteorology programs in the country,” said Dr. Tom Guinn, chair of the Applied Aviation Sciences Department on Embry-Riddle’s Daytona Beach Campus.

The goal of the internships — which are granted to college sophomores, juniors and graduate students — is to prepare young learners to fill research and operation positions in NOAA fields after graduation. The positions are paid, come with fully funded housing and a stipend.

Meet the Scholars

Man stands in front of a tree.
Chris-Deloach earned an internship at the National Environmental Satellite and Data Information Service, in Maryland. (Photo: Chris Deloach)

Junior Samantha Stone will work this summer at the National Hurricane Center, in Miami.

“I’m most looking forward to being able to get some amazing hands-on experience while working with interesting data and great people,” she said.

Stone’s degree minor is in Geographical Information Systems, which she will be focusing on intently in her new position. At Embry-Riddle, she is a member of the campus’s American Meteorological Society (AMS), as well as the Honors Students Association.

“I believe that I would find happiness working in almost any position related to meteorology or GIS after graduation, and I think that this opportunity will give me valuable experience,” she said. “It will show future employers that I am passionate about meteorology and that I already have some experience outside of pure academics.”

Junior Christopher Deloach will work at the National Environmental Satellite and Data Information Service, in Silver Spring, Maryland.

After he graduates in 2025, Deloach plans to pursue a Ph.D. in tropical cyclone research. Ultimately, he aspires to work with NOAA, conducting field research on tropical cyclones, with dreams of becoming a hurricane hunter.

Woman jumps as a storm rolls in.
Kelsey Kressler was one of only 10 students chosen to go on a 2022 storm-chasing trip with Embry-Riddle’s Meteorology Department. “We used various … models to forecast the storms and where they would move on the Great Plains,” she said. (Photo: Kelsey Kressler)

“Being smart isn’t everything,” said Deloach, who’s a member of AMS and tutors in the College of Aviation’s Weather Center. “What sets me apart is my work ethic and passion. Every activity I’ve taken part in has been purely passion-based.”

The passion also led him to partner with professor Joshua Wadler on research, which tested the viability of using small uncrewed aircraft systems, or drones, to measure air-sea interactions during tropical cyclones.

Kelsey Kressler, another junior, will work at the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Kressler credits her undergraduate research — which, conducted alongside assistant professor Dr. Daniel Burow, focused on using machine learning to predict storm types and warning verifications for simultaneous tornado and flash flood warnings — as one of the primary drivers that led her to this opportunity.

“It was great to get experience working with coding and large datasets in the research, because I will be utilizing those skills in the internship,” she said. Additionally, she presented that research project at the AMS 2024 Student Conference, in Baltimore, earlier this year.

A member of the campus AMS, Meteorological Honor Society and softball team, Kressler hopes the internship will bring her closer to achieving her dream of working for NOAA and, then, possibly becoming a Meteorology professor. But first, she plans to earn a graduate degree after finishing her bachelor’s.