Cheryl Nelson

Cheryl Nelson
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After earning her bachelor’s of science degree in meteorology from Penn State, Cheryl Nelson went on to work as a meteorologist for local markets including southern and central New York, eastern Virginia, and northeastern North Carolina, as well as nationally, for outlets such as Fox News Channel and CNBC. During this time, Nelson’s attention began to turn towards extreme weather preparedness, and in 2008 and 2009 her team’s coverage of the Suffolk tornadoes and her personal coverage of tornado safety information began to garner praise from the television community. From there, Nelson went to work with the World News Network, preparing and delivering expert newscasts on disaster preparedness, technical sciences and meteorology for military installations worldwide. Nelson has since served as Natural Disaster Preparedness Spokesperson for the state of Virginia, an instructor at the National Disaster Preparedness Training Center, and a disaster preparedness specialist for The Weather Channel, while continuing to work freelance with WTKR-TV in Norfolk, Virginia and with the US Joint Staff. Nelson also serves on the Board of Directors at Penn State University’s College of Earth & Mineral Sciences, as well as on the American Meteorological Society’s Broadcast Board of Directors.

 

What kinds of math, science, engineering, or technology classes did you need to take in school to prepare for your current career?

Cheryl Nelson: A meteorology degree trained me as a scientist.  I took many of the same courses as an engineering major!  I took various courses in calculus, physics, dynamics and computer science.  The journey wasn't easy but it was WORTH IT.

What made you want to enter this field?

CN: I was the shy, awkward 9-year-old girl who was obsessed with snowstorms and knew I wanted to be a broadcast meteorologist from a young age.  Believe it or not, I used to run away from the camera!  However, I knew I had to change in order to achieve my dream of becoming a broadcast meteorologist.  No one believed I could do it.  I proved to myself that I could... and I did!!

What would you say has been your proudest accomplishment on the job, or your favorite part of the job?

CN: I received an Emmy nomination for my story titled "Get Down and Dirty with Tornado Safety."  While I am certainly proud of that, my proudest accomplishment occurred on a day I will not forget—April 28, 2008. My Chief Meteorologist and I were on WAVY-TV for five hours straight during an unusually violent tornado outbreak in southeastern Virginia.  That afternoon, a strong EF-3 tornado tore through Suffolk, VA... leveling homes to their foundations.  When our chopper went up to shoot aerial footage before the sun set, we saw the devastation and fearfully expected the worst....  Miraculously, no one was killed! WAVY-TV's weather and news teams came together that day to keep people informed and most importantly, save lives.  This is why I do what I do and this is something that I am deeply proud of.

 

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