Topics: College of Sciences and Humanities, College of Communication Information and Media, Scholarships

May 12, 2016

Amanda Kedzierski

Photo by Domenic Centofanti

Amanda Kedzierski will spend 10 weeks next year interning at a facility run by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). But before then, she will spend part of her summer with Ball State's storm-chasing team.

Amanda Kedzierski remembers falling in love with meteorology.

She was a Pittsburgh-area first-grader who won a contest to have lunch with a local TV weather forecaster. He was explaining how he breaks in during programming with the latest reports of severe weather.

“I was immediately awed by his job and thought that is what I wanted to do,” said the Ball State sophomore.

A prestigious scholarship could be moving Kedzierski’s childhood wonder closer to a career.

The geography major with a meteorology focus is one of 125 sophomores nationwide this year — and only the third Ball State student ever — to receive the Ernest F. Hollings Scholarship, given out to students who intend to pursue careers in oceanic and atmospheric science.

Kedzierski will get stipends during her junior and senior years and a paid 10-week summer internship next year at a facility run by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which administers the scholarship.

“It was an incredible experience simply to apply for the award,” said Kedzierski. “I had to write an essay, which went through several rounds of rewrites thanks to the input of faculty from the English department and Barb Stedman (Ball State’s director of national and international scholarships and Honors Fellow). It was worth it.”

NewsLink Indiana was the starting point

Kedzierski will carry dreams of working for the National Weather Service, which is part of NOAA, as she travels to Silver Spring, Maryland, late this summer to participate in a one-week orientation that will let her select the type of internship she will have in summer 2017.

When I was looking at a college, my parents and I were blown away by the Unified Media Lab in the Art and Journalism Building as well as the great faculty. I would have never won that scholarship without coming to Ball State.

— Amanda Kedzierski
sophomore geography major

But she’s no novice. For a while, she has been putting a telecommunications minor to use by filing daily weather reports during the online noon newscast for Ball State’s NewsLink Indiana.

“Without a doubt, that internship will give me a lot of experience to hone my skills.

“I’ve only been doing the noon forecasts for several months now, but it’s been extremely challenging. Sure, we have all the models right there, thanks to the various news services, but it’s up to me to come up with the right forecast for this area.”

NewsLink Indiana is Ball State’s student-run, Emmy Award-winning newscast. Participants learn to anchor, edit, produce, report, shoot and write while they start to build a work portfolio.

“I am lucky to be in a place like Ball State with its amazing facilities,” Kedzierski said. “When I was looking at a college, my parents and I were blown away by the Unified Media Lab in the Art and Journalism Building as well as the great faculty. I would have never won that scholarship without coming to Ball State.”

Multiple talents impress faculty

Kedzierski is also a member of the women’s swimming and diving team, and her  talents in the pool and the classroom have caught the attention of many of her faculty. Michael Spillman, assistant chair of telecommunications, was impressed with her from the start of a media law course he taught.

“The class doesn't always bring out the best in every telecommunications major or minor, but that wasn't true of Amanda,” he said. “From her first day in the class, she was engaged, asking and answering questions. It was evident right away that she was on top of the material, and she earned one of the top grades in the class.

“When I found out she also was a Ball State swimmer, I wasn’t surprised. My experience over the years with swimmers in my classes is that they’re disciplined. And that describes Amanda. We’ll see her in a few years forecasting weather.”

Next stop, the Great Plains

Amanda Kedzierski

Photo by Domenic Centofanti

Kedzierski's talents as a student, as well as a member of the women's swimming and diving team, impress many of her professors and helped her secure the Ernest F. Hollings Scholarship.

Kedzierski will participate in the university’s storm-chasing project, an immersive learning experience, in late May. Led by meteorology professor David Call, Ball State students will travel by van from Indiana to as far west as Wyoming and then down through Texas in an effort to track major storms developing on the Great Plains.

Call believes Kedzierski will be a strong addition to the team due to her time management and leadership skills learned as an intercollegiate athlete.

“She is an outstanding student, completing most of the math and physics courses ahead of schedule,” he said. “Intercollegiate athletics entails 20 hours of work per week and requires that she miss class occasionally for meets and other events. When she did miss my class, she was proactive in turning in assignments early, coordinating group work around her schedule so her classmates could still benefit from her contributions and making arrangements to get notes and keep pace.”

Like her fellow students, Kedzierski will post videos and photos via social media to keep friends and family up-to-date with the experience.

“This is going to be an incredible experience for someone really new to the field,” she said. “In Indiana, the storms are much smaller, but on the Great Plains they can cover large areas and spawn high winds, large hail and dangerous tornadoes. It’s a meteorologist’s dream.”

Amanda KedzierskiExplore geography

Ball State's Department of Geography offers a world of academic opportunities, with bachelor's degrees in comprehensive geography, travel and tourism, geographic information science, and meteorology and climatology. The department also offers minors in those subjects, a master's degree, and graduate certificates. 

Learn more about the geography programs.