As senior Sydney Walters looks to life after Ohio University, she has some big plans as she waits to hear back on her graduation applications.
As he looks ahead, though, he knows he’ll miss the little things.
Her advice for new OHIO students: “Don’t miss the little moments. You’re probably already aware of the things you’ll want to remember: homecoming, Halloween, football games, your 21st birthday, and the like. But enjoy the little moments. nights in the library studying for an exam with your friends. Get some laughs when you and your lab partner can’t figure out how a physics lab works. Consider the memories made around the table at Nelson. Consider every walk through College Green. These four years will go by so quickly, so take advantage of every opportunity, even if it’s scary. Make every memory you can and get out of your comfort zone as often as you can.”
Walters is prepared to graduated in December with a BS in Geography – Meteorology from the College of Arts and Sciences, with minors in religious studies and journalism.
What are the next steps/future plans?
While my goal after graduation would be to go to graduate school, it is extremely difficult to start a graduate program in this field during the spring semester. So until I find out if I’m accepted to a graduate program, I’ll be working full-time somewhere. If grad school doesn’t work out, I’d love to work as a weather/science writer somewhere (dream job is working for the Capital Weather Gang) or explore jobs in operational meteorology/emergency management/aviation.
How has working with OUCAMS made a difference during your time at OHIO?
I met some of my best friends in OUCAMS, from my future bridesmaid to my boyfriend. The connections I have made as part of my time in the club and as an officer have benefited me personally and professionally. I know I will always have these friends to cheer me on and I will always meet so many Bobcats around the country as I try to figure out my place in this field.
Organizing two of our annual meteorology symposia as an officer introduced me to several professionals in the field, as well as attending the AMS annual conference in Houston this past January. I really built my confidence and networking skills as a result of my time in OUCAMS.
What inspired you to become a Climate and Sustainability Ambassador and what was your favorite activity or achievement?
I’ve always been concerned about the future of our world, but I really didn’t understand the extent of the danger our world was in when it came to climate change until I threw myself deeper into meteorology. I wanted to become a Climate and Sustainability Ambassador to start having a small impact on this future. I wanted to take an active, hands-on role in changing our future, especially through education and awareness.
My favorite event, and the one I will remember the most, was our big outreach event in Fall 2021. A group of us set up a table in the District on the West Green to educate about recycling and composting and to to promote a more sustainable process. dining environment. We were able to have a lot of good conversations and teach some students new things, so it felt really good to see that direct impact on people.
What kind of research did you do with Dr. Ryan Fogt?
I worked with him on part of his sea ice reconstruction project. We took photographs of handwritten logbooks from whaling ships around Antarctica and digitized weather and sea ice data for later use to help piece together what the ice in this region might have looked like at the beginning of the 20th century.
What learning community have you helped lead? And what’s your best advice for first years interested in getting involved on campus?
During the Fall 2021 semester, I worked with undecided students who were interested in engineering. This fall, I worked with two different groups; aviation and journalism students. I might be biased, but the best way to get involved in your first year is to do things with your learning community, whether they’ve been planned by a learning community leader or not. I met my best friend in my learning community during my first semester and have seen so many lifelong friendships form between my students in the learning communities I have led.
Who were your favorite teachers and how did they impact your life?
Obviously, I got to work closely with Dr. Ryan Fogt in many capacities, so his impact on my life and career was profound. His classes have challenged me to become the best meteorologist and student I can be, but also watching him conduct himself as an educator and person has inspired me to be more passionate, caring, and engaged in the world around me. While she is no longer at OHIO, I cannot rule out Dr. Jana Houser. Working with one of the best in the field, both in the classroom and in the field, while watching the storms was an experience like no other. She continually pushed us to understand things more deeply and was such an excellent educator and mentor.
Outside of my program, several teachers stand out to me for the way they taught and conducted themselves. One teacher I will never forget is Dr. Cory Crawford. His sense of humor and intelligence made the classes I had the opportunity to take with him more than enjoyable, and his knowledge was incredible. I learned so much from him, but I was also amazed by the care he showed to his students. Both fall semesters I took classes with him, he was so gracious that he invited students who had nowhere to go for Thanksgiving to his home with his family.
What was your ah-ha moment at OHIO – that point where you said, “I’ve got this!”?
That moment would have been when I realized how important collaboration and working with my colleagues would be to get to the finish line. I tend to want to work independently and I started to struggle with classes as I got into the upper level courses of my degree when I tried to do it myself. It wasn’t until I recognized that my colleagues were in the same boat as me, and that we were all willing to support each other to the end, that I began to succeed and was confident that I would succeed. I could not have come this far without the support of my friends and colleagues, both personally and professionally.
What was the hardest hill you had to climb (not including Jeff Hill) in OHIO? And how did you overcome challenges or obstacles in your path?
Like everyone who has graduated in recent years, COVID has been absolutely the biggest obstacle in my time here. I’m very outgoing, and having to spend a year and a half away from my friends and without face-to-face instruction was extremely challenging. It took a lot of determination and focus, but I adapted to the difficulties and made it, knowing that we would eventually return to Athens together and it was so worth it.
What are your favorite memories from OHIO?
There are so many, I can’t even begin to summarize them. Spending four and a half years as a student here opened the door to so many memories and experiences. As cliché as it sounds, I loved all the nights I studied in the Scalia Lab with my classmates and the jokes we made. I also enjoyed every homecoming weekend with my closest friends. Finally last summer I was able to go on a storm chasing trip with Dr. Houser for a week and probably experience new places with my best friends along with experiencing things first hand that we learned in class. best memory from my time at Ohio University.