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Humans of the U: Sadie Dunn

“I am currently majoring in atmospheric sciences. I just love weather. I’ve loved it since I was probably in kindergarten. So growing up, I always knew that was what I was going to study in college. When I was looking at colleges, I was kind of shocked that the University of Utah is the only school in Utah that offers an atmospheric sciences degree. So that’s how I ended up here.

The For Utah Scholarship has been an amazing opportunity for me because honestly, I would not have been able to afford college on my own. This scholarship offered me the amazing opportunity to come and study here in the department I want to be in.

I am from Chicago and I grew up with really severe summer storms in the Midwest, so I guess that’s what really fostered my love for weather. Then I moved to Utah when I was 13 and just kept loving weather. There’s a ton of snow out here and crazy windstorms which sparked my curiosity.

All throughout junior high and high school, I knew studying weather was my goal. So when I was a senior in high school, we had an internship class and I got to intern at ABC 4 news in their weather department, which was cool. That was definitely the moment when I was like, ‘This is real. I’m working towards this and this is the goal.’ So it’s really exciting to take this love I’ve had since I was little and turn it into a career.

While interning at a broadcast station was fun, it’s not something that interests me as a career. But my atmospheric sciences degree can take me a bunch of different places. It offers research opportunities with organizations like the National Weather Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). You can also work with private organizations. There are serious meteorologists in every field, which I think is one of the coolest parts about this job.

I’m still kind of feeling out what I want to do. It’s a STEM major and it’s very math- and physics- and chemistry-heavy. I consider myself to be smart, but I am not a natural in those courses. So I don’t think research is something I will do. I am really passionate about climate change, so I’m looking more into the field of sustainability.

Since I grew up with a love of severe weather, I would also love to be able to get a career that helps with the effects of those disasters, because it’s hard with hurricanes and tornadoes. You can’t stop them. They are going to hit and destroy everything. So I would love to find ways to lessen the effects of those or find better ways to prepare the communities.”

—Sadie Dunn, recipient of the For Utah Scholarship