Hometown: Dryden, NY
KU degree: B.S. & M.S. atmospheric science
Current title: Meteorologist & environmental reporter
Tell us a little about your career journey:
I originally moved to Reno after completing my master’s at KU to pursue a Ph.D. in geography & climate policy. But sitting behind a computer and doing research just wasn’t enough for me. I wanted to get people excited about weather, climate and science. So I decided to leave my PhD program in the hope of finding a better way to reach the community and help bridge the gap between science and society. Now, not only do I forecast, but I tell science stories and stories with science.
What do you love about being a meteorologist?
The ability to spread my passion for science and weather to viewers, really, it’s the ability to build science literacy in my community. It’s not just when is it going to rain with me but what happens after it rains, how does that impact the overall climate… I really love that I have the ability to focus on the little picture inside of, and how it is a part of, the big picture.
What’s the hardest part of being a meteorologist?
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your career?
There is so much more to broadcast meteorology then just being a smart scientist with a degree from a good school. There is a whole business to being successful in television, which I honestly had a hard time adjusting to (social media, your look, your voice, connecting with viewers, there is a true performance aspect to it) and it’s just something you learn with time. But one thing I found is that being a yoga teacher has really helped me grow a lot of those skills and find my authenticity. I guess sometimes you have to look outside your comfort zone for those growth opportunities. It’s easy to get stuck in a box like, I’m going to be the most accurate forecaster and then just focus on that, but it is truly about balance. Bottom line, how accessible is your science and how authentic is your delivery.
What’s your best KU memory?
Just one… that’s hard, because I have so many amazing memories from KU; the one million homecoming festivities I participated in year after year as a Tri Delta, late night studying that always turned into shenanigans in Lindley Hall, and of course when KU brought home the 2008 NCAA Championship… the way everyone lined the street in pure joy and celebration was truly an unforgettable experience.
My best advice for college students:
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
Everything and anything… I think I changed my major around six times while in college. But once you find something that excites you, that lights a fire within you, like weather and climate did for me, follow it, even if it is a narrow field with crazy hours that takes you far from home.
My guilty pleasure:
Easy. Fried pickles (especially 23rd St Brewery’s) as well any kind of queso.
Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?
A couple of my climate science heroes, Dr. James Hansen & Dr. Stephen Schneider. Then easily Thich Nhat Hanh, Gabrielle Bernstein and of course Brandi Chastain.
Cassie takes over the College Instagram account:
Cassie completed her KU degrees in the Department of Geography & Atmospheric Science, part of the College Liberal Arts & Sciences. Find out more about Cassie, here.