Jacob Feuerstein ’23 was selected for the 2021 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Ernest F. Hollings Undergraduate Scholarship Program. The scholarship program provides academic assistance for two years and a paid summer internship at NOAA – providing students with practical experience in research, technology, policy, management, and education activities.
Feuerstein, an atmospheric sciences student at Cornell University, has been interested in weather since he was a kid - he remembers eagerly watching thunderstorms and tracking hurricanes. Even as a young child, Feuerstein aspired to work for the National Weather Service as an operational meteorologist, and still does to this day.
“That’s part of what makes Hollings so exciting for me - I feel like this is by far the biggest step I’ve taken towards achieving my dream,” says Feuerstein. “I’m passionate about the synoptic-scale drivers behind sensible weather, a research interest I hope to continue exploring as my career progresses.”
Feuerstein was drawn to the atmospheric sciences program at Cornell by the small size of the cohorts and the opportunity to interact and learn from faculty in the field. He was excited about the idea of crafting his own undergraduate experience, a luxury often afforded to students in a small degree program.
“I consider myself lucky to have been able to pursue things like undergraduate research and club leadership positions that would have been unavailable to lowerclassmen in larger programs,” says Feuerstein.
During his time at Cornell, Feuerstein has conducted research with Arthur DeGaetano, professor in Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. He says that Dr. DeGaetano has allowed him enough flexibility to research topics that prove personally interesting, like cold-season tornado outbreaks and the atmospheric triggers of flash flooding.
DeGaetano’s mentorship has made a big impact on Feuerstein, not only for his leadership in the research “lab” but also because of his unceasing willingness to advocate for his students.
“Jacob impressed me from the first day we met. He wanted to be engaged in research from day one. Despite my reluctance to mentor a freshman without any programming experience in undergraduate research, he pitched his ideas and work plan so well, that I could not say no!” says DeGaetano. “He continues to impress me with his motivation, academic progress and passion for all things weather!”
Upperclassman in the department have also provided great mentorship for Feuerstein, advising on questions regarding anything from meteorology to program applications to job prospects in the field. Feuerstein specifically mentions Aidan Mahoney and Jack Sillin, the co-presidents of the Cornell Chapter of the American Meteorological Society (CCAMS), as exceptional leaders and mentors.
“Everybody so clearly wants everybody else to succeed,” says Feuerstein. “Something that always stands out is the willingness of my peers to meaningfully help me advance my career whenever possible. There’s never an ounce of competition.”
Feuerstein is an active member of CCAMS - where he has found great comradery among his fellow meteorology students. He finds CCAMS to be an extremely collaborative and close-knit community – one of his favorite activities being the weekly forecast nights, where students work together to predict and understand the weather.
In addition to conducting undergraduate research and being an active member of CCAMS, Feuerstein also has two part time jobs. The first is at Weatherworks, where he does research on high wind events and writes client reports. He also works for Weather.us, where he blogs about weather forecasts and manages social media.