2017-2018 AMS Freshman Scholarship Winners Reflect on Their First Year

2017-2018 AMS Freshman Scholarship Winners Reflect on Their First Year

In academic year 2017-2018, the School of Meteorology was privileged to have five of the freshmen honored by the AMS (American Meteorological Society) commit to OU. One of these award winners is the holder of an AMS Freshman Minority Scholarship, one of only three to be awarded annually.

The winner of this scholarship is Kaela Wiliams. Kaela is from Norman, Oklahoma. Outside of Academics, Kaela is very involved in OU’s marching band, the Pride of Oklahoma.

Transitioning from high school to college can sometimes be challenging for students. For Kaela, learning how to adjust was a big step during her first year at OU.

“the transition from high school to college was a little rough for me. Throughout high school, I had only ever had a couple of really challenging classes, and because of this, I was able to get by with just studying the night before tests and quizzes. When I got to college, it was hard for me to change and perfect my studying habits in order to be successful. Calculus tests especially challenged me, but after finding ways to cater to my auditory learning style, I was able to study more effectively for tests and have since dealt with far less academic stress from tests.”

Most students have multiple options when it comes to choosing a college. For Kaela, OU’s atmosphere led her to choose the University of Oklahoma

“OU was one of my top two choices for college along with Texas A&M. While A&M is a great school, I liked the atmosphere of OU better. OU is one of the top colleges for meteorology, and because I live near campus it also made more sense financially. Going to OU also allows me to participate in marching band and study for an engineering minor. Having my friends and family here sealed the deal, and I couldn’t be happier with my decision!”

Kaela was concerned being from Norman could impact her student life.

“I was initially afraid that by choosing to go to college in my hometown, I would miss out on the full college experience. I lived at home to save money and was scared of being left out from a social perspective but being in the Pride of Oklahoma really helped me make sure I had opportunities to hang out with friends and get out of the house more often.”

Kaela says the best part about being a Meteorology Major at the University of Oklahoma is the opportunities provided to students.

“The best part about being a meteorology major at OU is all of the countless opportunities you have outside of class to really get to know your major. Although I have not joined any yet, there are several meteorology-based clubs with the National Weather Center on campus there are also plenty of research and internship opportunities.”

Outside of Meteorology? The connections to family and friends she has from growing up in Norman.

“For me, the best non-academic part about being at OU is having my family and high school friends here. It’s nice to be able to see my sister every day and having that extra support system is really beneficial when things get tough.”

Kaela hopes to begin research involving hail starting this fall.

“I just recently started an internship at the National Weather Center and will be using radar data to research hail. I’m just getting into the swing of things and still have a lot to learn until I’m ready to start the research, but it will be an amazing experience regardless!”

We are glad Kaela chose the School of Meteorology at OU and we wish her the best over the next few years in the program!