Senior Spotlight: Jake Muller
The School of Meteorology is extremely proud of the graduates produced each year, knowing that OU Meteorology alumni go on to do amazing things. For the next few weeks, we’re publishing stories of our students who are excited about upcoming jobs, graduate school placements, or overcoming hardships to reach where they are today. Up next is Jake Muller!
Jake Muller is a graduating senior whose journey to meteorology took a somewhat winding path. While originally from Windermere, FL, Jake’s family moved to Dallas, TX in 2014, so he now considers the DFW metroplex his home base. Jake told us that he always had an interest in meteorology because he experienced his fair share of thunderstorms and hurricanes while growing up in Florida. A National Merit Scholar, Jake originally decided to pursue a chemistry degree at Auburn University in Alabama. About two years into this degree, Jake realized that it wasn’t for him, and started to do some research. After learning that meteorology was a viable career option, he says he “never looked back.”
In Fall 2015, Jake transferred to OU and immediately got involved. He served as a Weather Friend, playing Dr. Disaster for several semesters, was the Deputy Director of Operations for OWL (the Oklahoma Weather Lab), served as a School of Meteorology Student Ambassador, an Education Abroad Ambassador, and as treasurer of the Sooner Tennis Club. Jake tells us that of all of these, serving as a School of Meteorology Student Ambassador was his favorite role. The Student Ambassadors are a fairly new group, and Jake is part of the inaugural class. These volunteers are members of the scholarship cohort and give of their time to meet prospective students, show them around campus, communicate via email or telephone, attend special events, etc. Jake told us a little about his involvement with the most recent special recruitment event: “At Sooner Saturday, I had a 45-minute conversation with a prospective student and his mother, and afterwards I took them on a tour of the NWC. When we were all done, she said that our conversation made their trip out to OU from South Carolina worthwhile. I thought it was awesome that I could make that kind of difference in their college decision process since I know it’s a very difficult choice to make.”
Another program Jake was able to blaze the trail for was the newly-minted Norman office internship for Weather News International, a Japanese company that specializes in risk communication for shipping, fishing, construction, and other industries. This important private-sector internship allows 3 students at a time to work with the full-time forecasters and learn new skills. Jake told us “Interning at Weathernews was a great opportunity to learn more about an industry that I knew very little about before this year. While I ended up deciding to go to graduate school and not enter the private sector immediately, I really value my time at Weathernews because it gave me some insight into another career path available to me. I highly recommend pursuing some kind of private sector internship, at Weathernews or otherwise, if you are at all interested in the intersection between business and meteorology!”
Jake also participated in the School of Meteorology’s reciprocal exchange program, spending the spring of his junior year at Reading University in the UK. While there, Jake was able to learn from and research with some of the top British meteorologists, meet students who were preparing to study at OU, and travel all over the United Kingdom and Europe. When describing his study abroad experience, Jake said “Studying abroad was an incredible experience. I was able to learn in a completely different environment and gain an invaluable new perspective on meteorology from my professors and classmates in Reading. Making it to 11 different countries during my time in Europe wasn’t so bad either.”
However, he had to hurry back across the Atlantic – there was an REU (Research Experience for Undergrads) waiting. Jake spent Summer 2017 at Penn State University, doing what he described as an “incredible hands-on research project that set the stage for my desire to pursue a master’s degree.” This didn’t make the decision easy, though – Jake tells us that it wasn’t until the winter break of this, his senior year, that he really decided to pursue graduate school. This was just in time for the American Meteorological Society’s annual meeting, so he was able to meet with a professor whose work interested him, as well as a few graduate students. His experience and hard work stood by him, and he was able to accept an offer from the Texas A&M Department of Atmospheric Sciences the day after his invited visit to their campus.
We’re so appreciative of Jake’s service to the School as a Student Ambassador, and we know that he’ll do great things at Texas A&M. Congratulations, Jake!