Senior Spotlight May 2020 – Annalisa Sanfilippo
This year we are continuing our tradition of Senior Spotlights! With graduation postponed, it is more important than ever to highlight this spring’s graduating class.
The class of May 2020 is experiencing their last few weeks of college unlike any of those who came before them. It has been a tough time, but the seniors are adapting to new ways of learning and are continuing to celebrate their accomplishments thus far.
You may recognize Annalisa Sanfilippo from virtual commencement! Annalisa is also this year’s Outstanding Senior for the College of Atmospheric and Geographic Sciences.
As a young child, she knew meteorology was for her, “When I was little I would stare out of the car window at the clouds just wondering how the heck weather worked and what clouds really were. In first grade, we learned about different types of clouds and at that point, I knew I was going to pursue meteorology.”
Originally from California, it’s amazing that Annalisa knew about OU and the School of Meteorology when she was nine years old! “I learned about the OU School of Meteorology probably when I was nine years old and convinced myself that I was going to OU then. I always pictured myself going to OU, but it wasn’t until I visited that I truly knew OU was where I belonged. I visited 18 schools and applied to 11, but nothing compared to the warm welcome I received from the professors and faculty I spoke with when I came to visit OU. Also, the National Weather Center provides incredible facilities for students to learn and flourish; a large reason I chose OU. You seriously have to try to NOT get involved with something in the SoM and I love that about OU!” she told us.
Among her many opportunities at OU, Annalisa was able to spend one semester abroad. “I have so many favorite parts of OU it truly is hard to list them all. In terms of meteorology, studying abroad at the University of Reading in England was amazing. I made great memories with some of my best friends and got to travel to 12 different countries along the way! I also loved the Sooner Spirit here at OU, there is nothing quite like a Sooner football game or gymnastics meet. As a student at OU, I have also had the opportunity to be a cadet in Air Force ROTC, which has absolutely defined my future. It is amazing to be learning at one of the top schools of meteorology in the world, developing as a future leader in the Air Force, and making lifelong friends and memories all simultaneously!” she said.
Earning a meteorology degree is no easy task, and Annalinsa had more obstacles than the average student. “I would say the biggest obstacle for me was transitioning back into the School of Meteorology after my time abroad. Being away from the SoM and AFROTC for a semester allowed me to learn what free time was, but transitioning back was challenging. The initial transition to university life was also challenging. Moving 1600 miles away from home and adjusting to a new part of the country was different. But without a doubt, coming to OU is still one of the best decisions I have made. In general, I would say that the School of Meteorology in itself is a challenge. Succeeding in difficult and demanding classes on top of Air Force ROTC has required a lot of time and dedication, but looking back I would not have changed any part of my college career,” she said.
After overcoming, succeeding, and thriving as an undergraduate, Annalisa has a unique plan for the future. “Following graduation, I will be commissioning as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Air Force and attending Undergraduate Pilot Training. I am very excited to have had the opportunity to pursue both of my passions during my time at OU and am looking forward to a future of flying!” she said.
Congratulations Annalisa! The School of Meteorology is proud of all you have accomplished and we are excited to see what you do in the future.