Senior Spotlight: Jordan Van Auken
The School of Meteorology is extremely proud of its graduates 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. Next up is Jordan Van Auken!
Jordan’s interest in weather was sparked in fourth grade when her class was given binoculars to look at clouds. They had to identify them one by one. Originally, she wanted to be a volcanologist, but as time went on, the constantly evolving nature of weather gradually led her to replace volcanology with meteorology.
In seventh grade, she tells us, it dawned on her that she could go to the University of Oklahoma to study weather. She is from Broken Arrow, OK, which is only a few hours from the OU-Norman campus. This would allow her to stay in her home state while studying Meteorology. On a Thursday, May 30, 2013, she saw her first tornado. Jordan was outside when the tornado started touching down and the tornado sirens went off. She ran inside to her safe place, and her mom watched from the window. The tornado was far away, but she remembers her mom saying “Jordan come look! Wait, stay there! Okay, come look!” Jordan saw her first tornado from her own house, and she knew then that she had made the right decision to become a meteorologist!
According to Jordan, attending college only a few hours away from family was overwhelming and exciting! In the current curriculum, the first class students take is called Orientation to Professional Meteorology. Jordan recalled the instructor, Dr. Fred Carr (now a professor emeritus) saying “Look to your left. Look to your right. Only one of you will be graduating in this program”. She had no idea the statement would turn out to be true for her class.
One of the first organizations Jordan joined was the OU Student Chapter of the American Meteorological Society and National Weather Association, where she also became involved with the Weather Friends. The Weather Friends allows students to dress up as different types of weather-themed superheroes to promote weather safety and awareness. Jordan served as Tropical Cyclone, Swirl Girl, and Tempest during her time as a Weather Friend. In Jordan’s senior year, she became the co-chair of the New Student Mentorship Program, where juniors and seniors mentor new students, such as meteorology transfers and freshmen.
Jordan also had a huge life adjustment in May of 2018! She got married to Bryce Van Auken and went through changing her last name from “Holt” to “Van Auken.” She also added a new family member, Zephyr, her chihuahua, to the mix only a few months before.
Many students face hardships and challenges while in College, and things were no different for Jordan. She only took out student loans for freshmen year and has worked her way to pay for each semester of college. Jordan took the leap from Chili’s restaurant to Data Transmission Network (DTN) in April of 2018. She wanted to get the weather experiences she needed to help her land a job later in life. Little did she know that she would want to stay with DTN after graduation. Right now, she is a Customer Success Assistant and helps build itineraries for a cruise line and makes sure the client’s events and assets are set up correctly. In March 2020, she hopes to become one of DTN’s operational forecasters!
After graduation, Jordan is moving to North Carolina, where she will work for DTN from home until her husband finishes his commitment to the Marine Corps. At that time, they plan to move back to Oklahoma to be closer to Jordan’s job and family.
We appreciate Jordan’s service to the School of Meteorology and look forward to seeing what she accomplishes next!