Senior Spotlight May 2020 – James Cuellar

Senior Spotlight May 2020 – James Cuellar

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.

Meet James Cuellar! Like many others, James has known he wanted to study meteorology for a long time, “I’ve known that I’ve wanted to become a meteorologist from a young age because of a weather event that occurred on my birthday. I wanted to know why and how it happened and simply became obsessed with trying to understand the weather and all of the processes that make up the atmosphere.”

Originally from Texas, James didn’t have his heart set on any one college until he saw the National Weather Center, “Throughout the years, I wasn’t set on what school I wanted to attend, but after visiting OU during my senior year of high school, I knew I wanted to be here. I was blown away by the opportunities available by working and studying in the National Weather Center. I knew that studying in that building with all of the people who knew so much about meteorology would provide me the opportunity to learn more.”

As James continued to grow his meteorological knowledge, he also grew personally and overcame many things in his time at OU. “I overcame, and in some aspects, I am still overcoming some mental health issues. I was bullied until I got into high school, and that really put me into a shell. I feel like I’ve made so much progress breaking out of that shell, and I think I can attribute that to all of the amazing friends that I have made since I’ve been here. I’ve been able to have more confidence in myself in terms of my knowledge and forming really close-knit friendships that will last a lifetime,” he said.

James has been a very active member of the School of Meteorology student organizations, and that made up some of the best parts of the last four years. “My favorite part about being a student in the OU SOM is all of the amazing people that I’ve met and talked to throughout the years; from friends to experts in their respective fields. It has opened my eyes so much to what I can do with meteorology. The event that I participated in that I would say really stands out to me was taking part in the Warning Decision Training Division workshops hosted by the Oklahoma Weather Lab. It opened my eyes to see a small part in a National Weather Service forecaster’s job and it made me want to pursue research and career in the realm of forecasting and decision making,” he told us.

In the state of the world today, many things are uncertain about the future, but James is never going to give up on his goals. “My goal is to get into graduate school and see where life takes me from there. I’m having to take a gap year, but come 2021, I hope to continue furthering my studies and hopefully some research opportunities,” he said.

Congratulations James! The School of Meteorology is looking forward to what comes next for you. Your future is bright!