Senior Spotlight May 2020 – Trey Bell
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 Trey Bell! Growing up in Moore, Trey was drawn to meteorology at a young age, “I have had a profound interest in meteorology since I was in junior high. On May 10th, 2010, during a significant severe weather outbreak across Oklahoma, I was utterly fascinated with what I was seeing from the broadcast meteorologists on the television. From that point onward, I knew I was destined to study the atmosphere and become a meteorologist. Walking across the stage at my high school graduation in 2015, I had absolutely no idea how much my life would be changed in just the next few years.”
Trey traveled a path to graduation unlike anyone else. He tells his story:
I’ve lived in Moore, OK, my entire life. I survived not one, not two, but three (more, if you count some other less impactful events) tornadoes tearing through my hometown. Living this close to a prestigious meteorology program, like the one at OU, I never really considered other schools. After completing some gen-ed transfer credits at Oklahoma City Community College for a year after high school, I was accepted to the OU School of Meteorology in the Fall of 2016.
As it may be inferred from above, I specifically wanted to pursue a career in broadcast meteorology. During one of our first meetings as freshmen, instructions on what to do for those interested in broadcast were announced, and this led into one of the most significant ventures of my undergraduate career – OU Nightly.
OU Nightly was an unexpected privilege I was so fortunate to receive and introduced me to friends who have changed my life in unimaginable ways. Through OU Nightly, for the first time I was able to dip my toes into broadcasting by preparing and anchoring my own weather cast on a live televised newscast. During my time at OU Nightly, I gained invaluable skills that I will carry with me into the rest of my life.
During the Spring semester of my junior year, I completed Dr. Kevin Kloesel’s Applications of Weather Forecasting class, which opened my eyes to the endless range of ways an education in meteorology can be applied and utilized that I hadn’t necessarily considered before. I began to wonder whether broadcast was truly where I was meant to be.
During Summer 2019, I was an intern at KOKH FOX25 in Oklahoma City. The hands-on experience I gained in this position was so exciting and enriching. I got right in the trenches with all of the meteorologists at the station during the extremely active severe season in May and June of last year. The people at FOX25 were some of the coolest, down to Earth people I have ever met. I feel I have lifetime friends and mentors at that station.
Heading into my senior year, I was honored to have been chosen to serve as Senior Weather Producer for OU Nightly. In this role, I helped the OU Nightly leadership organize and lead the weather team as we learned and progressed through the semester.
During the Fall of 2019, I finally made a decision I had been pondering and meditating on for months – I would no longer pursue a career in broadcast meteorology. Immediately following this tough decision, I was quite lost on where my career was headed. What do you do when the path you’ve been on since 7th grade suddenly changes direction? Thankfully, another organization I am affiliated with provided an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.
At the end of my freshman year, I was hired on as a student operator at the Oklahoma Mesonet. In this position, I saw and played a part in all of the behind the scenes work needed to maintain such a robust weather observation network. In January of this year, I accepted a fulltime offer to join their team as a Quality Assurance Meteorologist. This is where I’m headed after graduation!
Speaking of January… Likely the most life changing experience of mine to date took place at the beginning of this year. The 100th annual American Meteorological Society Conference in Boston, MA provided a chance to explore the world and my field like never before. Me and a large group of my friends, whom by this point are family, took off on an adventure. On this journey, we met people from all over the world, learned new and exciting things about not only meteorology, but a near endless list of other disciplines as well. At the end of the student conference, I even participated in the poster presentations with a project I worked on with Dr. Chris Fiebrich. This project showcased how Mesonet information is utilized in the NWS warning process. Getting to explore Boston with my closest friends was a priceless treat, too.
Evidently, goodbyes are never truly final. For this spring’s severe weather season, I have also been hired on as a freelance meteorologist to help the KOKH FOX25 weather team with storm coverage as they search for another full time member to add to their team. Once again, I am beyond delighted to be offered an opportunity like this.
My favorite part of being an OU student was hands down the community. This major is truly impossible to complete by yourself – it requires a team. While everyone had close friends they saw and spent time with every day, by our senior year, we all recognized we were on the same team. Each and every person in our class is so special to me.
Looking forward, I hope to one day return to graduate school and help further our understanding of Earth’s climate system, while finding ways society can better prepare for extreme weather events in the future.
I’m not sure what lies ahead as I close this chapter in my life. But if the past is any indicator of the future – I’m sure it will be fun. Thank you, OU. You will forever have my heart.
Congratulations Trey! We are excited to see you around the National Weather Center and we can’t wait to see all you accomplish in the future. You have so much to be proud of!