Alumna goes from graduation to on-air local meteorologist
Katherine Schwalm credits CMU for this moment in her career
Ever since watching Storm Chasers on the Weather Channel as a young child, recent Central Michigan University alumna, Katherine Schwalm (BS ’22), knew she wanted to be a meteorologist. Within days of graduating from CMU in August, Schwalm applied for jobs in local television news and quickly heard back from an executive representing WENY-TV in Elmira, NY.
“He asked me, ‘How quickly can you get here? Can you get here in two weeks?’ Schwalm said. “And I was like, ‘sure.’ It was a whirlwind, but right now, I feel really proud of where I’m at.”
Schwalm gives CMU a lot of credit for how she got to this moment in her career. The Harmony, PA, native said both parents went to college in Michigan, and after touring CMU while in high school, she knew it was right for her.
“I loved the campus. It wasn’t too big or too small. And I loved the meteorology program at CMU. Everyone is very close to their professors, you know them by name, and they know you by name. I’d rather have that than a professor not knowing who I am in a 600-person lecture.”
Her relationship with her professors was the key to going from a struggling undergraduate student to gaining the knowledge it takes to graduate with a degree in meteorology.
“Each professor specializes in something. Dr. Marty Baxter is really good at snowfall; John Allen is really good at severe thunderstorms. Each meteorology professor at CMU brings one specialty aspect to the table. And they care about us. The minute they see you’re struggling, they’ll reach out, they’ll help you as much as they can, to the point where you will know what you’re doing, and you’ll feel like an expert.”
She shared one of her favorite on-campus memories:
“Launching the weather balloon our freshmen year as a class really bonded us all together. It was raining but it was so much fun. I was also in a sorority at CMU, Phi Mu. Everyone was so nice, and I liked the philanthropy aspect of it. Doing all that charity work was a lot of fun.”