GROWing Into the Job

WNBC Meteorologist Erica Grow says that a career in science was always the plan. But, she wasn't always going to be a TV Weather Anchor. 

The New Jersey Herald says that when Grow was in first grade, she was so interested in space, her teacher let have one day a week to teach her classmates about a new planet. In fourth grade, she founded the science club at her school.

As a student at Penn State University, Grow knew she wanted to have a job that pays well, so she began her freshman year as a pre-med student, majoring in biology. But, after taking an ecology class, Grow discovered meteorology, which would soon become her career path.

What many do not know, Grow said, is that to even begin working on a degree in meteorology, a student must complete calculus one, two and three, along with completing ordinary and differential equations. She obtained her meteorology degree in 2002.

Meteorology careers including storm trackers, oceanographers or have a career focusing on air quality. Grow decided to become a news weather forecaster.

As a part of NBC's Storm Team 4, Grow has to combine her knowledge of the advanced sciences of how to determine the weather with the ability to communicate the information in a way the general public can understand it.

This, Grow explains is one of the most difficult aspects of a forecaster. "Sure meteorology is about science," Grow said, "but it is also about skillful communication."

Aside from the challenges in her career, Grow talked about challenges women face in most science careers.

"Men often get the benefit of the doubt," Grow said, "Early in my career, I always had to prove myself."

When she began her career in Texas, Grow often was called weather girl and many assumed that because she is a woman, she didn't know what she was doing.

Grow said that because of that assumption, she would use complicated terminology when on the air. She later realized viewers couldn't understand what she was saying and that she was overcompensating for the way others treated her.

Grow, a scientist at heart, loves nothing more than sharing her passion for weather and science with others. As a STEM mentor (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) through the National Girls Collaborative Project, Grow volunteered at the Franklin Institute Science Museum in Philadelphia speaking to thousands of schoolchildren of all ages about the science of weather.