Anxhelo Agastra

Anxhelo Agastra

"Critical thinking, job prospects, research experience"

College: Arts and Sciences
Degree Program: Meteorology
Degree: Master's

Why FSU?

FSU has the most comprehensive Meteorology program in the southeastern United States. I wanted to be at a school that I knew had a lot of resources in the field that I was interested in. In addition, Tallahassee is a perfect place to study the weather, as we get everything from hurricanes to tornadoes to the occasional bout of winter weather.

Motivation to pursue a graduate degree

I was interested in conducting research, but I also knew that a graduate degree would greatly improve my job prospects. In particular, many scientific jobs nowadays require knowledge of advanced math and programming, and those skills naturally come with a graduate degree. Indeed, I found navigating the job market and interviews to be fairly easy with my master's degree, as I had plenty of relevant experience and skills to keep the discussion going with potential employers.

Importance of research and work

My graduate research is important because prescribed fires remain a significant air quality and public health concern throughout the southeastern U.S. Many folks who have asthma or underlying health conditions will particularly complain about symptoms on bad air quality days, and the number of emergency room and hospital visits has been shown to go up on these days. Having a method in place to accurately predict when and where these burns will occur, in order to alert the public to oncoming smoke and health hazards, can provide great benefit to human health and society.

Advice for anyone considering graduate school

Do what you are interested in. Graduate school requires that the individual be intrinsically motivated, so choose a major professor and an area of research that genuinely interests you. Also, do not be scared to speak up and ask for help, as it can be a genuinely intimidating environment at first, but asking questions is one of the best things you can do for yourself.

Accomplishments during graduate career

I have received a couple of grants and awards: American Meteorological Society (AMS) Graduate Fellowship Award, AMS Outstanding Student Presentation Award, American Geophysical Union Outstanding Student Presentation Award. I am proud to have worked on my master's thesis and get it to point where it will soon be published in a scientific journal. I am also proud of having taught my very first meteorology class to undergraduates, having worked at Risk Management Solutions for over a year, and having been named a finalist in the Master's in Four competition at FSU!

Career aspirations

After graduation, I plan to work as a meteorologist in the area of risk management. I have been fascinated by natural disasters since I was a young boy, particularly hurricanes, and I have recently accepted a job as a meteorologist for a risk management company that provides hazard information for hurricanes and earthquakes. In addition, I am fascinated by the area of climate change and would like to conduct my own research/analysis into how climate change will impact extreme events.