Earth, Atmospheric, and Geographic Information Sciences

EAGIS Alumni

Nick Stewart

Nicholas Stewart - Meteorologist at KGAN, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

B.S. Meteorology

Nick has been with KGAN since December of 2017. Prior to KGAN, Nick was the weekend meteorologist at KHQA in Quincy, Illinois for two years.

Aside from normal weather reporting during the week, Nick is also the station storm chaser during severe weather situations. He has covered multiple tornadoes live on television giving advanced warning to those in the path. He has won multiple awards including best breaking news coverage and best weather coverage.

Kelsi Carney

Kelsi Carney - Staff Sergeant/E-5 at Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma

B.S. Meteorology, 2016

Kelsi enlisted in the Air Force during her last year at WIU. She went to basic training in San Antonio, TX, technical training in Mississippi, and now has been stationed at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma for the last four years as a staff sergeant/E-5. In Nov 2020, Kelsi has been featured in a military recruiting video.

Kelsi came to WIU from Cedar Rapids, IA, because the school offers a meteorology degree. "I found WIU and it was the first and only campus I toured because I immediately knew it was the school I wanted," she said. "I loved the small campus; you're able to walk to any class within a reasonable amount of time. I also loved the huge gym and I liked that it wasn't in a crowded city."

She said that WIU prepared her for this career by giving her background knowledge in weather, which is a big part of air traffic control work. "I'm able to teach my trainees and peers deeper knowledge into weather processes and things to look for to know what our weather may become (for example, if our temperature and dew point are equal or nearly equal, you can likely expect some sort of precipitation to occur)," she said. "Beyond my degree, being able to live on my own at WIU prepared me greatly for life outside college, understanding how to budget for bills and how to be an independent adult essentially."

Carney said her goal is to be a chief master sergeant/E-9 by the time she retires. She said reaching her goal would pull her a bit out of her career field for broader leadership. "I'd like to become a command chief, allowing me to be the chief of an entire base," she said. "Shooting even further, I'd love to be the chief master sergeant of the Air Force one day, meaning I'd be the highest enlisted member in the force. I'd work out of the Pentagon and visit bases all around the globe to discuss the changes airmen would like to see under my command."

Eric Petry

Eric Petry - Operational Control Specialist (OCS) for Survival Flight Incorporated

B.S. Meteorology

Survival Flight Incorporated is an emergency medical aviation transport company that provides on-site medical care to patients. "As an OCS, my job requirements consist of communicating with medical crews to provide medical air transport across six different states, as well as weather forecasting and reporting for our aircraft."

"The Western Illinois University meteorology program prepared me for this job excellently. The rigorous courses I took helped me understand surface and upper-atmospheric weather which certainly helps with aviation forecasting. Overall, the knowledge I obtained at Western Illinois University helped me land a job in the aviation meteorology sector, and am I thankful for this opportunity."

Jared Maples

Jared Maples - National Weather Service in Grand Rapids, MI

B.S. Meteorology

Heather Zimmerle

Heather Zimmerle - Physical Oceanographer with Woods Hole Group in Houston, TX

B.S. Meteorology

“After graduating with my meteorology degree, I decided to join the oceanography graduate program at Texas A&M University. After graduating, I was hired as a physical oceanographer with a consulting company in the Houston, TX area. I serve as an observational analyst for my company's EddyWatch and SurveyWatch programs. Every day, I look at various types of ocean data, including our deployed drifting buoys, rig-mounted ADCPs (Acoustic Doppler Current Profilers) as well as satellite imagery to identify circulation features and flows in the Gulf of Mexico and offshore northeastern South America. I also perform real-time ocean monitoring for clients, primarily in the oil and gas industry, and provide a 3-5 day forecast for conditions so they can make important decisions regarding operations.”

Jerrad Dringman

Jerrad Dringman - GIS Specialist, Burns & McDonnell Engineering in Kansas City, KS

B.S. Meteorology

Jerrad was hired shortly after graduation. He works as a GIS Specialist in support to the Environmental Services division. He has worked on GIS support for various projects across the country including transmission lines, pipelines, airports, bathymetric mapping, bat habitat surveys, archaeological surveys, wetland surveys and electrofishing projects. GIS support can come in the form of figure creation, analysis, model building, public open houses, mobile project creation, GPS collection, public utility hearings, teaching GIS and more.

Paige Ehrecke

Paige Ehrecke - Seasonal Assistant Naturalist at the Wapsi River Environmental Education Center in Dixon, IA

M.A. Geography

"Our staff consists of only 5 people, so I get to do a huge variety of activities! Most are related to biology (my undergraduate degree). My routine includes activities ranging from educational programs, to marketing, to animal care, to site maintenance, to invasive plant removal, and even some erosion management. My degree does really come in handy when it comes down to this point, as I studied moss and erosion for my thesis."

Michael Bruner

Michael Bruner - Planner at Tri-County Regional Planning Commission (TCRPC)

M.A. Geography

TCRPC serves the local government planning needs of Peoria, Tazewell, and Woodford counties in central Illinois. As a planner at TCRPC, Michael works mostly on environmental projects. Most notably, Michael was the Project Facilitator for Peoria Lakes Comprehensive Conservation Plan that was completed in Fall 2018. Michael received his master’s degree in Geography and Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Community Development at Western Illinois University in Fall 2015.

Ryan Wichman

Ryan Wichman - Meteorologist, WTOL-TV (CBS affiliate) in Toledo, OH

B.S. Meteorology

"I love forecasting the weather following our snowiest winter in the past 140 years, but the past few weeks I put on my 'station scientist' hat to cover our Lake Erie algae problem. It looks like I will be doing a lot of stories on that over the next few years (or longer) alongside my typical weather duties. I must admit I enjoy the scientific reporting! It has been pretty fun so far - and it's good to get out of the office!"

Natalie Jackson

Natalie Jackson

B.S. Meteorology

"This summer, and most summers, I choose seasonal work and jump from place to place bringing my passion with me. This year happens to be at this awesome college! My objective has been to share how to predict past and upcoming weather patterns by tracking clouds, temperature and wind (CTW) through observation. Most of the time I'm instructing on a wilderness trip where technology is not present and or at a camp. Some locations have included the MN, WI, CA, IN, MT, AK and Saskatchewan Canada. Some programs can go for 45 days and participants really get a chance to see patterns for a specific season."

Devin Biggs

Devin Biggs - Meteorologist, WJFW in Rhinelander, WI

B.S. Meteorology, 2017

Devin got his first broadcasting experience in live TV when he interned for another NBC affiliate, WAND-TV 17 in Decatur, Illinois, in the summer of 2015. Devin’s experience grew when he was recruited to be the weather anchor for NEWS3, the on-campus TV station from January 2016 until he graduated. Additionally, Devin created forecasts for Tri-States Public Radio throughout his college years. Devin is proud to call himself the No. 1 Leatherneck fan. On days they play, especially in football and basketball, you can expect Devin to be cheering his alma mater.

"I love forecasting the weather following our snowiest winter in the past 140 years, but the past few weeks I put on my 'station scientist' hat to cover our Lake Erie algae problem. It looks like I will be doing a lot of stories on that over the next few years (or longer) alongside my typical weather duties. I must admit I enjoy the scientific reporting! It has been pretty fun so far - and it's good to get out of the office!"

Kevin Chierek

Kevin Chierek - Meteorologist, WAND-TV in Decatur, IL

B.S. Meteorology

Stephen Struebig

Stephen Struebig - Program Manager, Campbell Scientific in Logan, UT

B.S. Meteorology

Stephen has been working with meteorological instrumentation for over ten years and is currently the Program Manager for Remote Sensing Services at Campbell Scientific (Logan, UT). Stephen previously worked at The Kentucky Mesonet as a Meteorology Electronics Technician where he did the original design and deployment of weather stations for the Mesonet. He also worked in the WeatherHawk Division of Campbell Scientific focusing on pre-configured weather stations used in education, emergency management, and industrial automation. His current position is within the Renewable Energy Group and focuses on use of ground based wind Lidar in the Wind Energy Industry. “I’ve been extremely lucky to work in an area of meteorology that truly piques my interest. I would not be where I am without the education, skills, and mentorship I received at WIU.”

Tim Gross

Tim Gross - National Weather Service in Davenport, IA

B.S. Meteorology

Geoff Eberle

Geoff Eberle - Navy METOC (Meteorology and Oceanography) Officer

B.S. Meteorology

Geoff performs a wide variety of duties depending on where he is stationed. Currently he is a Flag Aide to the Oceanographer and Navigator of the Navy. His previous duties include conducting near shore oceanography and meteorological support to Naval Special Warfare, conducting hydrographic surveys of both near port and larger ocean areas, tropical weather forecasting at our Joint Typhoon Warning center, or working at the regional weather centers located in Norfolk and San Diego.