Student aims to create major out of passion for meteorology


Freshman Broadcast Journalism major Bobby Carroll, 19, is working with university officials to create a Meteorology major here at Kent State University. Bobby broadcasts his own weather forecasts online and works behind the scenes for TV2. Photo by ADRIANNE BASTAS.

Lyndsey Schley

When he was a child, freshman broadcast journalism Robert Carroll loved to watch storms. Since his father is in the construction business, he was taught from a young age to pay attention to the weather.

On most days, Carroll gets up at 6:30 a.m. to post the forecast he stayed up until 11:30 p.m. preparing. When there is a major weather system, he could be up all night.

“When there are major events expected to come, that nearly means 24 hours a day coverage, or as much as I can handle,” Carroll said.

Carroll now hopes to bring meteorology to Kent State, in the form of a minor or major concentration, he said.

“I’m just hoping to bring something unique to Kent State that I hope evolves into a major over the coming years,” Carroll said. “I know it was at the University of Akron and Kent a long time ago, but it’d be nice to bring it back to northern Ohio.”

Northeast Ohio currently has no such programs. Most Cleveland meteorologists got a broadcast journalism degree and then got their meteorology degrees online at Mississippi State University, Carroll said. Instead of getting multiple degrees, students could come out of college prepared for a job.

Meteorology takes a variety of skills, Carroll said.

“If you’re going on television, you have to study a variety of things from the broadcast journalism aspect of it,” Carroll said. “You have to know physics and mathematics and you have to have good communication and writing skills.”

A student coming forward to create his own major is “not unheard of, but it’s unusual,” said Stanley Wearden, dean of the College of Communication and Information.

“He’s shown a lot of initiative here,” Wearden said. “He’s clearly a very innovative thinker. When you have a student this interested in something, you really want to meet with them and hear them out.”

Before creating a minor, the university will have to figure out if there will be a demand, Wearden said. Due to the unique demands of meteorology, a collaboration with the College of Arts and Sciences would be necessary. They also would need to look for faculty interested in teaching the courses.

“After that, we’d have to put together a committee to start developing a curriculum then developing requirements,” Wearden said. “We have a pretty extensive review process. Every university does. The reason we do this is just so nobody’s duplicating anything that’s already been done, that a lot of eyes get a chance to look at it and we make sure this really is a good idea moving forward.”

At this point, there is no certainty that a meteorology minor will make it through this process, Wearden said.

“I personally find the idea very intriguing and it’s actually something that had occurred to me in the past,” Wearden said. “I know, for example, [Cleveland meteorologist] Dick Goddard is an alumnus of the university, but I had never really heard anything from the faculty about it so I really didn’t do anything with it. Now that I have a student who’s stepped forward and expressed such an interest in it, I really want to look into it and see if it makes sense for Kent State University and our college in particular.”

Whether the major goes through or not, Carroll will find a way to become a weatherman. For now, he’ll keep sharpening his skills tweeting pre-game forecasts for softball and baseball for TV2.

“I’m very honored and happy to do it for them,” Carroll said.

Contact Lyndsey Schley at [email protected].