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April 14, 2014

Boettcher’s eyes on the skies

NORMAN — Jami Boettcher credits the encouragement of a teacher for expanded her vision of opportunities that would be open to her. Without that encouragement she wouldn’t have found her way to a career as a meteorologist with the National Weather

Service.

“I grew up in a time when the expectation was that girls weren’t any good at math or science,” she recalls.

It was the words of her math teacher, Dan Lovett, who allowed her to pursue an education in science.

“I had aced one of his classes, and he encouraged me to move on to the next level. I thought I couldn’t do that and he told me I could do anything I wanted to do,” Boettcher said.

It wasn’t until her sophomore year at OU that she began to think of a career in meteorology.

She shares a common experience with many other meteorologists, namely they have experienced weather events that triggered their interest in the meteorology.

For her, it happened when she was just 9 years old while visiting family in Enid. While playing outside, the kids noticed the dark clouds and knew a storm was approaching.

“There were no storm warnings, no sirens at that time,” Boettcher said.

They did what people were advised to do in the case of a violent storm.

“We jumped in the car and drove to an underpass and parked,” Boettcher said.

She recalls seeing wood debris flying through the air that day, but she and the family were safe.

“The next day we drove around and looked at the damage,” Boettcher said.

Today, through her work as an instructor for the men and women who issue storm warnings, she knows lives are being saved by warnings issued by the 1,800 men and women around the country working in the National Weather Services’ monitoring stations. Many of those men and women she knows through their training at the National Weather Center.

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