Charley Fite, a senior meteorology major and member of UHP, has participated in some unique internship opportunities during the past summers. Charley spent the summer of 2016 in Raleigh as a Forecast Meteorologist Intern at the North Carolina Division of Air Quality (NCDAQ) through the NC Government's 'State of North Carolina Internship Program. Building upon his experience during the summer of 2016, Charley spent the summer of 2017 in Southern California interning with the NASA Student Airborne Research Program (SARP).
Charley’s day to day tasks at NCDAQ involved looking at meteorological models and data to analyze how weather influences air quality in NC. After gathering this information, Charley helped to write forecasts which informed the public of the air quality in their region, specifically the tropospheric ozone and particle pollution concentrations. These forecasts were made available to the public via the morning and afternoon forecast discussions, the NCDAQ website, social media, and telephonic system.
In his internship with NASA, Charley gained research experience studying atmospheric chemistry while flying in one of NASA’s airborne laboratories, where he collected and analyzed samples of air pollution in the Los Angeles Basin and California’s Central Valley. Charley credits his meteorology education at UNC Charlotte with helping him to understand many of the things he researched with NASA. Specifically, it has helped him to understand the ways that air pollution concentrates in the atmosphere of a region based on meteorological conditions. Beyond getting to work in a NASA facility and seeing some of their fascinating technology, Charley’s favorite part about the internship was the connections he made with the students, mentors, and NASA scientists. Charley has been able to network with and learn from scientists that have done research all over the world in places like Antarctica and Greenland. After completing the internship, Charley has gained a firmer knowledge of how to conduct research in his field and feels more prepared for graduate school.
Through both of his internships, Charley confirmed his passion for not only weather, but for environmental health and awareness as well. Charley ultimately hopes to find a job that allows him to either advocate for environmental causes or help the public become more aware of them.