What is PUMA?
The Purdue University Meteorological Association (PUMA) was approved as a student organization on May 2nd, 1990. Since then, we have been the feature club for students in the atmospheric science major. In 1997, we became a local chapter for the American Meteorological Society and are currently one of only three active chapters in Indiana. In the fall of 2012, PUMA became the Beta Kappa chapter of the National Weather Association.
PUMA’s main goals for members are to promote academic excellence, fellowship among students and faculty, and to provide opportunities for students interested in a career in the atmospheric sciences to network with established professionals as well as providing increased opportunities for job placement. PUMA also provides many outreach opportunities for members to go out and teach meteorology.
Many of our annual traditions include going to visit local news stations. Over the years we have visited WTHR in downtown Indianapolis, WGN in Chicago and in recent years WLFI in West Lafayette. This gives us an interesting look into what it looks like to work in the broadcast meteorology field. Another recent annual tradition that PUMA organizes is the National Weather Service Roadshow. Generally in the fall semester, we invite several National Weather Service branch managers to come talk to us about careers with the NWS and in the field as a whole. They will give us advice on how to secure a job and make yourself competitive in a tight job market. After the event, we will go out to eat at a local restaurant and enjoy conversation with the NWS members. This is a PUMA event that is specific to our department here at Purdue, and is a priceless experience if you look to secure a job in the field of operational meteorology. Looking to the spring semester, we have alumni from the club come back to talk to us about their experiences in finding a job or in attending graduate school. In addition, have different companies come to us looking to recruit students for summer internships like Southwest Airlines or WSI. These companies will give little warning ahead of time, but they provide more opportunities for summer internships. These are some of the events that you can expect annually as a PUMA member.
Participating in PUMA will be beneficial to any student who has an interest in weather and the study of it. Whether you are looking for a job or just a greater knowledge of the subject, the key to success in this club is simply active participation. In our field, you cannot be afraid to introduce yourself to professionals or other students. Doing this can lead to friendships, connections and JOB OPPORTUNITIES!