Raegan Medgie wanted to expand her knowledge of weather forecasting but needed a program that fit her life and career as a TV broadcaster in New York.
She found the knowledge and flexibility in the online weather forecasting certificate program through Penn State World Campus.
Medgie is a reporter, meteorologist, and anchor at FOX5 News in New York and earned a weather forecasting certificate online through Penn State World Campus in 2021. She earned her broadcast journalism undergraduate degree in 2003 and worked at various local affiliate TV stations in northeastern Pennsylvania and New York before landing a reporting job at The Weather Channel.
“It was during my time at The Weather Channel where I realized that weather is pretty cool,” Medgie said, noting that she did not specialize in meteorology when she got her bachelor’s degree.
She served as the New York–based national correspondent and reported on winter storms, floods, hurricanes, wildfires, and other weather events. Medgie got airtime on Wake Up with Al, AMHQ with Sam Champion, MSNBC shows, and local New York broadcasts.
Medgie transitioned back to local stations in New York City after her contract ended at The Weather Channel. Her positions were set to focus on news reporting, but weather forecasting was a recurring opportunity. Medgie knew she had the experience, but felt she lacked the specialized education.
When Medgie moved to FOX5, meteorology once again presented itself as a career opportunity. She had researched meteorology degree programs around 2015 but said the cost and time commitment did not make sense at that point in her life.
Fast-forward to January 2020, when Medgie decided to revisit her search, including online program options at Penn State. The cost and yearlong time commitment were both attainable with her career, she said.
Medgie enrolled in the Undergraduate Certificate in Weather Forecasting program. The courses in the certificate program are taught by faculty from the world-renowned Department of Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences in the Penn State College of Earth and Mineral Sciences.
The four courses in the certificate teach students how to develop models, analyze forecasts, and better understand the impact of weather systems. The program is aimed at weather enthusiasts, storm chasers, forecasters, and anyone who relies on weather data to perform their job duties. Medgie was accepted in February 2020 and began her courses in May, two months after the COVID-19 pandemic began.
“I lucked out, that during a time when no one can do anything or go anywhere, I was tied to this program,” Medgie said. “But I got out of it a very good, strong understanding of meteorology.”
While others were able to work from home, Medgie could not because of her profession. She reported in the epicenters and virus hotspots during the pandemic.
“In between my live shots, I would sit and study, read, take notes, take a quiz, review a quiz, work on a project … everything,” she said.
Medgie’s workday as a morning reporter begins around 1:00–3:00 a.m. with her wake-up alarm. Her shift ends at 10:00 a.m., before others may even wake up for the day, so finding a flexible education option was essential.
“This program allows you to find those nooks and crannies of time to get the mission and the lessons done,” she said.
Since completing the program in December 2021, Medgie said, she has gained confidence and her producers now utilize her for weather segments.
“I have another great tool in my tool belt of things I can do on air. And in a time when everyone is asked to do more than one job, it is really beneficial,” she said.
Medgie credits her news background in aiding her weather-reporting style.
“I can better humanize weather and better tell the story of Mother Nature through words,” she said. “This expands my ability as a storyteller; I feel like I have the best of two worlds.”
Learn more about the Undergraduate Certificate in Weather Forecasting that is offered online through Penn State World Campus.