Meet ATMOS undergraduate Victoria Wilson. She’s a senior from Clinton, IL, who’s a member of the LAS Leaders and the LAS Alumni Association Board, an Atmos Ambassador, plays Illinois Club Softball, and is preparing for a summer internship with AXIS Research Center.
Tell us about the activities you've been involved in while at Illinois:
I am very thankful for everything I have been involved in during my time here at UIUC so far. I have been a member of SCAMS, LAS Leaders, the LAS Alumni Association Board, Atmos Ambassadors, Illinois Club Softball and several intramural activities. I have also held a few different leadership positions within these organizations. I am also a TA for ATMS 120, provide updates to the department website, and serve as the student member representative for the Department of Atmospheric Sciences Alumni Council.
What has been your favorite experience so far at the University, and within the Department?
My favorite experience so far at the University was this past football and basketball season especially. Illini Football showed some promise and had two phenomenal comeback games against Wisconsin and Michigan State, one of which I was in attendance. As football came to a close, Illini Basketball took over and gave Illini Nation a spectacular season, up until it was cut short by the effects of COVID-19.
Within the department, my favorite experience has been volunteering at the Engineering Open House for the past two years. I loved teaching others about weather, especially kids whose faces lit up as soon as you showed them a tornado in a bottle or released a weather balloon into the sky.
What activities and hobbies do you have outside of school?
Outside of class, I love to run, read, watch sports, spend time with friends, and have also developed a new interest in photography (clouds mainly of course). I ran the half marathon here in Champaign in 2018 and have been training to run it again this year, but it was postponed. On the bright side, I have more time to train and better my performance! My obsession with sports is a very close second to my obsession with weather. I have always been a huge sports fan and played pretty much every sport that was offered in my town, including five sports throughout high school. Luckily many of my hobbies involve my friends and family, which is very valuable to me.
What are your professional goals, and what are you doing now to prepare for these (e.g., internships, etc.)?
My fascination with weather started as a fear when my hometown was hit by an EF-3 tornado in 2003. Once I got over this fear, I discovered what I wanted to strive for in my future endeavors, helping society be prepared for the weather and its effects. I have always stuck to this aspiration and continue to try to gain as much experience as I can to support this goal and learn as much as possible to make this dream a reality. I have been fortunate enough to gain experience through television (WAND-TV internship), the government (NWS Lincoln summer volunteer), and recently accepted an internship offer within the private sector (AXIS Research Center). Through these experiences and a couple of job shadows I observed, I believe I am on the right track to support my goal and push forward in gaining knowledge about the societal and social impacts of weather.