Jeremiah Otero Piersante '18

Jeremiah Otero-Piersante '18
Current Position:
Ph.D. Candidate, SUNY Albany
Current Location:
Albany, N.Y.
Geoscience and Spanish & Hispanic Studies

I remember putting a lot of effort into the college search process back in high school. I knew immediately that I was attracted to the liberal arts, small school experience that also offered opportunities to pursue the sciences. Knowing that I wanted to stay somewhat close to my home in Rochester, my mom and I visited tons of colleges around New York State that aligned with my interests. HWS was always on the radar, but it was not until attending the Colleges’ Science Open House that I was really blown away. At this event I met Associate Professor of Geoscience Nick Metz and Professor of Geoscience Neil Laird and some students of the Geoscience Department, realized the Department’s unique focus on meteorology, and well, the rest is history.

Pretty much anyone you talk to who studies meteorology/atmospheric science/weather/whatever-you-want-to-call-it will tell you that their passion for this field manifested as a child. While I am totally one of these people, I had no idea that you could major in it, especially as an undergraduate at a small liberal arts school. I jumped right in, taking “Intro to Meteorology” the spring of my first-year, and declared my major as geoscience with a concentration in meteorology with Nick as my adviser.

I would not be where I am today without the advising and academic support provided by Nick, as well as other faculty members at the Colleges. After participating in summer research at HWS in meteorology, Nick pushed me to pursue other research internships which ultimately paved the way to applying to competitive graduate school programs. I cannot speak highly enough of the abundant summer research programs the Colleges offer; these internships give the same training as large research universities while allowing for constant one-on-one collaboration with professors. In addition to being introduced to real, applied research, this experience helped me develop professional skills such as communicating my work, networking at conferences, and finding genuine passion for the field.

Academics aside, HWS provided invaluable experiences for me to grow through interacting with other students and faculty. To name a few, I enjoyed my time as a co-captain of the Hobart cross country team, residential assistant, Kappa Alpha Society member, and studying abroad in Seville, Spain.

I am beyond grateful to have received my M.S. in atmospheric science at Colorado State University in May '20 for researching severe weather Argentina. Currently, I am pursuing a Ph.D. at SUNY Albany with a research focus on hurricanes.