Climatologist and Instructor Nyasha Dunkley: Follow Your Passion

When Georgia State Instructor and Deputy State Climatologist Nyasha Dunkley was young, one of her greatest fears was darkness. She’d watch the Weather Channel during every storm to gauge when to light the candles.

N: Every time a storm passed over our home, it would knock out our electricity.

And it was this rare process of overcoming that fear that led her to her passion: meteorology. Ms. Dunkley officially began her career as a meteorologist 16 years ago, but feels her career germinated when she first huddled around that TV set.

N: My original career goal was to become a television meteorologist. Thus, my undergraduate degree in Broadcast Journalism and graduate degree in Earth & Atmospheric Science from Georgia Tech. While in graduate school, I taught a synoptic meteorology lab where we learned practical weather forecasting skills. After a stint working at CNN, I discovered that the fast-paced world of television was not my preference and began working for state government as an air quality meteorologist with the Department of Natural Resources.

Sometime in between, she found that she could use teaching to empower others. She has been featured in the Atlanta Tribune’s cover story on “Women in Technology.” Furthermore, Nyasha is consistently looked toward for her expertise in air quality, often appearing on TV and radio shows like NPR’s “A Closer Look.”

And it’s clear that passion is the foundation of Nyasha’s ethos and that sharing it with others comes naturally to her.

N: Weather and climate are my passion, so I love conveying that passion to my students. I enjoy the look of recognition and understanding on their faces as I show how science is dynamic and relevant to their everyday lives.

But keeping that excitement going poses challenges even for Nyasha, who teaches courses for the Geosciences Department.

N: Not every student enjoys science, or even has an ounce of interest in it. It’s challenging to spark that interest and hold it throughout the semester.

But her parting words reflect her positive contribution to her students in her five years of teaching – ten total, counting other school like Georgia Perimeter College, Troy University, and Albany State University – for Georgia State.

N: I always tell my students to follow their passion. Pursue a career that they would be willing to do, even if they never got paid for it.


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