Two DAES Students Doing Double Duty as TV Weather Reporters
ALBANY, N.Y. (March 10, 2020) – The Capital Region’s local NBC news affiliate has added more Great Danes to its “First Warning Weather Team.”
Allison Finch and Christina Talamo, both seniors in the Department of Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences (DAES), were recently offered the opportunity to join UAlbany alums Paul Caiano ’93 and Reid Kisselback ’17 as weather anchors for WNYT NewsChannel 13. Finch is on air during the Thursday noon report and Sunday morning shows; Talamo during the Friday noon report and Saturday morning shows.
Both students want to pursue careers in broadcast meteorology. Finch is a former intern at the NYS Mesonet and Channel 3 WFSB in Connecticut. Talamo also is a former intern at the NYS Mesonet, along with NBC New York in New York City. She is currently interning at the National Weather Service in Albany.
We had a chance to visit them on set to take photos and pose some questions:
What has this WNYT experience taught you?
Allison Finch: This experience taught me that there is a bit of a disconnect through the academic part of schooling and putting it in the real applications of life. Schooling was very scientific, and I don’t regret that, but being able to turn it into a more general viewpoint for everyone to understand has been the biggest challenge for me, because people obviously don’t know every single term within atmospheric science. I have to make everything explainable in three minutes and none of it is scripted. A benefit is definitely that I’ve gotten my feet wet with something I want to do after college – while I’m still in college.
Christina Talamo: It’s taught me how to network, talk to people and put myself out there, and not be afraid of being shut down. I wanted to learn from these people and I was able to get a job out of this and get the hands-on experience. It’s benefitted me towards my future because it’s solidified knowing what I want to do for the rest of my life.
How has DAES helped prepare you?
Allison Finch: If it wasn’t for UAlbany’s atmospheric sciences program, I definitely don’t think I’d be where I am today. The department has given me so many opportunities. I was able to go to Greenland, I interned for the New York State Mesonet junior year, which helped me get into the TV side, and my professors really believed in me and motivated me even though it was really hard. DAES professor Kristen Corbosiero really pushed me, and if it wasn’t for her I wouldn’t have the support I needed to get through it. It’s a very small major and it’s personalized so they all give a helping hand.
Christina Talamo: We’re the No. 1 meteorologist school in New York, which is why I came here, and we have such brilliant professors with a science background. We have such a small, close-knit department where each professor can give you that hands-on help – and they really do genuinely care. You can go to them for everything schoolwise, and for life advise so it’s very personalized.
How do you handle the nerves while broadcasting?
Allison Finch: I got really nervous the first couple of times. I trained there for about a month and there’s not a lot of people at the station, but it’s just knowing that a ton of people are out there watching is definitely a bit nerve-wracking. The way I cope with it is just being myself and understanding I have my own personality and that’s what’s going to be shown on camera. And if I do make a mistake, it happens. No one is perfect, so I try to remember those things when I go on air.
Christina Talamo: I get really nervous, but once the camera light goes on I feel OK. Which is kind of weird, but it’s a good thing because it’s just the camera and you. It’s not a speech in front of hundreds of people – it’s as if you’re talking to grandma at home about the weather. It's more of a conversational thing and it’s just simplifying the science into a way where everyone can understand it.
What has it been like balancing being a weather reporter and a student?
Allison Finch: This semester I’m only taking three courses. I haven't struggled too hard balancing it. On the weekends it’s just tough because I have to sleep so early so I can wake up early. I’m learning so much through this experience, so that keeps me pushing.
Christina Talamo: I’m taking three classes, but I also intern at the National Weather Service. I also do research in the atmospheric science department with Professor Corbosiero to present my honors thesis at the end of the year. It’s a lot during the week, but I do the TV stuff on Fridays and Saturdays so it’s when I actually have more free time.
Do you plan on pursuing broadcast meteorology as a career?
Allison Finch: This is what I’ve wanted to do since sophomore year of high school. Now that I’m working at Channel 13 I know it’s something I want to keep doing after college and I would really like to stay within New York or Connecticut.
Christina Talamo: I definitely want to be a broadcast meteorologist on air after I graduate. As of right now, I’m pursuing that and I’d obviously love to continue at Channel 13 because it’s been such a great start and so helpful and hands-on. It’s been an incredible environment.