Alumni Story

USC Rossier alum brings TV meteorologist to WonderKids’ classroom

By Dieuwertje Kast BS ’11, MS ’11, MAT ’14 Published on

“What does this large H (on a weather map) represent? H is for high pressure or happy weather. A large L is for low pressure or lousy weather!” This weather lesson was just part of what meteorologist Josh Rubenstein, the chief meteorologist for channels CBS 2 and KCAL 9, who has been with the station since 1997, had to share with students at 32nd Street School/USC Magnet on the last Wednesday morning of October. The visit was arranged through USC Joint Educational Project (JEP) and its WonderKids after-school program, with the intention of having these young students learn from Josh Rubenstein’s enthusiasm and passion for weather science.

The WonderKids program is just one of JEP’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) programs. Currently taking place at four neighborhood schools, WonderKids focuses on different fields of science through hands-on lesson plans and age-appropriate children’s literature.  Now in its third year, the program has already given children a taste of what it might be like to be a geologist, a chemist, a paleontologist and an environmental scientist, just to name a few careers. Each unit culminates with a classroom visit from professional scientists from the field of study to answer students’ many questions and to encourage them to pursue careers in STEM.

This semester, WonderKids is focusing on archaeology, polar science, climate change and meteorology. As the coordinator of JEP’s STEM programs, I wanted to invite a meteorologist to speak to some of our youngest budding scientists. When speaking to the 150 first through third graders, Rubenstein discussed different types of weather in California, such as water spouts, rain and snow; concepts like seasons and heat transfer; and how pressure and temperature affect our day-to-day life.

When asked why he wanted to become a meteorologist, he said, “I learned about meteorology when I was getting my pilot license and found that I have a passion for weather.” One of the students asked how much school you needed to become a weatherman, and Rubenstein said he earned his bachelor’s degree in speech communications from the University of Illinois, which prepared him to be on TV, and he then earned his certificate in Broadcast Meteorology from Mississippi State University.

“I enjoy visiting schools because I want to share my love of weather. I want to share the wonder of Mother Nature and teach students to be good weather watchers,” said Rubenstein.  “I want to teach them that the biggest part of weather is observing.”

To view more photos, visit Rossier’s Facebook page.

Dieuwertje “DJ” Kast BS ’11, MS ’11, MAT ’14 is the STEM program coordinator for the USC Joint Educational Project. WonderKids is a JEP after-school science program for first to third graders at seven schools: Foshay, Weemes, Vermont, Norwood, Mack, Norwood, and 32nd street. Read more about her previous collaboration with Goodyear Blimp.

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