Alumni News

October 12, 2015 at 10:15 am

Meteorologist Alum Recounts Desperate Desire for a Snow Day

Ryan Phillips

Ryan Phillips ’00

By Cecilia Ellis ’16

“This is a success story,” says Dr. Ryan Fogt, Associate Professor of Geography, as he introduces alum Ryan Phillips ’00 to a packed classroom in Clippinger on Sept. 11.

Phillips—who earned a B.S. in Geography-Meteorology in 2000—has taken his profession by storm, working as the morning and mid-day meteorologist for WTVJ in Miami, FL. He has been accredited by the National Weather Association, funded national scholarships for undergraduate meteorology students, and received a Broadcast Meteorologist certification from the American Meteorological Society.

Phillips started his meteorology career with several years of experience at Ohio University’s Scalia Lab as a forecaster. He interned at WSYX with Mike Bettes of the Weather Channel in Columbus. Phillips credits Dr. Ronald Isaac with the inspiration he needed to pursue broadcast.

“This isn’t easy. You’ve got to work for it.” Phillips says, “You’re going to have to work for this. I [was determined] to make broadcast work.”

And so he worked — landing a job before graduation day.

Keeping up with the Phones

With a degree in geography, Phillips set out to Nebraska just a few weeks after graduation to immediately be immersed in covering the extreme Midwest weather for a population of more than 30,000.

In 2003, Phillips relocated permanently to Florida. In Fort Myers, living with a fellow OHIO alum, he began working with ABC 7.

The biggest struggle in his field, Phillips says, is currently with social media and the miscommunication that follows instantaneous information exchange.

“The phone is the new weatherman.” With an eye on the future of communication, Phillips says he feels meteorology is prepared for the competition facing broadcast television.

Desperate Desire for a ‘Snow Day’

Curiosity is what struck up Phillips’s interest in weather. He recounted a tale of desperate desire for a middle school snow day that piqued his interest into what warrants a school cancellation. From here, he pursued a valid application for this curiosity—eventually leading to Ohio University, the internship, and career opportunities.

At OHIO, Phillips worked as a bartender at Pawpurr’s on top of his academic workload. When asked about what he missed most about the Athens campus, he says with a laugh: “The social life…and the Burrito Buggy.”

He ends his presentation by stating what every OHIO student can hope to say someday: “I worked hard and I’m happy with where I am.”

Find Ryan Phillips on Twitter and at

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *