Alumni News

October 20, 2019 at 11:30 am

Notable Alumni | NBC Meteorologist Ryan Phillips Helps Miami Prepare for Hurricanes

By Regina Yoong

Graphic for College of Arts & Sciences Notable Alumni Award

Editor’s Note: The College of Arts & Sciences Notable Alumni Awards honor alumni for broad career accomplishments, commitment to community service, and valuable contributions to Ohio University and the College of Arts & Sciences.

From left, President M. Duane Nellis, Ryan Phillips, Dr. Dorothy Sack, and Dean Florenz Plassmann

From left, President M. Duane Nellis, Ryan Phillips, Dr. Dorothy Sack, and Dean Florenz Plassmann

Ryan Phillips ’00 Geography-Meteorology

A broadcast meteorologist for NBC 6/WTVJ in Miami, Ryan Phillips has been forecasting at the station for nearly 15 years, having previously worked for ABC affiliates in Southwest Florida and Central Nebraska.

Phillips’ interests in tropical weather and hurricane impact on populated coastal locations led him to serve in Fort Lauderdale, Miami and the Keys for nearly 15 years.

Ryan Phillips talks about his career in meteorology.

Ryan Phillips talks about his career in meteorology.

“The threat of a tropical storm or hurricane to my community elevates me into my best work and service. I’ve been deeply involved in the on-air coverage of hurricanes Charley, Katrina, Wilma, Mathew, Irma and Dorian.”

Ryan Phillips portrait

Ryan Phillips

“Each storm and each season have provided a new lesson to me as a meteorologist and as a broadcaster. However, the principles of threat communication and making viewers feel knowledgeable, as well as safe, haven’t wavered. The ways in which we reach the audience have changed, and we’ve adapted. The science and technology have improved immensely. But talking to viewers in a clear and calm manner is what’s necessary in this situation. Earning that relationship with the audience has been an accomplishment that I carry with me each year.”

Ryan Phillips with weather map

Ryan Phillips

Phillips also has served as a featured speaker at the Ohio State Severe Weather Symposium and National Weather Association’s annual meeting. For the last five years, Phillips has been working as an adjunct professor for the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science.

Phillips earned a B.S. in Geography from the College of Arts & Sciences at Ohio University.

According to Phillips, OHIO took him out of small town Zanesville, Ohio, and nestled him into a comfortable Southeast Ohio setting, which exposed him to a variety of people, cultures, ideas and experiences.

“It was incredible to be an hour away from my hometown but, on a daily basis, feel a world away. The learning environment was superior. Finding fellow students and faculty that were as passionate about the things I wanted to learn more about, geography and meteorology, made the experience whole,” he says.

Phillips reminiscences about the faculty support and their interest in his success only fueled the education process. His experience at OHIO empowered him to feel that he could chase after his goals and aspirations, with a genuine network of support behind him.

“The Department of Geography has not let me down since I left campus in 2000. OU was my springboard into a career that has now served me for nearly 20 years,” he added.

Ryan Phillips at graduation

Ryan Phillips at graduation

OHIO Memories

“My memories of Athens run the range from the excitement of a football weekend to the calm of a mild spring evening. My memories are really shaped by the culture and campus spirit rather than individual events. The comfort of being a part of a major university setting, while still feeling at ease in a country town, really made for an innocence in that phase of my life,” Phillips recollects.

“Specifically, I recall the warm spring days when everyone was out, beaming with a freshness after making it through the winter greys. It’s not easily recounted, but if you’ve been a part of it, you know. All the spring fests were fun, but simply being out in the mild, fresh air around campus was an invigorating feeling.”


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