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Lisa Murray

Lisa Murray is a Communication & Consultant Meteorologist at MetService, New Zealand.

Lisa Murray - Satellite Dish

What do you do on an average work day?
Every day is different as my work changes with the weather.

My job has three main parts:

Firstly, during big weather events my time is spent on the phone and in front of the camera advising people to prepare for the severe weather. I manage Facebook and Twitter accounts for MetService, where we answers people’s weather questions and let them know what is happening around the country.

Secondly, I coordinate MetService’s public education and outreach, which covers anything from developing educational tools, collaboration with other organisations, to giving weather related talks etc.   

Thirdly, I’m a Consultant Meteorologist giving weather briefings to clients such as NZTA, who need to know about severe weather so they can try and keep the road network up and running during these events so people don’t get stranded.

What did you study at school? And after high school?
At school I enjoyed science, especially physics and biology, although I also studied art and languages.

My first year of University I studied all the sciences (and maths), then specialised in physics and its practical applications from second year onwards.  I got a BSc(Hons) Physics and moved to New Zealand where I was employed by MetService.

While doing in-house training at MetService, I studied a Postgraduate Certificate in Meteorology at Victoria University, Wellington. I became a WMO (World Meteorological Organisation) meteorologist a year later; this is an internationally recognised certification which means you can work in weather anywhere in the world.

Was your study directly related to what you do now?
Certainly the postgraduate study was directly related to what I do, but a lot of what we did in school with mathematics and physics includes the basics you need to be a meteorologist. Using these subjects you can explain how the atmosphere works - from Newton’s Laws to fluid dynamics, and they help with general problem solving too.

Do a job that you enjoy and find interesting

What would you like to share with young women who are thinking about their career choices right now?
Don’t dismiss Mathematics as a subject choice - maths is part of everyday life; “should I wear a coat?” is probability of rainfall to “should I cross the road?” is statistical chance of survival! So maths is for everybody.

Do a job you enjoy and find interesting.

What are some of your career highlights so far?
In 2013-2015 got to visit a number of Pacific Islands to deliver training to their Meteorolgical Offices, for example Kiribati whose capital Tarawa is near the equator. I taught them how they could forecast severe weather and therefore warn their people about it to save lives and property.  After giving the training I could see the direct impact I was making and how it improved their quality of life which was definitely a highlight for me.

As a meteorological instructor I have been involved in teaching new meteorologists here in New Zealand to prepare them for working in the forecasts room.  I enjoy explaining to the public and media about weather in New Zealand, and doing other things like contributing to the MetService website and mobile Apps

Lisa Murray - reporting for MetService

Why do you believe engaging in STEM – whether it’s working in the field, studying it or just educating one’s self around the issues – is important to New Zealand?
The meteorologists who work at MetService come from a number of backgrounds, from physics and engineering, to geology etc. The subjects of STEM help the part of the brain which questions its surroundings and finds creative solutions. We need to be encouraging minds to work this way to contribute to society and New Zealand’s future.

Why is it important to have more women working in STEM?
More women in STEM shows the younger generation that women can enjoy and be successful in careers in these areas. Letting them know that they too can shape the future and that anyone (male or female) can work successfully in these areas. There is a gap between the subjects learnt in school and the careers they lead to. It is important to make science relevant to younger people to spark their curiosity. 

Lisa Murray is a Communication & Consultant Meteorologist at MetService, New Zealand.

This profile is part of our series of girls and women in STEM. 
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