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The reputation of the Department of Meteorology at the University of Reading was something that first stood out to Ollie Millin when researching where to study meteorology.

With the University of Reading ranked 2nd in the world for research in Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences (latest Center for University Rankings by Subject, 2017) and with close ties to the Met Office, Ollie visited the Department to find out more.

"I felt really welcome in the Department and knew this was the place to be to thrive in a dynamic meteorology learning community, offering endless opportunities."

Ollie was accepted onto the MMet Meteorology and Climate with a Year in Oklahoma course. The opportunity to spend a year studying abroad was an attractive feature for Ollie, and one that would eventually lead to future research and career opportunities.

"Having the opportunity to study at the University of Oklahoma was a great attraction, with it being a location prone to many weather extremes."

Personal pursuit

The University of Reading offers the ideal environment to pursue a personal interest, allowing Ollie to take steps towards starting his career.

"I was always intrigued by heavy snow and severe weather, and wanted to pursue a career that allowed me to be involved in events like these. Weather patterns are changing right before us in this period of climate change, making the study of this even more important."

Excellent learning experience

Once at Reading, Ollie was able to study weather events like these in more detail.

"It was fascinating learning about how the weather patterns we experience at the surface can be impacted by interactions far from our location and further up in the atmosphere. For me, large-scale dynamics and climate change interest me."

Ollie adds that his studies at Reading have been challenging at times, but that these experiences helped him grow and develop into the student he is today.

"I've certainly learned a lot at Reading and have really enjoyed it. The classes are thorough and challenging, but the lecturing is excellent, with help available when needed."

Year at the University of Oklahoma

In his third year, Ollie spent two semesters studying at the University of Oklahoma, which has close ties to the University of Reading. This was an enriching experience for Ollie, in more ways than one.

"It's always quite scary going away and doing a year abroad, but it's definitely worth it. You meet new people, learn in a different style and gain from a different culture of living.

"The knowledge I gained from being in a different environment with different extremes of weather occurring was really beneficial and interesting. I experienced severe thunderstorms and freezing rain of a scale that we don't have in the UK.

"We also travelled a lot of the USA during the Christmas break, allowing us to see a lot of landmarks and experience the classic American road trip!"

Future in research

Ollie has just completed his final-year project for his dissertation, where he is supervised by Andrew Charlton-Perez and Simon Lee from the Department, plus an industrial partner of RWE Supply and Trading in London.

"My project looks at how the stratosphere and the troposphere interact with each other during the winter and how well numerical weather models do in comparison to a simple statistical forecast. The dynamics of the stratosphere can significantly affect the troposphere, potentially producing cold-air outbreaks during the winter months."

The knowledge Ollie gained from the modules he studied at Reading, and his experience in Oklahoma, helped set him up for this career path in research.

Ollie has now accepted a position on the University of Oklahoma's graduate program as a Research Assistant and is "excited to start a new chapter."

Find out more about our MMet Meteorology and Climate with a Year in Oklahoma course

Learn about our BSc Meteorology and Climate course