Baron’s forecast shines bright in stormy weather
Monday, Feb 06, 2023

Ever since Brittany Lazzaro was little, she knew she wanted to be involved in the atmospheric sciences. Fascinated by tornadoes and hurricanes, even at 4 years old, she would be asked “Aren’t you supposed to want to be a princess?”

“No way,” she protested, because she was set on the field of atmospheric sciences. Lazzaro’s early role models in the meteorology field were Cecily Tynan, Action News’ Chief Meteorologist at 6ABC, and Reed Timmer, an American storm chaser, who both “inspired this love of weather” in Lazzarro. 

Lazzaro is currently making strides in the atmospheric sciences. Since her graduation, Lazzaro is thriving in the research world and is now participating in the Significant Opportunities in Atmospheric Research and Science program, or SOARS for short. 

The SOARS program is “designed to give opportunities to people who are less fortunate or not represented in the atmospheric sciences community” Lazzaro states. Men outnumber women 3 to 1 in the atmospheric sciences field. Programs like SOARS aim to narrow that gap.

After a couple of years in an unideal situation at Rowan University, Brittany found herself enrolling at Rowan College at Burlington County, and was able to easily jump back into her academic journey due to RCBC’s flexible, online classes. “I gave it a shot, and here I am,” she proudly declared, as she just graduated this past spring with a mathematics degree from RCBC.  

Lazzaro presenting research

This past summer, she conducted and presented research in Boulder, Colorado regarding a new meteorological model that predicts rapid intensification. As explained by Lazarro, rapid intensification is when a tropical storm or hurricane gets “really strong, really fast”, which is “notoriously difficult to predict,” especially when it comes to the intensity level of the hurricane. This model, and the ongoing development of this model, will help communities prepare for weather emergencies. 

Lazzaro still has to reconcile with the societal expectations that are projected upon women in STEM. “I should be starting my life, starting a family, because that’s what society kind of expects of you,” she observed, and she noted that there are many things that women must “give up or put off” in pursuit of their career in the sciences. However, with the help of a supportive and inclusive research program, Lazzaro feels secure with her decision to pursue the atmospheric sciences.

“A lot of us were women or minorities, or people from backgrounds that didn’t have the same opportunities, but still had that passion and drive to learn.”