Thursday, May 21, 2015

Megan's Closing Comments

It's hard to believe that SWIFT has already come to an end! This internship was certainly an experience that I will never forget. SWIFT is by far one of my favorite summer training opportunities that I have experienced at the Academy. I am extremely thankful for the new friendships that I made throughout the countless hours of driving, laughing, and learning from each other. Each day, the SWIFT crew grew tighter and I now have 7 new friends that I will be able to hold close throughout the rest of my time at the Academy. One of my favorite memories from SWIFT occurred on our first actual chase day. We were following a storm in Kansas and we were able to watch a tornado develop from birth. In fact, we were actually the first team to report a tornado in the Gove City, Kansas area. Looking back, it was absolutely incredible that we were able to watch a crystal clear blue sky develop into a dark green and gray super cellular mass. This storm ended up producing 3 tornadoes by the end of the night, which surpassed the team's expectations. Usually, chasers go weeks without seeing any tornadoes, and we saw three on our first day of the chase. Not only did I observe severe weather and gain incredible friendships over SWIFT, but I was also able to develop my leadership skills along the way. Over the course of the past two weeks, I was able to hone my communication skills. The first day on the road, I was the logistics team leader and I was very unsure of my duties as such. At first, I was extremely nervous to let my voice be heard due to the fear of being incorrect or bossy. It finally occurred to me that I should not be afraid of being wrong because I can lean on my classmates for advice and support throughout the decision making process. I also realized that in order to make a cohesive team with a new group of people, there must be an unspoken level of trust. As a team leader, I learned to trust that my teammates had all of the skills necessary to get the job done in a timely manner. Communication must be clear and omnipresent in order for a team to be successful. We struggled with this at first, but we were able to overcome our communication issues after a couple of team discussions. I can honestly say that each day on SWIFT I learned something new. Whether it was a leadership skill, a meteorological term, or a people skill, each day was spent growing and developing as a leader while having a bit of fun along the way. 

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