At a Glance

Year: '13, '14
Major: Meteorology and Atmospheric Science 

Meteorology & Atmospheric Science BS

As a Meteorology & Atmospheric Science major, you will study meteorology, weather forecasting, climatology and air pollution; the program also fulfills the education requirements for federally employed meteorologists.

Imagine that a blizzard approaching Massachusetts is expected to dump two feet of snow. As a precaution, the governor declares a state of emergency and urges everyone to stay off the roads.

The expertise of meteorology and atmospheric science alum Michael Souza ’13, ’14 plays a significant role in helping the governor make that decision.

Souza joined the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) in January 2022 as the agency’s meteorologist. He forecasts major weather events for MEMA and its partners so they can make informed decisions about the weather’s potential impacts.

“I’m looking for more hazardous weather situations that could pose a threat to different entities and citizens of Massachusetts,” he says.

Souza also analyzes data on snowstorms, hurricanes and other major events to help broaden the situational awareness of emergency managers.

“I’m the go-to person in the agency for anything that has to do with meteorology,” he says.

As the MEMA meteorologist, Souza often collaborates with his former employer, the National Weather Service. He spent more than two years working for the federal government agency’s Baltimore/Washington, D.C. forecast office before joining MEMA, which was closer to his hometown of New Bedford, Massachusetts.

“I loved every second of working for the National Weather Service,” says Souza, who spent his days forecasting the weather for 10 million people, including Congress. “I had the opportunity to warn about tornadoes and severe thunderstorms, and I got to launch countless weather balloons.”

Prior to this position, he worked for five years at Precision Weather Forecasting, a private company based in Hull, Massachusetts, where he provided forecasts for public works departments and other organizations in about 300 communities across the Northeast.

Souza’s fascination with meteorology began at a young age.

“From around the age of six, I was really into the Weather Channel,” he says. “I don’t know if it was the nice 1990s graphics or the smooth jazz music they played, but I just really loved the weather.”

Souza came to UMass Lowell ready to immerse himself in the meteorology field. He landed internships with WCVB-TV in Boston and the National Weather Service, joined the UML Student Chapter of the American Meteorological Society and attended Southern New England Weather Conferences.

He also conducted weather observations for the Boston Marathon under the direction of Environmental, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences Prof. Frank Colby. Now, as the MEMA meteorologist, Souza works with Colby and current UML students to get their observational data to officials during the race.

“It’s really cool helping UMass Lowell students get the same experience that I did,” he says.

Involved faculty and opportunities for real-world experiences are two of the reasons why Souza decided to continue his education at UMass Lowell.

“The professors are what really made the atmosphere science program so great,” he says. “They brought their experiences into the classroom, which made it all the better.”

As a master’s student, Souza became a teaching assistant and discovered his passion for educating others.

“I really felt that I had a knack for explaining the technical lingo in a way that everyday people who are not science majors can understand,” he says.

The experience catapulted him into academia. Upon completing graduate school at UML, he became a lecturer at Framingham State University. He continues to serve as an online adjunct professor for community colleges in Pennsylvania and Michigan.

Souza credits UMass Lowell with helping him develop the skills he needed to flourish throughout his career.

“The university helped shape me into the scientist that I am today,” he says.

Why UML?

Headshot of Michael Souza.
"The professors are what really made the atmosphere science program so great. They brought their experiences into the classroom, which made it all the better."