Texas A&M: Aggie Provides Life-Saving Information In Aftermath Of Hurricane Ida

Even before beginning her studies at Texas A&M University, Ella Murphy ’25 was making a difference.

This year, Murphy served as an intern for the National Weather Service (NWS) and produced educational media, including a post-storm safety video that helps hurricane victims avoid hazards.

Hurricane Ida, which made landfall Aug. 26, was one of the most destructive hurricanes to hit Louisiana, second only to Hurricane Katrina in 2005. In the aftermath of Ida, NWS – New Orleans used social media channels like Twitter to reach people affected by the storm and share crucial safety tips, including a video explaining post-storm dangers and what to look out for when returning home, from water contamination to generator safety. That video was made by Murphy, who is now a freshman meteorology student in the Department of Atmospheric Sciences in the College of Geosciences.

During her mentorship class in high school, Murphy sought a possible opportunity to work with meteorologists in the field. However, due to complications caused by the ongoing pandemic and the fact that she lacked experience, she had trouble finding the mentorship she was looking for.

That was until she reached out to Texas A&M professors John Nielson-Gammon, Christopher Nowotarski, Don Conlee and Yangyang Xu, who were all willing to assist.

Not only did they work with her, but they brought on several other students from multiple states and created a mentorship program with varying topics from week to week, all about atmospheric sciences. They were later paired with individual professors based on their career interests, and Murphy worked with Conlee.

After being accepted to Texas A&M, Murphy was then offered an internship with NWS Austin/San Antonio. There she was able to help out in the media department, especially its video division.

“I love teaching and communicating to others about weather so I liked the idea of making something that people can use,” she said.

After her video was finished and approved, it was sent to NWS – New Orleans during the recovery of Ida and shared widely.

“The thought that I ended up helping a lot of people after the hurricane is so cool; I actually did that and I’m only a freshman in college,” Murphy said.

When considering where to go to college, Texas A&M was a top choice due to the research opportunities available. Murphy had experienced an intense storm when she was young, which could have frightened her but instead filled her with intrigue, she said.

Ever since then, she has been “obsessed” with the atmospheric sciences.

She wanted a school that allowed her to dive head first into her interests, which made Texas A&M the perfect choice. Here, Murphy is able to work with classmates who possess that same passion for meteorology.

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