Title: Research Associate
Company: University of Oklahoma/U.S. National Weather Service
Location: Kansas City, Missouri
Education: Master of science ingeosciences (Mississippi State University); bachelor of science in geography and broadcasting (Northwest
Missouri State University)
In her role as a research associate for the University of Oklahoma's Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies, Taylor works with the National Weather Service Training Center in Kansas City, Missouri. She performs research that aids project leads in training development. Taylor also writes and develops online training courses, supports curriculum development, and facilitates residence training.
What has been your biggest professional achievement?
I'm not sure I can pick just one. I've had the pleasure of holding TV meteorology positions, my current position, speaking at conferences, leading teams and initiatives, and sharing my views across various talent development venues.
3 qualities for success
- Take the initiative to figure out problems, help others, and learn new tools.
- Stay humble enough to ask for help, because it's all about the learner and organization's goal.
- Collaborate with others—many training and development efforts require a carefully choreographed ballet of teamwork.
Staying current in the field
Training and development was not my original field of study, so I rely heavily on industry conferences and training opportunities to help me stay current. We have a great instructional designer in my office who helps us find opportunities to develop our skills.
I also attend webinars, take ATD courses, and read a book from time to time. I also need to stay current in the fields of meteorology, hydrology, and climate so I can better connect training objectives to real working environments in the agency.
What's exciting in TD
It all comes down to the challenge. I love challenging other people to push themselves and strive to grow, learn, and achieve more. It's great when you see a learner finally hit that milestone and have that moment of celebration.
I also love the challenges that I face personally. No matter how many times you teach a course or build online training, there always are a few roadblocks. I enjoy brainstorming, analyzing, and progressing through the issues to find a solution. The puzzle itself is rewarding, so is learning everything I need to overcome it.
"We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them." —Albert Einstein
Charity and nonprofit work
Most of my charitable efforts these days are part of organization-wide initiatives. The government takes part in a Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) each year, where employees have numerous opportunities to volunteer and donate. The National Weather Service also holds a Week of Service in the fall.