A well-rounded experience

The University of Missouri’s environmental sciences degree program prepared Matt Beckwith for a career as a broadcast meteorologist.

man smiling inside a tv station

Oct. 14, 2021

An early passion for broadcast meteorology and a desire to get a degree from a university in the state he grew up in led Matt Beckwith to the University of Missouri. Beckwith thought the atmospheric science emphasis area within the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources (CAFNR) environmental sciences degree program would help prepare him for a career as a meteorologist.

When Beckwith, who grew up in the Kansas City area, walked onto campus in 2015, he knew right away that he made the correct decision. Along with a strong faculty within the degree program, Beckwith had the opportunity to intern with KOMU-TV 8, a television station owned by MU. His internship with KOMU eventually led to a job offer – and Beckwith has served as a meteorologist with the station since late 2018.

“The atmospheric science program in CAFNR is so well-rounded,” Beckwith said. “Some universities are known to produce a lot of broadcast meteorologists; others produce numerous researchers. At Mizzou, you have such a strong mixture. Some students want to work in TV, some want to work at the National Weather Service and others go to graduate school for weather research. CAFNR does a great job of prepping you for whatever route you want to go.”

Beckwith earned an internship with KOMU during his freshman year and worked his way up at the station throughout his collegiate career. By the end of his sophomore year, Beckwith had his own shift at KOMU, sharing the weather on Saturday nights. He continued that during his junior year and worked weekend mornings during his senior year.

“Once I had my own shift, I also was able to fill in for others and help where I was needed,” Beckwith said. “The weather discussion is never-ending, so there are plenty of opportunities.”

A full-time meteorologist at KOMU left during Beckwith’s senior year at MU, and he filled the gap during their departure. He was eventually offered the full-time gig.

Despite graduating in 2019, Beckwith still has ties to CAFNR. He works closely with KOMU’s other two full-time meteorologists – Kenton Gewecke and Tim Schmidt – who both earned degrees from CAFNR. Beckwith also helps train the interns at KOMU, many of whom are current CAFNR students.

“As far as working with the students, it’s rewarding to work with them and see them progress and have success,” Beckwith said. “It’s fun to see them go from learning to point at the wall, which sounds a lot easier than it actually is, to telling a weather story and building their own graphics. Watching their career blossom is so awesome.”

Beckwith said his time studying atmospheric science also helped him better handle the weather shifts we see in Missouri. That experience was another example of how CAFNR prepared Beckwith for a career as a broadcast meteorologist.

“I’m proud of the atmospheric science department and I’m very happy to have been a part of it,” Beckwith said. “There have been some weather moments that I’ve covered that I never expected to cover this early in my career, but I was prepared well.”

Read more from the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources

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