Women of NSSL: Pam Heinselman

For the month of October NOAA National Severe Storms Laboratory is publishing a series of stories highlighting some of the women working at the lab. One Q&A segment will be published each Monday in October.

Pam Heinselman is the acting division chief of the Forecast Research Development Division and Warn-on-Forecast program manager. Heinselman has been a research scientist with the Lab since March 2009 and received a Presidential Early Career Award for Science and Engineering in 2009 as well.

Q: How did you get into weather or your field?
A: When I was in kindergarten I was afraid of thunderstorms. That fear turned into a curiosity about the weather and a desire to become a meteorologist.

Q: What advice would you provide to up and coming meteorologists or others in your field?
A:  Advice I would provide to up-and-coming meteorologist or others in my field is to determine what you enjoy doing most within your field and gain the experience you need to do it. Life is too short to do something you do not enjoy.

Q: What is your personal philosophy?
A: My personal philosophy is well stated by Maya Angelou, “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.”

Q: What’s the most unusual job you’ve ever had?
A: The most unusual job I’ve ever had is making and selling donuts when I was 16 years old. I ate so many donuts that I haven’t eaten one since.

Q: What does true leadership mean to you?
A: To me true leadership is a combination of vision, bringing forth change to the benefit of others, and providing a work environment in which people can be creative, grow, and excel.

Q: If you could do another job for just one day, what would it be?
A: If I could do another job for just one day, I would be a Zumba Instructor at a gym because I love to dance.