Rain, sleet or hail, meteorologist Michelle Bogowith helps people plan their every day. A recognizable face on Fox4 in Kansas City, Michelle was obsessed with weather as a young girl. While at the University of Missouri, she landed her first internship, which led her to her dream job. As a result, Michelle knows firsthand the importance of the right college. That’s why she’s partnering with the 1,000 Dreams Fund for our #GirlsOnTheRise Challenge, which helps fund college visits for high school girls.
You have such a cool job. When did you want to become a meteorologist?
When I was seven years old, I went on a family vacation in Alabama, and I saw a water spout. Around that time, I was also a Girl Scout and I got to tour what is now my sister station, Fox2 in Saint Louis. I saw the behind-the-scenes of how the weather side of things works. I’ve been obsessed ever since.
How did you get into this career field?
I went through the University of Missouri’s meteorological program. I got a communications degree, then a masters in meteorology. While at the University of Missouri, I was fortunate enough to get an internship while I was still a student. I started off with an internship and was able to work my way into an on-air position. That helped tremendously to launch me to where I am today.
What challenges have you overcome?
There’s a few. I had to overcome not having someone to whom to ask questions, to mentor me, to help me. I had to really push myself and become really self-motivated. I didn’t really have a lot of outside help. The field is very narrow, and unless you know someone, it’s really difficult to get your foot in the door right away. Plus, there’s the added difficulty of being a female in the business in general. I feel like there’s a lot of challenges with that because it is a male-dominated career.
What is your biggest accomplishment so far?
After the Joplin tornado — I probably made seventeen trips down to Joplin over the course of the year and did many stories — I actually put together a documentary with one of my coworkers. We were recognized — not only locally and regionally, but nationally. I was honored by the Missouri House of Representatives for all the work that we did for Joplin; helping the people to get back on their feet and keeping them in the spotlight.
What’s it like to be on TV?
I look at it just like a normal, everyday job. I just go into work, I have fun with my coworkers, and when the day is done, the day is done. I just look at it like, I get to live my dream every day.
What inspires you?
I’ve always been a very driven, very passionate person who truly believes that you have to live life to the fullest. If you want to do something or you want something, you’ve got to go get it and do it all yourself. I have such a passion for life and living it!
Looking back, what advice would you give your younger self?
In the end, it all works out. There were many times I wanted to give up on my dream because of taking Calculus courses and whatnot. But I got through them. It wasn’t easy, but I worked really, really hard and got through them.
How did you get involved with Kansas City Big Brothers Big Sisters?
I’ve always enjoyed working with younger people because I was fortunate enough to have a really good support system at home and parents who helped push, drive, and inspire me. I wanted to be able to give that to a younger person who might not have those same luxuries. I have been a big since high school. I grew up in the Saint Louis area and I mentored my first little at the elementary school down the street from my high school.
The #GirlsOnTheRise Challenge is working to fund college visits for high school girls. Why is this important to you?
I think it’s really, really important to further your education. I think that, especially for young girls, it’s important to sit there and set goals for yourself. Make a dream for yourself, something that you’ve wanted to do. Education is so important, especially for young ladies.
Michelle Bogowith is living her dreams!
Interview conducted by Rebecca Castillo, 1,000 Dreams Fund ambassador