Will Simmons

Will Simmons

Will Simmons

By Emily Dallas

When Will Simmons graduated from Mississippi State University in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in geosciences, he knew exactly what he would be doing the day after graduation. Simmons would begin his first day of work not far from the MSU campus in Columbus, Mississippi, working as a broadcast meteorologist at WCBI-TV.

Over the years, Simmons kept his eye on the skies for viewers, but then decided to follow a life long dream of getting a bird’s eye view of the weather. Simmons currently works at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Mississippi, as a United States Air Force Hurricane Hunter Pilot flying hundreds of hours and numerous missions from the mid-Atlantic to Hawaii. “I fly into hurricanes for a living! How cool is that?!” said Simmons.

Simmons states that MSU, and the College of Arts and Sciences, gave him a solid foundation to build his career. “The opportunity I got to go storm chasing for two weeks during May was invaluable! I was not fearful going in to my first TV weather job, and I know my experience as a meteorologist landed me my current career flying planes on weather reconnaissance missions for the Air Force,” said Simmons. He added, “Every Arts and Sciences teacher I had invested in me and wanted me to succeed. Because of them, I am living out a dream.”

Simmons says that his favorite class was Forecasting taught by his favorite faculty member, Dr. Doug Gillham. “[Gillham] he sincerely cared about the future success of his students as meteorologists.  Every class he drew from real-world examples for us to study,” said Simmons

Simmons says that his fondest memory from his time as a Bulldog is not only winning the Egg Bowl the two years he watched it at Davis Wade Stadium, but also winning the National Forecasting Championship. “I took a lot of pride in winning a national championship in forecasting. It was a semester's worth of work competing against the best in the country,” said Simmons.

Simmons says that his mentor from MSU was Instructor Renny Vandewege. He commends Vandewege for being a great advisor about career decisions. “Even after I left MSU, we continued to keep in touch,” said Simmons. “He looked over my first TV contract before I signed, and I know he will still give me great career and life advice if I ask,” he added.

Simmons says that his favorite MSU tradition is, “Singing our fight song with cowbell in hand at a football game!” He also added that his MSU experience as a whole was great. “There was always a club, project, or other opportunity in which to get involved. The students and faculty made every experience enriching,” he said.

When giving advice to future and current MSU students, Simmons states, “Have a dream job? Go for it! Use the resources you have around you and make every day count. In addition to being in the books, get to know as many people in your field as you can and get involved. Don't forget to step back and realize what a great opportunity you have before you. Have fun!”











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