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About COA >> Student Success Stories >> From COA to the Marshall Islands - Forecast Showing Paradise - The Aydlett Brothers

From COA to the Marshall Islands - Forecast Showing Paradise - The Aydlett Brothers

In 2000, Northeastern High School’s graduation was fast approaching when twins Brandon and Landon Aydlett chose their future careers. Both wanting to major in Meteorology, the brothers decided to enroll at College of The Albemarle to take general education courses and prepare them for the program they would soon be attending at North Carolina State University. “Because I knew what the course requirements for a meteorology degree at NCSU were, I was able to choose all courses at COA that would transfer credit as well as take care of most freshman and some sophomore year classes,” Brandon said.

The brothers continued their education at COA through the summer semester of 2001, before transferring to North Carolina State University that fall. Landon stated, “COA was great as a transition school. Moving from high school to college is a big step, but attending a local community college made that step much easier.” Brandon shared those sentiments saying, “The classes challenged me and successfully prepared me for a four year school.” In 2005, both Brandon and Landon graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Meteorology.

The next two years were spent working a variety of jobs as there was some difficulty in finding jobs within the field of Meteorology. In the spring of 2007, a break in the clouds produced a job offer that Brandon couldn’t refuse. “I interviewed via phone and 15 minutes later was offered the job and took it. One month later I was in Kwajalein, Marshall Islands forecasting on the U.S. Army Base, (Ronald Reagan Ballistic Missile Defense Test Site), on a two year contract,” Brandon said. In the Marshall Islands, Brandon serves as the radar-meteorologist and rotating mission meteorologist. As mission meteorologist he drafts reports detailing how the weather station will support mission activities, gives weather briefings to military officers and other mission personnel, and supports mission day activities by participating as meteorologist inside the mission control center during the mission countdown. Brandon also writes occasional weather articles for the island newspaper and collects radar data to support the NASA Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM), of which Kwajalein Island is a ground validation site.

Last winter, Brandon heard the company was still searching for another meteorologist. “I told Landon to send in a resume and now he’s out here.” Landon’s duties at the company include observing the weather, making public forecasts, and various roles for missions including rotating as mission meteorologist and radar meteorologist. Soon, he will become the “go to guy” for a new automated weather observing system at the station.

When asked about the education Landon received at COA, he replied, “The education is thorough and complete. If you struggle with anything in a class, the teacher is always willing to help outside of the class. The classes also transfer easily to larger institutions.” The brothers agreed that their counselors and advisors at COA were “exemplary.” “COA’s teachers are very talented in teaching and advising. I had many questions concerning classes and requirements, especially transferring credits, and my advisor was very helpful,” Landon said. When thinking of his time attending COA, Brandon said, “The teachers and my fellow students were all very friendly and I still keep in touch with many of them today. When I look back on my college years, there is not a moment that I regret having spent a year at COA and I would highly recommend it to anyone about to enter college.” Thanks to the education they have received, there are many sunny skies ahead for Brandon and Landon Aydlett.


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