"Jo? I'd like you to meet our two new lab assistants. Jonas Miller and Bill Harding." My boss, Dr. Sara Wetherbee, told me as she led the two men over to my workstation. "They will be learning the ropes of being storm chasers while they are with us." After telling me this she walked over to check on one of her assistants who seemed to be having some trouble with the information he was supposed to be entering into the computer.
"Hi I'm Josephine Greene. But please call me Jo." I said introducing myself to both men.
"Jonas Miller. You sure you are qualified to be working on that? Wouldn't want you working too hard." The lighter colored of the two men said, as he watched me entering data from a storm that had happened this past season.
Taking a deep breath to calm myself, I said,
"What I'm doing right now Jonas, is entering the amount of damage this storm caused and the wind speeds we recorded. We are trying to find better ways to predict these storms so that people can have better warning times and get to safety quicker. And right now the best way I can do that is by recording this data, which will go towards a collection of data that everyone in this room is typing up. It will then be compared to other data which will hopefully make meteorologists issue warnings as soon as conditions get close to these which I am recording." I growled Jonas's name as I explained to him what I was doing.
If there is one thing I can't stand it's to have people think I'm less qualified simply because I'm female. I took a deep breath and relaxed, listening to the familiar sounds of my fellow apprentices entering information in computers all around the room.
"I'm Bill. What kind of jobs will we be doing while we're here?" The taller and darker male said. 'He's kinda cute. But I bet he doesn't have time for someone like me.' Jo thought to herself sadly.
As she entered the last bit of data into the computer and saved it, Jo turned to the two men and said
"Right now, you're just getting a tour of Dr. Wetherbee's lab and helping to enter the information and monitor Doppler when we go out and chase storms. But for now you are going to be learning where everything is and what kind of information it is we are collecting." I gave them a quick tour of the lab, showing them the various labs and explaining what went on in each of the labs, finishing up with the one that we would be working in.
"Y'all are expected to be here by 8:30 tomorrow morning to begin helping with the data. Do you have any other questions?" Seeing their negative nods I let them leave and went to get ready to go back to my Aunt Meg's for the night.
When my mom remarried when I was in the sixth grade and she and her new husband relocated to southern Texas I had been allowed to move in with my aunt. She had encouraged my interest in sciences and especially my love of meteorology. I kept in touch with my mom but only saw her at Christmas and New Year's, which was fine with me because I had always been closer to my dad, well before he was killed by an F5 when I was six that is. Almost fifteen years ago now. 'Don't think about that now Jo' I reminded myself.
As I leave the building, I notice one of the new guys, Bill I think his name was, standing by what I take to be his vehicle and admiring the sunset that was just beginning. It was one of the most beautiful early summer sunsets I had ever seen.
"Bill, right? What are you still doing here? I thought you would have left by now." He turned to look at me, and said,
"Actually I was wanting to know if you would be willing to join me for dinner tonight? I wanted to talk more about some of that information you were logging today."
"How about you join me at my aunt's place for dinner? She has some of the best food around. And I know she's always interested in what I've done during the day. Just follow me ok?" He nodded and quickly got into his truck and we quickly drove through the growing darkness the few miles from the lab to Meg's.