MEDIA, Pa. — Drew Anderson joined Penn State Brandywine’s Earth sciences department as a part-time lecturer in August. He received his bachelor of science in meteorology from Penn State and immediately jumped into broadcast news, working as a meteorologist at NBC in Lancaster and NBC in Scranton, and he’s currently a meteorologist at FOX 29 in Philadelphia. In 2014, he started teaching at Penn State Abington and a few other local universities as an adjunct professor.
Brandywine: What courses are you teaching?
Anderson: Last semester, I taught “Natural Disasters: Hollywood vs. Reality,” which I love because we get to watch movies and talk about how the science in them isn’t realistic. This semester, I’m teaching a meteorology class called “Weather and Risk,” which is about how businesses make better decisions based on the weather, or in other words, decisions that will save them money. I’m really excited to teach that course because I know people all across different industries including aviation (like Southwest and FedEx), and I also know someone who works at Mars, the company that makes M&Ms and Snickers, so I can have my colleagues talk about their jobs and how weather saves their company money on Zoom. I think it’s really cool when you can bring the everyday part of science into the classroom.
Brandywine: What is your professional background and experience?
Anderson: After I graduated from Penn State, I started working in television. I’ve worked all around Pennsylvania over the years, including Lancaster and Scranton, and now Philadelphia. I’m so fortunate to be back in this area because I’m originally from West Chester. I’ve primarily worked in weather and meteorology, but I’ve also anchored a talk show and do some science reporting. My science reporting also got me an Emmy Award, which I’m super excited about.
In terms of teaching experience, I’ve been teaching for about a decade. I’ve taught at different Penn State Commonwealth Campuses over the years. I’ve taught meteorology, Earth science and geography courses for Penn State. I’ve also taught for a few years at two other local universities, teaching Earth science and communications.
Brandywine: What made you interested in teaching at Brandywine?
Anderson: Teaching is something I’ve always wanted to do. I’ve always wanted to be a teacher, and I went into weather because you’re essentially a teacher when you do the weather — you’re teaching everyone the forecast. When I first started teaching, I really wanted to do it to get that face-to-face connection. Being a meteorologist on the news back then was very one-sided because you couldn’t connect with your audience. Social media wasn’t as prevalent as it is today back in the 2010s, so we weren’t able to form that connection we’re able to now.
What made me interested in teaching at Brandywine specifically was a few factors: it’s close to home, and I was actually a student here. I took many summer courses here as a college student. I thought it would be really fun to teach somewhere I was a student.
Brandywine: What made you interested in pursuing a degree and career in meteorology?
Anderson: When I was in third grade, I was fascinated with television and FOX 29’s morning show, "Good Day Philadelphia." I remember back when it first aired on April Fool’s Day 1996. My mom saw how interested I was in the show, so she connected me with someone from the station through the live broadcast, and I got to know the morning meteorologist. From there, he would allow me to go on air and help with the weather on FOX 29, both down at the shore in New Jersey and in my hometown of West Chester. It’s so surreal to have this full-circle moment, where I’m back to where my career kind of started.
Brandywine: What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
Anderson: I’ve always been really interested in movies, hence why I taught a course on natural disasters and movies, but I’ve also been an extra in films that star Tom Hanks, Leonardo DiCaprio and Adam Sandler. I also really enjoy traveling. I’ve been to every state, every Canadian province and every continent, including Antarctica. I’m currently working on getting to all U.S. and Canadian territories. What’s incredible about all my traveling is that I shoot videos for my classes to bring the world into the classroom. In my natural disasters course, I had different videos from around the world, showing students examples of stuff we talk about, like volcanoes and faults.