An Incredible Interview Experience

2012-09-28 21:45:11.000 – Brian Clark,  Weather Observer/Education Specialist

Shift Change Day, November 23, 2005

Yesterday I talked about my first Mount Washington experience in the spring of 2005. My second Mount Washington Experience? That came about 6 months later.

I remember sitting in my mesoscale meteorology class in October of 2005, which happened to meet in a computer lab. As was probably the case way too often for me, I was not paying as much attention as I should have been and was instead using the computer. Stealthily, of course. On this particular day, I was checking the conditions on Mount Washington on the Observatory’s website that I had only recently discovered. While I was browsing around the site that day, I found the ‘Jobs and Volunteering’ section, and subsequently the page with information about the internship program. I noticed that I still had some time to get an application in for the coming winter internship.

I actually didn’t immediately jump on applying. Sure, I thought to myself about how incredible of an experience it would be, but then I also thought about the logistics of it all. Up until a few months prior to discovering the Observatory internship, I had often let this practical, logical, and analytical side of me prevent me from jumping at these sorts of opportunities. Not anymore though. After a few days, I sent in my application, and figured I would take care of logistics later, if I even heard anything back.

Much to my surprise, a few days later I got an email from former observer Jim Salge, inviting me for an interview, which after a few more emails, we scheduled for shift change day on Thanksgiving Eve. I immediately started to figure out what I needed to do in order to take a semester off from school, what to do with my apartment, etc.

It was a long way to drive for a one day interview, but then again, how often does one get to go and interview for an internship on top of a mountain? I remember coming into Gorham, NH through driving snow squalls. As a born and raised central Pennsylvanian, I was in heaven seeing snow that early in the year. The snow that fell that night made the trip up the Auto Road for my interview a little difficult though. I remember waiting for a very long time at the parking lot near the 3-mile marker for the snow tractor to come down and get us. I’m sure for the crew at the time, that wait was annoying. For me, it was an opportunity to walk around, take pictures, and generally enjoy the whole experience.

The interview itself was a bit nerve wracking, with all the observers and Ken Rancourt sitting around the table in the conference room, asking me questions. When it was over though, I was told that I could go out and wander around while they took care of the rest of the shift change activities. I was pleasantly surprised that, although we arrived in thick fog, things had cleared out nicely revealing an undercast below the summit and an overcast above; a cloud sandwich of sorts. Even after all the time I have spent on Mount Washington since then, I have yet to see something quite the same as that day. It was an incredible experience for me, and even if nothing else had happened with the internship, I would have remembered that day for the rest of my life. Luckily, I didn’t have to be content with that single experience with the Observatory. Before we left, Jim Salge came outside and found me sitting by the cog tracks. He offered me a half broken ice axe to keep, if I wanted. It was still useful for self arresting, so I took it. I wasn’t thinking at the time that he was offering it to me as a sign that I was going to be coming back.

After arriving back at the base a little later, Ken took me aside and offered me the internship on the spot. Naturally, I accepted on the spot as well, and with no hesitation whatsoever.


Brian Clark,  Weather Observer/Education Specialist

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