Inspiring Latina of the Week: Meteorologist Maria Molina

Maria Molina is a meteorologist for FOX News Channel. Originally from Nicaragua, Maria is one of the youngest weather women on cable. In addition to her busy job at FOX, Molina is working towards her graduate degree at Columbia University, studying climate change. With her hard work ethic, and positive outlook on life, Maria Molina is this week’s Inspiring Latina!

What inspired you to become a meteorologist? 

When I was 5-years-old, Hurricane Andrew hit my home in South Florida as a category 5 hurricane, causing serious damage and devastation. I remember all the sounds and sights vividly; my parents boarding up the windows with plywood and the sound of saws cutting up wood throughout our neighborhood. Flood waters seeped into our apartment from underneath the front door. The wind howled through the darkness and my family huddled close together on the bathroom floor, just in case the walls gave way to the storm. It was traumatizing to say the least. I learned how dangerous weather can be at a young age and since then knew that I wanted to forecast and warn people of severe weather events.

What fulfills you the most about your job as a meteorologist?

Knowing that I am helping people plan. Whether I am warning people of severe weather approaching their area, telling them they may face travel delays due to a snowstorm, or simply telling them whether they will need their umbrellas for that day or not, helping people know what they will be facing weather-wise fulfills me. I love my job. I think loving your work can make your life feel fulfilled and as a result, make you more successful. 

You are one of the youngest weather women in cable, how does that make you feel to have accomplished so much at such a young age?

It makes me happy to know that hard work and dedication are recognized, and that motivates me to keep working hard and achieve even more. I am very blessed that the FOX News Channel has welcomed me into their family and that they believed in me despite my young age.

You are working towards your graduate degree, why do you believe higher education is important, especially for the Latino community?

I am a major supporter and believer of higher education. Under such a competitive job market, higher education is a way to set oneself apart from other jobseekers and gain credibility. I believe it shows that a person is responsible if they make it through demanding graduate-level courses successfully.

As Latinos in America, we are lucky to have an equal opportunity at some of the best university programs in the world, right here in the United States. Not every country offers this opportunity. Take my parents for instance, who under the Sandinista rule in Nicaragua during the 1980’s, did not have the freedom to go to college and study their field of choice. Because of this, my parents have always made sure I knew the importance of taking advantage of higher education. I am currently a graduate student at Columbia University studying climate change. 

Your day begins at 2 AM (Wow, that’s early!). Do you have any beauty secrets to looking so refreshed while on screen? Or, something you do to keep your energy up all day?

What helps keep my energy level up all day is that I am doing what I love. I look forward to going to work every day, regardless of how early I have to wake up or how late I have to stay at work.

As far as any beauty secrets... I think beauty comes from within, and you know that saying, “You are what you eat?” Well, I think it’s true. You’d be surprised as to the impact that a well-balanced diet can have on simple things like your hair shine, skin glow and nail strength. I did not always eat a healthy balanced diet and since doing so, I have seen a dramatic change in all of these things.

And of course, a little coffee and make-up also doesn’t hurt on the energy and beauty concerns, respectively. 

What advice do you have for other Latinas who want to get into broadcast journalism and meteorology?

If you want to get into broadcast journalism, be open-minded about moving anywhere in the country. It is very rare to work in the first city of one’s choice right out of college. Doesn’t sound so great? Well, you’d be surprised. You might fall in love with the city you move to and never want to leave.

My first TV job was in Central Pennsylvania; I learned so much about the region, and even about myself. I even found my first love, Philly Cheesesteaks.

If you are interested in meteorology, go for it! We need more Latina meteorologists! The degree can be tough in terms of math and physics, but it is a very rewarding career.

What gives you the most pride about being Latina?

The culture. I love the music, the friendly people, the delicious food and the beautiful topography of the land in Central America. There is nothing else like it in the world. And being a Latina in the United States is even better. I have very different experiences than my colleagues do, which makes it so much fun to share our unique experiences. I don’t like to label myself as only Latina, though, since I have been Americanized and find American culture to be my own as well. I am both American and Latina.

Do you know an inspiring Latina? Nominate her at inspiringlatinas@latina.com!

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