Employee Spotlight on Jessica Tomaszewski, Research Scientist

“I decided to lean back into my love for the environment and found that I could apply my expertise in meteorology to support the fight against climate change.”

“I grew up in a northwest suburb of Chicago called Crystal Lake. As a child, I always had an interest in science, especially natural and physical science like earth science, space, and the environment. I remember in elementary school I was the founder of a “Save the Environment” club with some of the other kids in my neighborhood, so you could say sustainability and climate change have always been important to me. My passion for weather actually grew out of fear initially. When I was a kid I was terrified of thunderstorms, and I remember a small tornado narrowly missed my town when I was maybe five or six years old, and that moment left a deep impact on me by turning that fear into curiosity: I needed to know how tornadoes happen, why the clouds looked the way they did, why the clouds were located where they were. And so from that moment on – and I remember declaring in sixth grade – I was going to be a meteorologist, and I stuck to it.

“I ended up following that interest in weather all the way to Norman, Oklahoma, which is where I went to college to study meteorology at the University of Oklahoma. And there I quite literally followed the weather sometimes by doing a decent amount of storm chasing. I’ve seen some pretty mind blowing tornadoes, which was definitely a highlight of my time there in Oklahoma. Then eventually during college I decided – probably to the relief of my mother – that severe weather and storm chasing was more of a hobby of mine than a career choice. So I decided to lean back into my love for the environment and found that I could apply my expertise in meteorology to support the fight against climate change.

“I pivoted my focus to wind energy, which is what I researched in graduate school at the University of Colorado. My PhD dissertation there consisted of running lots of weather simulations of wind farms and how wind farms interact with the area around them, and that’s what steered my journey into the energy space via meteorology.

“My manager at REsurety, Jennifer Newman, and I have a longer history than just our time at REsurety. When I was an undergrad at the University of Oklahoma, Jennifer was a grad student there, so I kind of knew of her a little bit. When I went to grad school, Jennifer was a postdoc at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, also in Colorado. So there we interacted a little bit more through similar professional development groups and peer mentoring groups, and she eventually took the job at REsurety a couple years later. A few years after that, when I was getting ready to defend my PhD, she posted on LinkedIn that she was looking to hire a research scientist – someone who specializes in wind energy modeling – and I was like, ‘Oh, that’s me!’. So I applied and came over to Boston and I loved the people and the culture and the work that we do. It was a great fit and I knew right away that REsurety is really where I wanted to be.

“What excites me about the work that I do is getting to work with tons of really interesting data, and getting to repackage that data into stories of sorts, so interesting visuals or concepts to explain interesting or difficult-to-understand topics, and using those stories to then drive actions that support the clean energy transition. All that is something I’m really passionate about.

“My hobbies tend to sit on opposite ends of the exertion spectrum. I’m either on the couch in some corner of the internet or watching Netflix or reading, or I’m in the gym or on a run or trying Pilates and yoga. Pilates and yoga were definitely hobbies that I picked up in quarantine. I was taking a lot of Zoom gym classes and found this great instructor who’s in California, but her classes were only $5 and she was super fun to do Pilates with. That was one silver lining to the pandemic quarantine period. I also recently got a bike, so I’ve been having fun zipping around Boston on two wheels and exploring the area a little differently than I have in the past.

“I also have a dog. He is aptly named Cloudy, and he’s a Border Collie and Corgi mix who’s very cute and gets to take up a little bit of my time outside of work as well. I’ve had him for six years, and I got him in grad school, so he’s been my little cloud buddy for a while now.”

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