ASU meteorology grad finds community in Sun Devil Weather and Climate Club

Julia Marturano believes in “good accidents.” Originally having entered Arizona State University to become a broadcast journalist, Marturano was enrolled in the university’s joint journalism and meteorology program but quickly realized that broadcast journalism wasn’t for her. Instead, serendipitously, she found her love for weather. 

“It was definitely an accident. I realized I just did not like journalism at all but I really loved all the meteorology stuff, and it was a great fit for me,” said Marturano, who graduated this May from the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning with a Bachelor of Science in geography (meteorology-climatology) and certificates in atmospheric sciences and geographic information science. “It was kind of an accident, but it was a good accident.” 

Marturano, who also is a Barrett, The Honors College student, changed her major shortly after, and in the years to follow she became a founding member of ASU’s Sun Devil Weather and Climate Club — a student-run organization created in the spring 2020 to connect like-minded weather and climate undergraduate and graduate students. 

“I really love the community aspect of our weather club; it's really fun to bond with people who have similar interests as you,” Marturano said, who served on the organization's leadership team in charge of community outreach. “It gave us a chance to take what we've learned in class, apply it on our own outside of our studies, and meet a lot of really cool people. It's a really great community.” 

The organization held weekly meetings and routinely brought in guest speakers — such as local and national weather experts — hosted movie nights and held socials. Marturano, alongside the organization's full student board, volunteered her time to create a space for her peers both educational and enriching. 

“Julia attended every Sun Devil Weather and Climate club leadership meeting, and our club greatly benefited from her creativity and professionalism,” said Erin Saffell, lecturer in the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning and faculty adviser for the Sun Devil Weather and Climate Club. “As one of the initial members of the club, she designed, built and maintained our website. Our site has so much useful information for our members or anyone interested in weather and climate.”

After graduation, Marturano will be attending the University of Miami to pursue a Master of Science degree in climate and health. 

Marturano’s advice for students interested in weather: “Get involved.” 

“It’s a really great community, you can meet a lot of really cool people, and we learn a lot too,” Marturano said. “I think some of the coolest connections are with the people that are learning the same things in school.” 

We asked Marturano a few questions about her time at ASU:

Question: What’s something you learned while at ASU — in the classroom or otherwise — that surprised you or changed your perspective?

Answer: I think the world is so fascinating. I like to learn about it. When I talk about climate change or anything in that regard, it's never from a political standpoint, it's very science-based.

Q: Why did you choose ASU?

A: The weather is beautiful. Ever since I was little, my parents always talked about Phoenix and we would come up here for vacation. I thought it would be a really cool place to spend four years and see what it was like, and I wanted something different than western Pennsylvania.

Q: Which professor taught you the most important lesson while at ASU?

A: I've had six classes with Dr. Randy Cerveny; his biggest lesson was to not kill people. If you're going to be a meteorologist, you have to be quick and fast and do everything to the best of your ability, but you have to be quick about it. 

Also, I took a class with Dr. Jenni Vanos. It was a climate and health class, and I learned that there's so many different avenues for climate to impact human health. 

Q: What is the best piece of advice you would give to those still in school?

A: Keep trying different things, and then if you find something you like, expand upon that and get involved. I think that the coolest things that I've learned have been outside the classroom.

Q: What was your favorite spot on campus, whether for studying, meeting friends or just thinking about life?

A: I used to go to the underground part of Hayden Library all the time and sit outside where the tables are. It was a really good spot.

Q: If someone gave you $40 million to solve one problem on our planet, what would you tackle?

A: There are so many problems to tackle. I would love to solve problems with climate and health, and there are so many avenues to do that. I want to help vulnerable populations against climate’s impact and make sure that everyone has access to the things that they need.