Five years since graduating from the
University of Delaware, Laura Dattaro is right where she belongs. Not
playing the trumpet professionally, as she assumed she would be entering
her freshman year of college, but writing for The Weather Channel at
weather.com, immersed in the two things she loves most: writing and
Dattaro never thought she would be a journalist. Majoring in English and music and playing for the UD Marching Band, the Honors Program student had ambitions to make music her main career focus. That was until a fellow band member and city news desk editor at The Review, UD's student run newspaper, gave her a story to work on.
"I fell in love with it," she said.
With a newly found passion for reporting, she set out to complete a
focus of studies in journalism and continued her involvement at The Review. For three years she put her all into the newspaper, even working as editor-in-chief her senior year.
"It was definitely what got me my internships and definitely what got me my first job. It was critical that I worked at The Review. I basically lived there," Dattaro said.
Dattaro also put her journalistic skills to use through several
internships. During the summer of 2008 she was able to land a position
with National Geographic in New York City, fact checking, writing, and copy editing for their online and print magazine, The Green Guide.
The summer of her graduation in 2009, Dattaro was nominated and
selected as an intern for the Center for Public Integrity, a non-profit
investigative news journal located in Washington, D.C.
"I was put on a project all summer, investigating how sexual assault
cases are handled on college campuses," Dattaro said, "so I spent three
months reading over a 1,000 pages of complaints filed to the Office for
Civil Rights regarding sexual abuse cases, which was really intense and
sometimes really upsetting," but nonetheless rewarding.
In the months that followed her internship in Washington, Dattaro
found herself abroad, traveling through Ireland. Living in Galway City
and enjoying the scenic land, she took those opportune months to relax
and decompress from the stressors of college and work. It was there that
she began reading New Scientist, a weekly print and online magazine devoted to science and technology.
In 2010, she landed a job at Baltimore's City Paper where she
became the associate editor for a little over a year. Living in a city
where science was a predominant culture and with New Scientist in mind, it wasn't long before Dattaro found her writing niche.
"When I came back from Ireland I couldn't stop thinking about New Scientist. I was reading the science news all the time. So I started pitching science papers to City Paper.
Baltimore was a really interesting place to do science reporting and I
just decided that was something that I really wanted to do," she said.
Discovering a program at Columbia University, Dattaro embarked to New
York City once again, enrolling in a 10-month-long master of science
and health journalism program and graduating in May 2013. It was just
the right move she needed to make to propel her further into the science
While at a Columbia career fair, Dattaro had the opportunity to meet
with a representative from The Weather Channel. Determined to acquire a
position there, she maintained contact with them and after several
months she officially assumed the role of assistant science editor for
Because The Weather Channel expanded the website's content, Dattaro
covers a wide range of topics. "I can cover everything from slide shows
of 10 cool facts about the sun, to longer stories that require multiple
interviews, and everything in between. So it's different every day," she
Although Dattaro never acquired an academic degree through a
scientific major such as biology or chemistry, she consistently uses her
love and passion for each topic, reading science publications and other
news sites, to enhance her journalistic abilities to write weather.com
"I also learn a lot from the people I get to interview all the time, which is my favorite part of the job," she said.
"It's fun to work and do what you're interested in," Dattaro said.
"I've been really lucky that I found journalism at school and that I
really like it and have been able to make a living doing it. I feel very
very grateful for that."