WOUB Senior Spotlight: Payton Szymczak

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Payton Szymczak is currently a weather forecaster and reporter for WOUB’s NewsWatch

Payton Szymczak, a journalism news and information major, came to Ohio University not knowing exactly what she wanted to do. However, she eventually found her place at WOUB and passion with the WOUB weather team. Szymczak is currently a weather forecaster for WOUB’s NewsWatch, but it was a journey for her to discover an interest in meteorology.

Szymczak grew up in Rocky River, Ohio, near Cleveland. While in high school, she wrote for a school publication, which led her to Ohio University’s journalism program.

“I’ve always been a writer,” Szymczak said. “Ever since I could hold a pen when I was three years old, I’ve been writing stories. When I got to high school, I started writing for a magazine and would do personal profiles on people. I love telling people’s stories.”

During her time at WOUB, Szymczak had the opportunity to explore different aspects of journalism, including camera work and editing, but realized the technical side of journalism wasn’t for her. Around that time, she was taking a news reporting journalism class. The professor recommended she apply for the WOUB Summer Internship Program.

“I decided to ask to be a news reporter during the internship because that’s just what I was studying,” Szymczak said. “But then during the internship, I became the arts and culture reporter, which was super fun because I got to go to festivals and events.”

Students work on WOUB’s NewsWatch during the internship and are encouraged to try different roles throughout the summer. When it was time for Szymczak to work as the weather forecaster, she was terrified and didn’t think she could do it.

“I was freaking out,” Szymczak said. “I was running around all day reporting on a story and had no time to practice. When it was time for NewsWatch, I don’t know what happened, but something just clicked. I really liked the whole aspect of not being scripted and being able to make it personal in a way.”

As a weather forecaster, Szymczak says she can express her personality, which has led her to want to pursue a career in the meteorology field. After graduating from Ohio University this spring, she plans to continue her education by studying meteorology.

“Doing weather has opened up a new path for me to get my personality out and have fun with it. Without WOUB, I would never have found my passion for weather forecasting,” said Szymczak .

While being a full-time journalism student, Szymczak also does modeling on the side. She has done work for multiple companies, including Wendy’s.