John Follaco | July 19, 2023
“Passion Fuels Passion”
Buffalo-area meteorologist credits her professors for instilling the love of weather that is at the core of her success.
Kaylee Wendt’s goal was to find a career that pairs what she describes as her big and bubbly personality with her love of science. Television viewers across Western New York can see it on display each day.
Wendt ’14 is a meteorologist for Spectrum News in Buffalo. And she developed her passion for the field at SUNY Brockport.
“I had such a good experience,” Wendt says. “It felt a lot different than it did at other colleges where classrooms are huge and you don’t get that one-on-one experience.”
The highlight of her Brockport experience was going storm chasing with two of her professors. They traveled across the country and into Canada. Each morning, they would wake up, conduct a weather briefing, and decide where to drive that day.
We saw hail the size of softballs. We saw a wedge tornado, which can cause severe damage because it’s on the ground for 30 to 40 minutes.
“We saw hail the size of softballs. We saw a wedge tornado, which can cause severe damage because it’s on the ground for 30 to 40 minutes. Thankfully, this was in a rural area and nobody was hurt,” she said. “We saw the kind of stuff that you can only read about in Western New York.”
Wendt got her start working part-time at a network affiliate in the Rochester market, thanks to a connection she made with a Brockport alum. From there, she moved home to Buffalo. Now she covers Buffalo, Rochester, and Syracuse weather for Spectrum News — a role she’s been in for more than four years.
“I think it takes a specific type of person to get up every morning and go be on TV. Once the allure wears off, you need passion to keep you thriving. I definitely have that for the weather,” Wendt said. “Dr. (Scott) Rochette continues to be an inspiration for me. Passion fuels passion. When you’re taught by someone who is so passionate, you learn from them. I try to keep that in my every day life.”