Alumna on radar

Former Eagle Samantha Jacques casts her career in morning meteorology


Following her heart lead alumna Samantha Jacques to forging her own path. Jacques works as a weekday morning meteorologist broadcaster for 13 On Your Side in Grand Rapids, Michigan. “I just absolutely fell in love with it,” Jacques said. “I went home after my freshman year of college and said to my parents, ‘you know what, I’m changing everything.'”

Broadcasting morning forecasts to reporting afternoon phenomenons fill alumna Samantha Droope’s, known publicly as Samantha Jacques’ days at work.

“Every single day looks completely different and I love that part of it,” Jacques said. “I’m never just sitting at desks all day long and never doing the same thing day in and day out.”

She currently works at 13 On Your Side in Grand Rapids, Mich. However, that wasn’t always her plan. Aspiring to become a teacher, like her mom and sister, Jacques attended Central Michigan University (CMU) for their teaching program.

“I don’t know if I really opened my eyes to the wide array of jobs that were out there because teaching was what I knew because that was very comfortable for me,” Jacques said. “But, I realized really quickly when I got into school that maybe it wasn’t going to be for me.”

At CMU, Jacques took a variety of intro level courses, including meteorology. She fell in love with the class and decided to make changes to her future plans.

“It was kind of an alignment of the stars because they (CMU) have the only meteorology program in Michigan. It ended up being fate that I decided to pivot and then realized, ‘thank goodness that I was in the right place’,” Jacques said. 

Meteorology was a collision of science and public speaking, which she always loved. Two years of public speaking classes in high school taught Jacques how to articulate herself. Additionally, Droope was a teaching assistant for speech and communications teacher Lisa Packan.

“I always felt like she’s just one of those naturally good speakers. She motivated people and was always really positive, so nothing surprises me about her success,” Packan said.

As a senior in college, Jacques earned her first job at the 9 and 10 News in northern Michigan. She acquired her footing in forecasting, built graphics and learned to forecast severe weather. After a year and half, Jacques transitioned to 13 On Your Side in Grand Rapids, Michigan where she currently works.

“One of the most challenging parts is working long shifts and having 9 or 10 hour days if there are storms or big snowstorms. On those days while everybody else gets to go home early from school or work I’m working longer days, longer shifts and longer nights,” Jacques said.

Despite the challenges any career holds Jacques encourages others to work hard and follow their heart. She hopes that when others are plagued with doubts they continue to go after what they want.

“You can be whoever it is that you want to be, regardless of how you look, how you act or any of those things,” Jacques said. “Because at the end of the day, if you’re passionate about it, it’s going to work out for you.”