Amber Liggett, a Bridgewater, Pennsylvania native, is a two-time graduate of Millersville University with an impressive – and unusual – resume. She first earned her bachelor’s degree in meteorology in 2018 and then went on to earn a master’s degree in emergency management in the spring of 2020. “I am [proud] to be a Marauder,” she said. “Millersville has really shaped [me into] the professional I am today. I couldn’t imagine my college career at any other institution!”
Liggett says that the support she received from MU’s professors during her time as a student made all the difference to her. “Dr. Richard Clark and Dr. Sepi Yalda were the two faculty members who impacted my time at MU the most,” said Liggett. “If it weren’t for them, I would not have attended MU for my B.S. in the first place.” Liggett met the two professors at the American Meteorology Society’s annual meeting in Atlanta, Georgia when she was a senior in high school. Because of their chance encounter, she signed up for a tour of the University and enrolled shortly thereafter. “They both played instrumental roles in my learning and internship opportunities.”
And Liggett had plenty of both. An eager undergraduate student and aspiring meteorologist, she took advantage of the many opportunities afforded to her at MU, going on to intern at the National Weather Service, National Weather Center, WGAL and more. In fact, she even landed a gig as freelance broadcast meteorologist at ABC27 during the tail-end of her undergraduate experience, which she continues to this day. “Each internship topic led me to the next until I honed-in on communicating the social science of meteorology through education and outreach,” she explained.
But Liggett’s enterprising spirit and drive started long before her days as a student and meteorologist. In fact, Liggett had her own business as a child: Amber’s Amazing Animal Balloons. She started the LLC as a precocious 9-year old (with the help of her serial entrepreneurial parents, Lamont and Marcia Liggett), selling her handmade balloon creations for just $1 a piece at a small event in her community. “By age 13, I was teaching balloon art and other courses to children with autism at my local community college and motivating other youth through public speaking engagements,” she said.
Her balloon business continued to take off, thanks in part to her mother’s connections which got her placed as a vendor at local events. Eventually, it even became an international, awarding-winning business. “I was one of the Network For Teaching Entrepreneurship’s Global Young Entrepreneurs of the Year in 2011, Black Enterprise’s Teenpreneur of the Year in 2012 and The ROOT’s Young Futurists in 2013,” said Liggett. Her growing business also caught the eye of the media, and was featured on the nationally syndicated PBS show, BizKid$, in 2012, along with regional coverage from other media outlets.
Liggett’s side-hustle has grown up with her and reflects her newfound passions. “Today, I offer party packages with additional services, decorative arrangements, and S.T.E.A.M. (where the A stands for art) educational opportunities,” she said. “The business helped me learn discipline, time management, entrepreneurial, marketing and networking skills. It also gave me the money to buy my first car and pay my way through college!” Her creations, which have grown increasingly detailed and complex over the years, have also been featured at MU’s Homecoming and several other on-campus events.
Liggett says her ideal job would combine her passions for education and communication. “My dream role would be to work at the intersection of both fields, studying local hazard risk perceptions and risk communication messaging,” she explained. “I want to work with communities across the country to first understand their specific vulnerabilities and develop appropriate preparedness plans.”
As for future Marauders, Liggett offers this piece of advice: “I would advise prospective students to definitely apply to MU! This University is forward thinking and has unlimited opportunities,” she said. “It’s important to engage with your professors [because] they are passionate about making sure you actually learn.”