Our STEM interests aren’t isolated – and enjoying one area of STEM often means we enjoy plenty of others, too. Meet Dr June Bacon-Bercey. She was an expert on weather and aviation. She was also the first African American woman to earn a degree in meteorology (and the first trained female tv meteorologist!
Growing up in America, June’s parents worked as an attorney and a music teacher. She loved outdoor activities such as hiking, bike riding and girl scout activities. Yet, her love for science was soon picked up by her physics teacher in high school, who saw how talented she was.
She began studying for a major in mathematics but switched to what she loved; meteorology. Following her passions, she went on to study this at university. Despite her passion, she felt discouraged when she faced criticism from the university staff. She was told she should pursue home economics ( food preparation, cooking and cleaning) instead.
Despite her setbacks, she graduated with a degree in meteorology. After this, she became a Weather Analyst and Forecaster for the National Meteorological Centre!
She progressed through her career into roles that became more and more senior and worked hard to see more women like her in the world of meteorology. After participating in a game show and winning $64,000, she used the money to create a scholarship fund for young women in meteorology and atmospheric sciences. This scholarship is still running today!
Not only that, but she also co-founded the American Meteorological Societies board for Women and Minorities and throughout her life worked tirelessly to make STEM inclusive.