Remembering June Bacon Bercey, First African-American Female Meteorologist
June Bacon Bercey, a famous meteorologist was the first African American woman meteorologist with a degree in Meteorology. Bercey was the world’s first female meteorologist on television. Her daughter Dail St. Caire waited to announce the news of her mother’s demise publicly for six months in order to unveil a scholarship in the legacy of her mother. The scholarship aims to help women pursue careers in science which was Bercey’s last wish, reported AccuWeather.
- June Bacon Bercey passed away at the age of 90. Her daughter waited to announce the news of her mother’s demise publicly and revealed a scholarship to honour Bercey’s legacy.
- This scholarship aims to help women pursue careers in science which was her mother’s last wish.
- Bercey was a famous meteorologist. She was the first African American woman meteorologist and also the world’s first female meteorologist on television.
In the later stages of her life, Bercey greatly contributed to the field of education. Upon earning her teaching qualifications, she taught math and science in several primary and secondary public schools in California until 2015. Bercey took retirement from teaching because of old age. She passed away on July 3, 2019, at the age of 90.
Honouring June Bacon Bercey’s Legacy
“Her legacy is every person that graduated from this program, point blank period. That’s her legacy,” Janae Elkins, an NWS meteorologist while talking about the June Bacon Bercey Scholarship. This fund has produced a significant number of the America’s coloured meteorologists.
“My mom was my mentor and my role model in my life. I always speak about my mom in my life whenever I have a chance to speak in different venues. My mother achieved goals that she set for herself that were seemingly unachievable and certainly had not been achieved by women and minorities,” said Dail St. Caire in an interview with AccuWeather.
June Bacon Bercey’s Career
June Bercey grew up in the city of Wichita, Kansas in the USA and graduated from Friends University. She then pursued her Master’s degree from UCLA and moved to Buffalo, NY. In New York, she started working as a television reporter for a news channel, it was only after the weather forecaster at her news station got arrested, Bercey became a weather reporter and meteorologist.
It was later in this field that Bercey gained huge success and became an inspiration for women interested in meteorology. She became the first woman and African American to be awarded the American Meteorological Society Seal of Approval for Excellence in Television Weathercasting. Bercey additionally was also recognized by NASA as a Minority Pioneer for Achievement in Atmospheric Sciences.
She became the first woman and African American to be awarded the American Meteorological Society Seal of Approval for Excellence in Television Weathercasting.
We pause to honor the life & legacy of #JuneBaconBercey!She was the first African American woman meteorologist & the first woman television meteorologist in the US. Sadly, her July 2019 death was unreported until now but her impact will live on forever. 🕯 https://t.co/3AgiRXoGdh
— NABJ Headquarters (@NABJ) January 4, 2020
Her Contribution To The Society
In 1978, Bercey won $64,000 on the TV game show “The $128,000 Question”. She used that money to start a scholarship fund for women to pursue a career in meteorology and other scientific studies. The June Bacon-Bercey Scholarship for Women helped 12 women between 1978 and 1990 in attending college. Moreover, these women achieved success in the fields of geochemistry, physics, astronomy, meteorology and oceanography.
“I was discouraged (from becoming a meteorologist), and other women were discouraged,” Bacon-Bercey told The Washington Post in 1977.
Image Credits: USA Today
Gaurika Taneja is an intern with SheThePeople.Tv