“I wonder how people breathe in space? I wonder about space. Nobody answers though. I figure it out myself. I watch space programs on television. It is very interesting. It is fun learning about space and different countries.” -Excerpt from my journal at 9 years old.
Space has been a fascinating topic for me since I was young. It was the first glimmer into the world of science. And one of my biggest inspirations and supporters to pursue science was my grandma, Nana Verna, who instilled in me the fact that with a little hard work and imagination, you can achieve anything you put your mind to.
Nana Vern was not a scientist, but she was a trailblazer and an inspiration. She was one of the first women to work at the Chevron oil refinery in the San Francisco Bay Area…and also one of the first African American women to work there. Her pride in her achievements made me want to excel and was the driving force behind my determination to graduate in Atmospheric Science. Nana Vern reminded me constantly anything was possible and would even send me hand written letters to make sure I didn’t forget. Now that she has passed, I cherish those words she wrote to me all those years.
It’s incredible to celebrate Black History Month here at The Weather Channel. I celebrate the scientists before me, among me and those who come after me. I know my Nana Vern would be so proud of my work as a meteorologist. To me, Black History Month inspires me with the potential, the what if’s and why not me’s. The awe-inspiring first African-American female astronaut, Dr. Mae Carol Jemison sums it up perfectly to me: “Don’t let anyone rob you of your imagination, your creativity, or your curiosity. It’s your place in the world; it’s your life. Go on and do all you can with it, and make it the life you want to live.”