NOAA 2000-823
Contact: Jeanne Kouhestani


Rear Admiral Evelyn J. Fields, NOAA, has been honored by The Explorers Club with the prestigious Lowell Thomas Award for Outstanding Achievement in Ocean Exploration. The award was presented to her at the Lowell Thomas Awards Dinner on Nov. 28 in New York.

The President of The Explorers Club presents the "Lowells" on special occasions to groups of particularly outstanding explorers. The award is given to individuals who "have made discoveries that have transformed our knowledge and understanding of the seas. They also serve as role models for a new generation of scientists, explorers, and adventurers who will take our knowledge of the seas to even greater depths during this 21st Century." Fields received the award along with other pioneers in the field, including Dr. Sylvia Earle and Jean-Michel Cousteau.

Fields has blazed a number of trails at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Most notably, she was the first woman, and first African American, to be appointed to her current position as director of the NOAA Commissioned Corps and Office of Marine and Aviation Operations; she was also the first woman to command a federal ship for an extended period at sea. Fields has spent countless hours mentoring young people, and as a role model has introduced them to the exciting possibilities to be found in a science career.

The Explorers Club is a multi-disciplinary professional non-profit society dedicated to the advancement of field research, scientific exploration, and the ideal that it is vital to preserve the instinct to explore. Founded in 1904, the club's flag has been carried on some of the most prestigious expeditions of the twentieth century, ranging from Sir Edmund Hillary's conquest of Mt. Everest, to the Apollo Moon Voyage. The Club began awarding "Lowells" at its 75th anniversary in 1980; this year's award is the seventh since that time.

Fields currently lives in Gaithersburg, Md. She is a native of Norfolk, Va., where her mother, Jerlean Fields, still resides. She holds a bachelor's degree in mathematics (1970) from Norfolk State College.