NOAA 2000-305
Contact: Pat Viets


Howard University is hosting a student conference on "Celebrating 20th Century Pioneers in Atmospheric Sciences, Examining 21st Century Challenges and Opportunities" on March 20-22 in Washington, D.C. Conference speakers will include several distinguished scientists and meteorological researchers from the Commerce Department's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Several of the NOAA speakers will also be honored as outstanding minority scientists and researchers during the conference.

The purpose of the conference is to celebrate the achievements of atmospheric scientists from traditionally minority groups during the 20th century; to encourage students to pursue graduate study and careers in atmospheric sciences and related fields; and to discuss issues that are particularly germane to traditionally under-represented groups in these fields. Minority groups include Hispanic, Native Americans, and African Americans.

Ben Watkins, chief of the Satellite Services Division at NOAA's National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service, Camp Springs, Md., will moderate a session on the role of federal agencies in increasing diversity in the atmospheric sciences. Speakers will discuss the current demographics, statistics, needs, opportunities, and challenges.

John Cortinas, from NOAA's National Severe Storms Laboratory, will conduct a panel session on matters within government laboratories. Topics will include career advancement, responsibilities, mentoring, outreach, and stress management. Lisa Mozer from The Weather Channel will lead a hands-on session devoted to professional development. Gregory Jenkins from the department of meteorology at Penn State University will moderate a session that examines the need for an organization in the atmospheric sciences that deals with issues of interest to African, Hispanic, and Native Americans.

Several prominent people will be honored at the conference. They include: John Jones Jr., deputy directory of NOAA's National Weather Service; Dr. Lexion Avila, hurricane forecaster at NOAA's National Hurricane Center; Dr. Charles Edward Anderson (post humously) the first African American to earn a Ph.D. in meteorology; June Bacon-Bercey, an international expert on weather and aviation; Vivian Brown, a broadcaster at the Weather Channel; Dr. Denise Stephenson-Hawk, provost at Spelman College; Dr. Mario Molina, faculty at MIT, who shared the Nobel prize in chemistry with two other scientists; and Dr. Warren Morton Washington, a research meteorologist.

Funds are available to support travel expenses for 40 students and postdoctoral fellows. For additional information, contact Vernon R. Morris at 202-806-5450 or 301-614-6302, or by e-mail at:

More information about the conference and a registration form are available at: