NOAA 2001-R802
Contact: Jeanne Kouhestani


Rear Admiral Evelyn J. Fields, NOAA, is being honored today by Dominion Virginia Power in Richmond for its "Strong Men & Women: Excellence in Leadership" educational series.

"Strong Men & Women" highlights the accomplishments of selected African-American role models and converts their stories into an educational series that is distributed during Black History Month to more than 12,000 schools across Dominion's service area in Virginia, northeastern North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. The program's goal is show today's youth that success in adulthood can be achieved through hard work and determination.

Fields has blazed a number of trails at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, an environmental science agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce. 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 Dominion Virginia Power award is the latest of several major awards Fields has received in the past year. In 2000 the U.S. Department of Commerce awarded Fields a Gold Medal, its highest honor, for leadership; the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Virginia passed a Senate Joint Memorial Resolution in honor of her contributions to the Norfolk community; and the Explorers Club in New York honored her with the Lowell Thomas Explorer Award for outstanding achievement in ocean exploration. Also, in 1999 she received the Ralph M. Metcalfe Health, Education and Science Award from the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, and was selected as Woman of the Year by the Maryland Federation of Business and Professional Women's Clubs, Inc.

Fields is a native of Norfolk, Va., where her mother, Jerlean Fields, still resides. She currently lives in Germantown, Md.

Fields holds a bachelor's degree in mathematics (1970) from Norfolk State College.