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EPIC Celebrates Women’s History Month

March is Women’s History Month, so this month EPIC is reflecting on women’s achievements throughout the program. Read on to learn about these women’s contributions to accelerating advances in our nation’s operational forecast modeling systems.

Ligia Bernardet 

Photo of Ligia Bernardet Photo of Ligia Bernardet

What do you do at NOAA? 

I am the deputy chief of the Earth Prediction Advancement Division (EPAD) within the Global Systems Laboratory and, in that capacity, I assist with the division management by preparing budgets, working on hiring actions, and strategizing how we can best meet our objectives. We are a group of 32 scientists that work on various aspects of numerical weather prediction, including atmospheric physics, air quality and fire weather on scales ranging from thunderstorms to the entire Earth. I also co-lead projects related to the development and testing of atmospheric physical parameterization for possible transition to NOAA operational forecast models.

What do you enjoy most about what you do? 

Bringing people of diverse backgrounds and interests together to work toward common goals. For this reason, I am engaged with the Developmental Testbed Center (DTC), which stimulates the research community to work on problems that are relevant to the National Weather Service and have the potential of improving NOAA operational forecast models.

What career advice would you give to a woman just starting out in their career? 

Work hard, follow your passion, and do not be afraid to ask questions or to share your thoughts with your colleagues.

Jamie Wolff

Photo of Jaime Wolff Photo of Jaime Wolff

I work at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) / Research Applications Lab (RAL) in the Joint Numerical Testbed Program (JNTP), where I am the science Deputy Director and also with the Developmental Tested Center (DTC), where I am a project lead focused largely on limited area modeling, ensemble design, and forecast verification. In addition to these responsibilities, I also thoroughly enjoy broadening the use of numerical weather prediction (NWP) models through education and outreach, particularly at the university level. My hope is that all the women just starting their career can find a mentor that they respect and trust to help them excel in their journey and encourage them to use their voice as they pave their own path.

Xia Sun

Photo of Xia Sun at Green Mountain
Photo of Xia Sun, taken at Green Mountain.

What is your title? 

I am a Research Scientist at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) at the University of Colorado, Boulder, working at the NOAA Global Systems Lab.

What do you do at NOAA? 

My work contributes to improving NOAA’s operational numerical weather prediction (NWP) model. Specifically, I work to make the NWP model better represent physics within the lowest 2000 m above the ground, the atmospheric layer which has strong impacts on human life. I also work on testing and evaluation of the Unified Forecast System (UFS) with an emphasis on high-impact weather, such as winter storms, hurricanes, and extreme temperatures. I create and maintain a public website, UFS Case Studies, that hosts resources and information on the performances of different UFS weather applications on simulating those weather events. The broad community, including academia, can benefit from using cases provided on this website to test their physics innovations for the UFS.

What do you enjoy most about what you do? 

I enjoy interactions and collaborations with my colleagues and the UFS community to work towards better weather forecasts for the future.

What career advice would you give to a woman just starting out in their career? 

My advice for early-career women scientists is: ‘Be you and be fierce’. It’s important to keep in mind that building a career takes time and effort. Fostering positive thinking, especially when coming across obstacles, and creating a well-balanced life and work environment, will help your career in the long run. Life is short and work should be fun!

Maoyi Huang

Maoyi Huang at her desk
Maoyi Huang at her desk

What do you do at NOAA? 

I am a research physical scientist at NOAA Weather Program Office. I manage the Earth Prediction Innovation Center (EPIC) Program. In this role I am responsible for strategic, budget, and program planning and execution of the EPIC program.

What do you enjoy most about what you do? 

To fulfill EPIC’s mission as the catalyst for community research and modeling system advances to continually inform and accelerate advances in our nation’s operational forecast modeling system, I am challenged to continuously enhance my scientific/technical knowledge as a scientist, as well as to polish my communication and management skills as a program manager. I am learning something new everyday.

What career advice would you give to a woman just starting out in their career? 

Follow your heart and pursue your dream. You will be most productive when you have a passion for your work. Keep in mind that both successes and failures pave the road for your journey toward a successful career.

Jun Wang

Photo of Jun Wang
Photo of Jun Wang

What do you do at NOAA? 

I am a physical scientist at the NOAA’s Environmental Modeling Center (EMC). I lead the model infrastructure development team for the Unified Forecast System at EMC in developing software infrastructure, working with the research community to transition advancements to operational models, managing the UFS weather model code repository, and supporting operational implementations. I am also the co-chair of the National Earth System Prediction Capability (ESPC) Model Component Interoperability & Integration working group, where we work to improve the earth system component code sharibility and portability for efficient code development.

What do you enjoy most about what you do? 

I really enjoy working with developers from the broad communities to improve NOAA’s operational model forecast skills. It’s my great pleasure to see that the advancements from many organizations and agencies have been integrated into operational models and improved NOAA’s forecast products. I am passionate about motivating others to find new ways to meet the challenges of supporting complex modeling systems.

What career advice would you give to a woman just starting out in their career? 

I encourage women who are just starting out in their careers to take on those challenges, to equip themselves with new technologies, and to work hard to achieve their goals. I am sure they will find great joy and fulfillment during this journey.

Leah Dubots

Photo of Leah Dubots
Photo of Leah Dubots with her cat.

What do you do at NOAA? 

I am a management and program analyst supporting the Earth Prediction Innovation Center (EPIC) program. In this role I assist in the planning and evaluation of the EPIC program, lead communication and outreach efforts, and help to achieve strategic goals through tactical execution of deliverables and objectives.

What do you enjoy most about what you do? 

I enjoy working with EPIC because I believe providing public access to NOAA’s model codes and accelerating community code improvements into operations will both benefit society and provide more equitable access to information.

What career advice would you give to a woman just starting out in their career? 

For others just starting out in their career, I would offer the following advice:

(1) Believe in yourself. Don’t doubt your knowledge, skills, and perseverance that got you to the position you’re in.

(2) Find mentors who believe in you and nurture your development as a whole person.

(3) Speak up! Advocate for yourself and for the other people that will follow behind you.

(4) Don’t be afraid to try something new! People don’t ask you to do hard projects because they think you’re going to fail. You might be uncomfortable, but you can do it.

(5) It’s okay to ask for help. The people that want to see you succeed are going to help you through any of the professional challenges you face.

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