June-Bacon Bercey

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By:Lo. Ty.
Meteorologist June-Bacon Bercey, born June Esther Griffin, is a native of Wichita, Kansas. She was the only child of James Griffin, an attorney, and Cherrie MacSalles, a music teacher. Being married twice, once in 1956 to Walker Bacon (doctor) and in 1968 to John Bercey (businessman), is how she got the combination of her last name. Her parents were an influence of her interest in science at a young age and her interest in science stayed with her in high school. She spent a brief time attending a segregated high school in Florida, where African Americans weren’t encouraged to pursue an interest in math and science subjects. Bercey returned to Kansas and attended a racially mixed school where those subjects were taught to everyone enthusiastically. It was her physics teacher who noticed Bercey’s interest in science that encouraged her to ponder a profession in meteorology. She then attended the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), earning a Bachelors of Science in Mathematics and Meteorology in 1954 and a Masters of Science in the same degree in 1995, thus making history for African Americans in becoming the first African American female professional meteorologist in the U.S. Bacon-Bercey then worked as a meteorologist for the National Meteorological Center located in Washington, D.C. from 1956 to 1962 where she prepared weather forecasting reports. She then left NMC to work as a consultant for the Sperry Rand Corporation at the Atomic Energy Commission, monitoring the effects of nuclear explosions in the atmosphere. In 1970 she began working for NBC in Buffalo, New York as a correspondent on scientific news. Bercey predicted that there would be a heat wave and when her prediction became true, she began working as a meteorologist at NBC, thus becoming the first black women meteorologist to be on television. For her achievement, Bercey became the first African American and the first women to earn the American Meteorological Society’s Seal...
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