June Bacon-Bercey

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June Bacon-Bercey
June Bacon-Bercey.png
June Bacon-Bercey, around 1977
Born(1932-10-23)23 October 1932
Alma mater
Scientific career
  • Meteorology
  • Radar metereology
  • Aviation meteorology
  • Weather forecasting

June Esther Bacon-Bercey (née Griffin, born October 23, 1932) is an international expert on weather and aviation[1] who has worked for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Weather Service and the Atomic Energy Commission.[2] She is believed to be the first African-American woman to gain a degree in meteorology.[3]

Early life and education[edit]

Bacon-Bercey was born and raised in Wichita.[4] She earned her bachelor's degree in 1954 from the University of Kansas and her master's degree in 1955 from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).[4][5] She earned a Masters of Public Administration (MPA) from the University of Southern California in 1979.[4]


Bacon-Bercey began her career as an engineer, when she worked for the Sperry Corporation, then worked for a variety of federal organizations including the United States Atomic Energy Commission (as a consultant), the National Weather Service Aviation Branch, and the National Meteorological Center.[5]

Beginning in 1979, Bacon-Bercey spent nearly ten years as the chief administrator for Television Weather Activities at NOAA and worked on a number of other projects.[2][5]

Increasing the participation of African-American women in metereology and geophysical science has been a major focus for Bacon-Bercey. In 1978, she published an analysis of African-American meteorologists in the US.[6] She had won $64,000 as a contestant on The $128,000 Question in 1977, which she used to establish a scholarship fund for young women interested in atmospheric sciences, administered by the American Geophysical Union (AGU).[7][8] Bacon-Bercey served on the AGU's Committee on Women and Minorities in Atmospheric Sciences, and co-founded the American Metereological Society's Board on Women in Minorities.[4]

In 2006, Bacon-Bercey featured in a book for young people, June Bacon-Bercey: a meteorologist talks about the weather.[9]


Bacon-Bercey was the first woman, as well as the first African-American, to be awarded the American Meteorological Society's Seal of Approval for excellence in television weathercasting when she was working in Buffalo, New York in the 1970s.

In 2000, she was honored during a three-day conference at Howard University for her contributions including: helping to establish a meteorology lab at Jackson State University in Mississippi, her endowment of the scholarship, and her work in California's public schools.[10] Bacon-Bercey was also named a Minority Pioneer for Achievement in Atmospheric Sciences by NASA.[4]


  1. ^ Pat Viets (2000-03-15). "NOAA Supporting Conference in Atmospheric Sciences at Howard University". NOAA. Retrieved 2008-02-13.
  2. ^ a b Bill Workman (2000-03-23). "Substitute Science Teacher is a Meteorology Legend". The San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2008-02-13.
  3. ^ Chandler, D.L. "Little Known Black History Fact: June Bacon-Bercey". BlackAmericaWeb. Retrieved 16 February 2018.
  4. ^ a b c d e Spangenburg, Ray; Moser, Kit (2012). African Americans in Science, Math and Invention. Revised by Steven Otfinoski (Revised ed.). Facts on File, Inc. pp. 7–8. ISBN 9780816083312.
  5. ^ a b c Warren, Wini (1999-01-01). Black Women Scientists in the United States. Indiana University Press. ISBN 0253336031.
  6. ^ Bacon-Bercey, June (May 1978). "Statistics on Black Meteorologists in Six Organizational Units of the Federal Government". Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. 59 (5): 576–580. doi:10.1175/1520-0477(1978)059<0576:sobmis>2.0.co;2. Retrieved 19 February 2017.
  7. ^ "June Bacon-Bercey wins $64,000 in TV quiz show" (PDF). NOAA News (Vol 2 No 10). National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. 13 May 1977.
  8. ^ Anonymous (1978). "June Bacon-Bercey Scholarship in atmospheric sciences". Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union. 59 (12): 1012. Bibcode:1978EOSTr..59Q1012.. doi:10.1029/EO059i012p01012-01.
  9. ^ Weil, Ann (2006). June Bacon-Bercey : a meteorologist talks about the weather. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 0618599541.
  10. ^ Workman, Bill (March 23, 2000). "Substitute Science Teacher Is a Meteorology Legend / Weather pioneer June Bacon-Bercey given more honors". SFGate. Retrieved 29 March 2017.