Today, we’re honoring a woman who paved an uncharted path for women of color in meteorology, becoming the first African-American woman to be an on-air meteorologist.
Lisa Teachman, the chief meteorologist at our sister station in Wichita, Kansas, shares her story.
She had a dream that became a legacy…
Dail St. Claire, daughter of June Bacon- Bercey: “She always loved the atmosphere. We grew up with weather balloons!”
June Bacon-Bercey would leave her home in Wichita…to earn her Master’s Degree at UCLA.
Dail St. Claire: “My mom was very focused on making sure we knew our roots.”
Her daughter says her heritage was just as important as the future she was paving for meteorologists and women of color.
Dail St. Claire: “From her perspective, she had the skills and the clear path from an intellectual curiosity to pursue a path that had not been paved before.”
She’d become the first woman and African American to be awarded the American Meteorological Society Seal of Approval for Excellence in Television Weathercasting.
Her career would include working at NOAA, the US Atomic Energy Commission and The National Weather Service – all at a time when men greatly outweighed women in the scientific fields.
Dail St. Claire: “She was obviously one of the only women in her classes. She faced more issues of her gender than her race. When she was called a weather girl she would smile and say how proud she was to be a meterologist.”
Chief Meteorologist Lisa Teachman: “Advancing the science of meteorology was a big goal of June’s particularly with women. That’s what drew her to a network game, winning $64,000.”
Dail St. Claire: “That was her vision of being able to start a scholarship for women in meteorology.”
Leaving a legacy…that paved the way for so many to follow.