While Jamese Sims was growing up in Mississippi, she often visited family in Indiana, and remembers being interested in why the weather was different several states away. Showing an early affinity for math, she began pursuing an accounting degree at Jackson State University (JSU). A math professor took notice of her interests and abilities during her first year and encouraged her to visit the Physics Department and learn more about its programs.
After speaking with the Physics Department Chair, Jamese decided to change her major to Meteorology. She found an advisor who introduced her to numerical weather prediction research and the Educational Partnership Program with Minority Serving Institutions (EPP/MSI). She learned that the Jackson State University Meteorology Program was originally founded by a National Weather Service Meteorologist, Keith Johnson, and that NOAA had been investing in the program through EPP/MSI since 2001. As an undergraduate, Jamese was able to author publications on her research with Dr. R. S. Reddy on hurricane prediction, and she presented her research at many national conferences and scientific meetings.
Jamese was selected as an EPP/MSI Undergraduate Scholar in 2003. She conducted two summer internships with NOAA, which helped prepare her for a career as a scientist. Her first summer was spent at the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) Environmental Modeling Center, utilizing a genetic algorithm to better locate the Gulf Stream. Her second internship was with the Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Lab in Miami, Florida, where she re-analyzed the 1926 hurricane season, studied the Great Miami Hurricane, and co-authored peer reviewed publications with Dr. Chris Landsea.
To continue her education, Jamese applied and was selected for the EPP Graduate Sciences Program. She earned her doctorate in Atmospheric Sciences from Howard University in Fall 2009 while conducting research at the NCEP Environmental Modeling Center. Her dissertation focused on the relationship between sensible and latent heat fluxes and Atlantic hurricane intensity. With the professional development and research experience Jamese gained through EPP, she transitioned to a full-time Meteorologist at the National Weather Service upon completing her doctorate.
Jamese worked for the National Weather Service for 12 years, with a focus on developing and maintaining predicative tools used for forecasting across NOAA. During this time, she built relationships and developed strong project management skills. She also served as a mentor for many EPP/MSI students and worked closely with the NOAA Center for Atmospheric Sciences, to which JSU is a partner. In addition, she served as the co-chair for the Jackson State University Meteorology Program’s 40th Anniversary Celebration.
On her role as a mentor, Jamese says, “my work allows me the opportunity to mentor young scientists from underrepresented communities and encourage them to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Sharing knowledge and advice to help others makes me want to strive harder every day."
Dr. Sims wanted to continue challenging herself while utilizing both her technical and project management skills. As a result, in 2016 she joined NOAA Satellites as the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite R (GOES-R) Series Algorithm Engineer. She is now based at NASA Goddard in Greenbelt, Maryland, where she is part of the GOES-R Program’s integrated team of NOAA and NASA scientists and engineers.
In her current role, Jamese oversees GOES-R Series Product Systems Development and Implementation projects and funding. She champions and supports the development and implementation of weather satellite products to meet customer needs within cost and schedule of project plans. Jamese is also the Geostationary Operational Requirements Working Group Chair for GOES-R future capabilities where she leads requirement activities in collaboration with NOAA Line Office representatives, and she is a member of the GOES-R Product Readiness and Operations Team.
The most recent GOES-R satellite, GOES-16, launched successfully in November 2016, and Jamese was selected as one of the panelists to explain the new satellite to an audience of guests the day before the launch at Cape Canaveral, Florida. When she returned to NASA Goddard, Jamese was honored with the Outstanding Team Member-Employee of the Quarter Award to recognize her tireless work on the GOES-R Program.
In June 2017, Jamese was selected as NOAA Employee of the Month, recognizing her important role as a leader in fostering diversity and inclusion at NOAA and in the field of meteorology. In addition to Jamese’s many scientific roles, she is the Recruitment Team Co-Chair for NOAA’s Diversity and Professional Advancement Working Group, and she is also a member of the American Meteorological Society’s Board of Women and Minorities. She has continued to mentor students and partners with JSU to share her knowledge with the next generation of scientists.
On her achievements, Jamese reflects, “I never think of getting rewarded for what I do, but I am proud to have received the Office of Satellite Ground Services FY17 Q1 Employee of the Quarter Award and the June 2017 NOAA Employee of the Month Award for promoting diversity and inclusion within NOAA”.