NOAA employees recognized at Women of Color STEM Conference

November 8, 2016 Congratulations to the four NOAA awardees at the 2016 Technology All-Stars Awards at the Technological Recognition Luncheon during the 21st Women of Color STEM Conference in Detroit, Michigan, on October 14, 2016. Educational Partnership Program with Minority Serving Institutions (EPP/MSI) Alum Dr. LaToya Myles and EPP/MSI Program Manager Dr. Jacqueline Rousseau were recognized, as well as Rhapsody Renee Smith-Dearring of the NOAA Satellite and Information Service and Deirdre Jones of the National Weather Service.
(Left to Right) NOAA's Technology All Star Awardees: Deidre Jones, Rhapsody Renee Smith-Dearring, and LaToya Myles. Not pictured: Jacqueline Rousseau.

The Women of Color STEM Conference has been recognizing the achievement of women in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) careers for more than 20 years. The awards have earned widespread praise for offering unique opportunities for women to leverage their career successes into gains for themselves and the STEM community as a whole. As part of its diversity and inclusion initiative, NOAA was one of the sponsors of this year’s conference through the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation. The exhibit hall featured a NOAA booth and staff attending the event spoke with many students and attendees about NOAA scholarships and STEM career opportunities.

Recently promoted to a Deputy Division Director position in the NOAA Air Resources Laboratory, Dr. LaToya Myles mentors underrepresented undergraduate and graduate students pursuing careers in atmospheric science, environmental research, and other disciplines.  Her research focus is atmospheric deposition of trace gases and particles in terrestrial ecosystems. As a mentor, she provides students with professional development and research opportunities in addition to their academic training and serves as an example of professional scientific achievement for groups underrepresented in STEM. She is also actively involved in K-12 outreach and frequently speaks to students about career exploration in science and technology.

Dr. Jacqueline Rousseau led a team of academics and federal employees in the design, development and implementation of the EPP/MSI Program, which was designed to increase the diversity of the NOAA workforce. Over the past 15 years, she has been working in collaboration with minority-serving institutions to increase the number of students from underrepresented communities who are trained and graduate with degrees in STEM fields supporting NOAA’s mission. EPP/MSI support to academic institutions has changed national statistics for underrepresented STEM graduates in NOAA mission fields.

Rhapsody Renee Smith-Dearring manages NOAA’s Office of Satellite and Product Operations Engineering Mission Operations Support Services Contract. This contract provides engineering services to maintain ten of NOAA’s operational environmental satellites, which provide critical data used by NWS to protect life and property. She is also the Initial Joint Polar System Manager for the Office of Satellite and Product Operations.

Deirdre Jones is the Director of the Office of Facilities for the National Weather Service, where she is responsible for the NWS’s portfolio of real property, including both owned and leased Weather Forecast Offices across the US and its territories. She has also served as the Director of Systems Engineering and the acting Director of Operational Systems for the NWS.