Natasha D. White, Ph.D., receives 2023 Women of Color in STEM award

Natasha D. White, Ph.D., from NOAA’s Office of Education, was recognized at the 28th annual Women of Color STEM Conference offsite link, which was held from October 12-14, 2023, in Detroit, Michigan. The Women of Color STEM Conference helps women improve their education and careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.

Natasha and the conference host, Eric S. Musser, stand side-by-side in black-tie attire as Natasha accepts a placard as her award. They stand in front of a screen that is projecting the Women of Color in STEM logo.

Natasha D. White, Ph.D., a program manager with NOAA’s Office of Education, received the 2023 Women of Color in STEM Professional Achievement in Government Award at the 28th annual Women of Color STEM Conference in Detroit, Michigan. Host Eric S. Musser, President and Chief Operating Officer, Corning, Inc., presented her with the award. (Image credit: Women of Color STEM DTX™)

Dr. White received the 2023 Women of Color in STEM Professional Achievement in Government Award, which recognizes a mid-career professional with significant accomplishments in an engineering or technology industry or government agency. The award emphasizes the recipient’s achievements as a leader and role model.

Dr. White is a Program Manager with the Educational Partnership Program with Minority Serving Institutions (EPP/MSI). Get to know Dr. White as she shares her path to a career at NOAA and her advice for future STEM leaders.

How did you get your start at NOAA?

I joined NOAA as an EPP/MSI Graduate Sciences Program fellow in 2007. I was hired by NOAA’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science as an Environmental Scientist.

What keeps you motivated to continue doing this work?

My passion for ensuring equitable access to higher education opportunities and STEM careers to students from traditionally underrepresented communities motivates me to work for EPP/MSI. Being able to work closely with students to understand the challenges they face — and being able to offer solutions based on my personal and professional experiences — is also fulfilling and motivates me to work in this realm.

Do you have any advice for early-career STEM professionals or students who are interested in STEM?

I encourage early-career STEM professionals and students who are interested in STEM to actively seek networking and professional growth opportunities whenever possible. This will help you gain a better understanding of your organization and how your skills and interests align with its mission and objectives. Understanding the organization and its culture are essential for career advancement and personal growth.

Watch Dr. White’s acceptance speech from the 2023 Women of Color in STEM Awards Ceremony.

Read more about Dr. White

Natasha D. White, Ph.D., is a program manager with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Office of Education, Educational Partnership Program with Minority Serving Institutions (EPP/MSI). She is responsible for the management and oversight of the EPP/MSI Undergraduate Scholarship Program and supports the management of the NOAA Cooperative Science Centers. Dr. White is passionate about the goals and objectives of the EPP/MSI program to ensure candidates from historically excluded communities gain access to education and training in STEM disciplines relevant to NOAA’s mission. She was selected to represent NOAA in interagency activities, including NSF INCLUDES, the federally mandated Interagency Working Group for Inclusion in STEM, and the White House Initiative on HBCUs.

Prior to her current role, Dr. White worked as an environmental scientist with the NOAA National Ocean Service where she studied the impacts of environmental contaminants of emerging concern on the health of marine mammals, fish, and other marine species. Publications from her research on contaminant body burden and impacts to marine mammals and sediment contaminant levels in South Carolina have been used in congressional inquiries and are currently being used as justification in support of updates to policies that relate to perfluorinated compounds in the environment.  

Dr. White earned her B.S. in biology from Florida A&M University and her M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in environmental sciences from Florida A&M University. She has been recognized for her achievements, including receiving a 2023 Women of Color in STEM Award for Professional Achievement in Government, 2022 NOAA Administrator’s Award, Co-Principal Investigator of Full STEAM Ahead: Powering the Next Generation of Geoscience Leaders, NOAA Team Member of the Month, NCCOS People’s Committee EEO and Diversity Award, NSF Hearts of G.O.L.D. Diversity Leadership award, and the National Ocean Service EEO and Diversity Awards. In her spare time she is active with the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Anne Arundel County Chapter and the Girl Scouts of America, Nation’s Capital, and enjoys spending time with her husband Richard and children RJ and Ryan.