June Bacon-Bercey: Pioneer for women in meteorology from Kansas

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June Bacon-Bercey was focused and passionate about the weather and sharing it with the public. 

It’s a dream that has become a legacy all stirred up from the Kansas wind. June is a mother and a woman of many firsts. Plus, she’s from Wichita!  

“From her perspective, she had the skills and the clear path from an intellectual curiosity to pursue a path that had never been paved before,” said Dail St. Claire, June’s daughter.

After attending Friends University, June went on to complete her degrees at UCLA.  

She is the first African-American woman to receive a degree in meteorology. The first female television meteorologist. And the first woman and African-American to be awarded the American Meteorological Society Seal of Approval for Excellence in Television Weathercasting.  

She worked for National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the United States Atomic Energy Commission and the National Weather Service all at a time when men greatly outweighed women in scientific fields.  

“My mom was always about definitions. When she was called a weather girl, she would smile and say how proud she was to be a meteorologist in the context of who she was and using the term meteorologist.”

Advancing the science of meteorology, particularly for women, was a big goal of June’s. That’s what drew her to a network game show, winning $64,000.

That money started a scholarship for women in meteorology. Another example of how June Bacon-Bercey took on a challenge without looking back.    

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