NEW YORK (PIX11) – As we continue to celebrate Black History Month, we honor Black voices and experiences. PIX11 shines a light on June Bacon-Bercey. As the first female TV meteorologist, she laid down the groundwork for others to follow.
Dail St. Claire recounts a childhood memory of her mother that will forever be etched in her mind. There was a blackout across the Northeast and the power went out. However, June Bacon-Bercey was determined to be there for her daughters and make it back to work on time. It was a glimpse of her mom’s journey filled with struggle and determination.
It was the atomic bombing of Hiroshima in 1945 that sparked a passion in her to learn more about the impacts on the environment. Bacon-Bercey later attended UCLA to study meteorology, becoming the first Black woman to receive a meteorology degree from the institution in 1954. In addition to working in television, she held positions at the Atomic Energy Commission, National Weather Service, and National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration.
Her dream of forecasting weather on television came true when the chief meteorologist wasn’t available for the 6 p.m. newscast. Bacon-Bercey stepped in and became the first female TV meteorologist.
Breaking down racial barriers was only part of Bacon-Bercey’s mission. She also focused on paying it forward. St. Claire recalls the impact her Mom had after entering the school’s science fair.
That experience later evolved when she co-founded the American Meteorological Society’s Board on Women and Minorities to encourage others to pursue a career in stem, solidifying her mark in the industry. To honor Bacon Bercey’s work, the American Meteorological Society renamed its award after her mom.
As for St. Claire, her mom’s career has had a lasting impact on her too. She founded two companies, focusing on financial innovation. SImilar to Bacon Bercey’s love for the environment, St. Claire is passionate about developing investment plans around carbon credits.