Throughout the month of March, we celebrate Women’s History Month to commemorate the invaluable role of women in American history. This year NOAA’s Women’s History Month theme is “Visionary Women: Champions of Peace and Nonviolence.”
I am humbled to think about the amazing women who have walked, now walk, and will walk the halls of the National Ocean Service. The legacies of trailblazers like Dr. Nancy Foster and Margaret Davidson permeate the work that we do. I often think about their leadership and strength, and how they paved the way for women leaders at NOS today — including me.
Today’s women of NOS lead people and programs around the nation, from the offices of Silver Spring to the wilds of Alaska and the reefs of Florida. They brief me on high profile issues and deal with tough budget realities. They mentor. They include. They establish partnerships and have earned my trust in their judgment. As more women come through the door, find their footing, and ascend the ranks, I am heartened by their innate commitment to our mission, collaborative attitude, and innovative ideas. Because I stood on the shoulders of women like Nancy and Margaret, I keep my own shoulders as strong as I can in anticipation of the next wave of women leaders.
In recognition of Women’s History Month, we’re honoring a few notable women with careers tied to ocean science. While this list is by no means comprehensive, it pays homage to some of the women who defied social convention and paved the way for scientists, regardless of their gender, to protect, study, and explore the ocean and ocean life.