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Womens History Month - Amy Jo Scarino
By: Jaha Knight
As we continue our Women’s History Month celebration, we would like to highlight Scientific Analyst, Amy Jo Scarino.
After earning her B.S. in Meteorology from the Pennsylvania State University in 2008, she began supporting the Science Directorate at the NASA Langley Research Center as part of the airborne High Spectral Resolution Lidar (HSRL) group, working as a scientific analyst and programmer. Within the HSRL group, she is responsible for processing both atmosphere and ocean datasets for airborne field missions, as well as research applications to lidar measurements. She has supported two NASA EVS missions, the North Atlantic Aerosols and Marine Ecosystems Study (NAAMES, 2015-2018) and the Aerosol Cloud meteorology Interactions oVer the western ATlantic Experiment (ACTIVATE, 2020-2022), by providing operational weather forecasts to assist the team in flight planning.
“Certain weather events that I experienced growing up in West Michigan cemented my interest in meteorology; most notable was the May 31, 1998, Derecho that spun up a microburst right over my hometown. We had about a dozen 30-40 ft blue spruce trees that were twisted in half, which I witnessed clearly during lightning flashes as we hurried to the basement. While my work today isn't in severe weather, it sparked an interest in learning more about the atmosphere,” Scarino said when describing what inspired her to choose her career path.
During Amy’s career, she has gone from being the only woman on a six-person internship team sixteen years ago, to being surrounded by many amazing women scientists.
“I was encouraged by my 6th grade science teacher to attend a Science is for Girl's event that introduced me to potential future careers in STEM,” Scarino said.
Amy’s advice to young women interested in STEM who may be intimidated by the gender gap in the field is to,
“Find a mentor or teacher in a STEM field, look for opportunities (camps/internships), and just go for it!”
Amy has participated on many missions with NASA that have allowed her to see different parts of the world. One of her favorite missions was participating in the NASA EVS-2 Mission (NAAMES).
“For three of the four deployments, I traveled with the team to St. John's, Newfoundland as a member of the operational weather forecasting team and processed data for the HSRL group. I was able to explore the area outside of work duties - visited Cape Spear (the easternmost point in North America) and hiked to see an iceberg,” Scarino described.
She also became an Honorary Newfoundlander in September 2017 during a “Screech-In Ceremony” (which involved kissing a cod!!!)
Outside of work, Amy loves spending time with her family (husband, two kids, and a dog), running, gardening, and cheering on the Penn State Nittany Lions! We appreciate all the work Amy does to contribute to our team, and we invite you to read about our previous Women’s History Month Highlight, Min Huang!
Be sure to check our page tomorrow for our next Women’s History Month highlight! And click here to read about our previous Highlight Min Huang.