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Womens History Month - Christine Bloecker
by Jaha Knight
As we continue our Women’s History Month celebration, we would like to highlight Scientific Programmer/Analyst, Christine Bloecker.
After graduating SUNY Albany with a bachelors and master’s degree in Atmospheric Science, Christine accepted a summer internship with the Global Modeling and Assimilation Office (GMAO) at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, and as luck would have it, SSAI opened a position in field campaign forecast support just as her internship was ending. She has worked in the GMAO for five and a half years.
When asked what inspired her to choose her career path she stated,
“Weather has been a passion of mine ever since I was a child. My mom recalls me writing the day's forecast on the classroom chalkboard after Sunday school. I was still scared of tornadoes and severe storms, but my dad told me that the best tool against fear is knowledge, and that combination of fascination and fear led me to want to study meteorology in college.”
Though meteorology and atmospheric sciences are still male-dominated, Christine stated that every year more and more women are entering the field.
“It’s encouraging to see - atmospheric science has generally been a profession of very opened-minded individuals and I've found nothing but support and opportunity from male and female colleagues alike. We still have a long way to go in diversifying, especially in welcoming more women of color into the field, but I'm optimistic about that future,” Bloecker said.
Christine encourages other young women interested in STEM to consider their passion above all else.
“Research your colleges well and specifically focus on the reputation of the department you want to do your studies in. Don't be afraid to attend a college far from home if it's a good fit (mine was 10 hours away), apply for as many internships as you possibly can before you graduate because those opportunities tend to vanish once you're no longer a student,” Bloecker advised.
She also recommends getting a good background in at least one programming language. Doing so will be a key to your resume and skill set and have a better chance of making yourself more marketable.
“I highly recommend Python. That's most of the practical advice, but the greatest thing again is to follow your passion, and the effort will naturally come with it.”
Christine continues to work on many cool projects with one of her favorites being in 2018 and 2019 when three of her colleagues and herself supported an airborne field campaign called the Arctic Boreal Vulnerability Experiment (ABoVE). The scientists in Alaska and Canada required them to write a three-day forecast each day detailing the sky cover conditions for the regions for about six to eight weeks.
“It was a lot of work, but we received plenty of acclaim for the effort and it felt good to be writing forecasts that we knew would make a significant impact in the success of the mission.”
We appreciate Christine’s continued efforts and support to what we do every day. Thank you again Christine and check our page tomorrow for our next Women’s History Month Highlight!
Click here to read our previous highlight about Wendy Bohon.