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Womens History Month - Marangelly Fuentes
By: Jaha Knight
SSAI celebrates World Meteorological Day and continues our Women’s History Month celebration by highlighting Vice President and Program Manager, Dr. Marangelly Fuentes, PMP.
Dr. Fuentes was born and raised in Puerto Rico, a place that year after year suffers from the devastation of tropical cyclones.
“At the age of 8, I witnessed my first hurricane, and it changed my life,” Dr. Fuentes said.
Witnessing this event and growing up in that environment, got her interested in the science behind our weather. She went on to receive her B.S. in Theoretical Physics from the University of Puerto Rico in 2004, she then relocated to the United States in August 2004 and in June 2005 begin her journey at NASA Goddard as a graduate research assistant through University of Maryland Baltimore College. Dr. Fuentes furthered her studies by earning her PhD. in Atmospheric Sciences/Meteorology at Howard University in 2009 before transitioning into a permanent role as a support scientist.
Dr. Fuentes’s worked with meteorological processes, showing interactions between the physical and chemical aspects of the climate system, forecasting techniques, numerical model analysis, and conducting hurricane research. She has also shown her leadership qualities in our office as she also received her Project Management Professional (PMP) Certification in 2017.
“After working as a hurricane expert for many years, I developed a passion for leading others. This new passion drove me to grow as a manager, and now, Vice President of SSAI. It brings me joy to see the success of others and, how as a team, we can accomplish so many things to advance science,” Dr. Fuentes said.
Though it has been challenging at times to be a woman in a male dominated industry, Dr. Fuentes shares the same sentiments as our pervious highlight, Megan Buzanowicz, about SSAI’s inclusivity culture, where women make up 50% of our employee population!
“SSAI’s inclusive culture has allowed many women to grow and progress in this field. It is exciting to see many young women beginning to pursue a career in STEM, especially when STEM is such an exciting field to be part of where you can see so many great advances in science right in front of your eyes,” Dr. Fuentes expressed.
Dr. Fuentes has done many great things with the Global Modeling and Assimilation (GMAO) office, which she describes as a very exciting time in her career from running global model simulations, diagnostic analyses of model output, and the preparation of graphical and written summaries of results, but her favorite project is one that still has a lasting impact today.
“I was part of a team that validated the improvements in the NASA GEOS forecasting model; a weather model dedicated to research,” Dr. Fuentes said. In her current role as Program Manager, she leads SSAI and subcontractor staff supporting NASA Goddard.
She encourages any young women interested in STEM to,
“No matter the circumstances, do not give up. The road ahead can be difficult, and there might be some people that will say you don’t have what it takes to be a scientist. Don’t give up and keep on fighting!”
Though she plays many big roles at SSAI, Dr. Fuentes states that her biggest role is being the mom of two amazing boys!
We value and appreciate leaders like Dr. Fuentes who paved the way and broke ceilings through their hard work and dedication in supporting our mission. We invite you to read up on our previous women’s history month highlight, Megan Buzanowicz, and her experience in turning a summer internship into an everyday career, and be sure to check out our page tomorrow for our next highlight!