National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce
Nelsie A. Ramos
Nelsie A. Ramos, PH.D.

Location: Miami, Fl
NOAA's National Hurricane Center Tropical Analysis and Forecast Branch (TAFB)
Job Title: Meteorologist
Nelsie A. Ramos


Nelsie A. Ramos, Ph.D., is a Meteorologist at NOAA’s National Hurricane Center Tropical Analysis and Forecast Branch (TAFB) in Miami, Florida.  Dr. Ramos, born and raised in western Puerto Rico earned a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics in Computer Sciences with a minor in Geographic Information Systems and Remote Sensing from the University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez Campus.  Nelsie received her Master of Science and Ph.D. in Atmospheric Sciences from Howard University in Washington, DC.

When did you know that you wanted to pursue a career in STEM?

Science, math and technology always draw my attention.  During my high school years, I was thinking of a career in aeronautical engineering and becoming a NASA astronaut.  I think my father had to be some part of that; he was in the military.  I would also look up at the sky and stars with my mother and I was fascinated with all of it.  However, experiencing Hurricane Hugo (1989) during my childhood, and then Hurricane Georges in 1998 planted in me the seed for a career in meteorology.  My decision towards pursuing a career in Meteorology was not until my senior year in college when a professor from a NASA sponsored program I was enrolled encouraged me to do graduate work in it.  My family, friends and teachers were always supportive of my interest in a STEM career, and I am grateful for that, as I strongly believe it is very important.

When you were in school, what were some barriers or opportunities to express an interest in the natural and physical sciences?

The journey through male dominated career fields, such as Mathematics, Computer Sciences, and Meteorology has been challenging.  However, it has been a very rewarding experience.  I started my career as a forecaster with the NWS on December 2012.  I believe the beauty of this career lies in the fulfillment of its mission of “saving lives, mitigate property loss, and improve economic efficiency by issuing the best watches, warnings, forecasts and analyses of hazardous weather and by increasing understanding of these hazards.”

Women in STEM Now and in the Future:

Women wear many hats in today’s society and have demonstrated they are fully capable of having a successful career in STEM.  However, the statistics show that the number of women entering STEM fields is still very low and that in part is due to environmental and social barriers, including stereotypes, gender bias and the climate of STEM departments in colleges and universities. In an article written for National Geographic, Londa Schiebinger, a leader in the Gendered Innovations movement, explains, “As more women get involved in the sciences (or any field historically dominated by men) the general knowledge in that field tends to expand.” I concur with Schiebinger in that there are lots of places where you can show the direct link between increase in number of women and outcome in knowledge (i.e. history, biology, medicine).  With women now making up half the national workforce, earning more college and graduate degrees than men, and by some estimates representing the largest single economic force in the world, I believe it is imperative to attract more women to the STEM fields and also to the NWS.  While completing my PhD, I mentored several college female and male students. Today, three of my female mentees are enrolled in a PhD Meteorology program, one of them about to complete her degree; one of the male mentees is doing a post-doc at NOAA GFDL and another works for the NWS WFO in San Juan.  For me, this clearly shows the importance of supporting women interest in science, and identifying female scientist role models as “you can’t be what you can’t see.”  My advice for women and girls interested in STEM would be to get determined, find good mentors and role models and work hard to achieve what you want in life.

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How do you spend your time outside of work?

I try to live a balanced life.  I have an artistic music vein connected to eight years of experience singing in choirs.  So I enjoy karaoke and performing arts events.  Otherwise, I like to spend time in the outdoors, reading, learning, traveling, exercising, trying new things, and tackling my bucket list!