National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce
Tyra Brown Harris

Location: Silver Spring, MD
Office of Dissemination
Job Title: Social Science and DEIA Lead

Educational Background:

  • Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Howard University
  • Master’s Degree in Human Services & Counseling from Regent University
  • Ph.D. Conflict Analysis and Resolution, Nova Southeastern University

Describe the career path that led you to your current job with the National Weather Service.

  • My federal government career began 20 years ago in the NWS. Over the years, I've been blessed with opportunities to work with incredibly supportive coworkers and managers who helped me grow professionally and in public service. I have worked in various roles with the NWS ranging from an HR liaison, executive officer, program manager and now I serve as the social science and DEIA lead for the Office of Dissemination.

What do you do for the NWS?

  • Currently I serve on the NWS Service Equity team and am working to develop our first equity action plan in response to Executive Orders 13895: Advancing Racial Equity to Communities Through the Federal Government and 14035: Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility in the Federal Workforce. I also provide guidance and support for social science research and activities across the organization.

What was the most interesting, exciting, or impactful weather/water event you experienced while working for the NWS and why does it stand out?

  • I grew up in Oklahoma City but moved to the Washington D.C. area before the 1999 tornadoes. But the May 2013 tornado stands out for me because it was very close to my family and, at one point, I could not reach them. Later, my grandmother told me her NWR kept “going off.” This really connected my head and heart to the importance of the work we do and our ability to help individuals and families better prepare for weather emergencies.

What made you decide to pursue a career with the NWS?

  • It was quite serendipitous. When I received a temporary assignment to work at NOAA NWS way back in 2001, I had never even heard of NOAA. But there's such an immediate connection to the public value of the work we do that I jumped at the chance to apply for a permanent position and it has been one of the best decisions of my life.

What do you like most about working for the NWS?

  • There are lots of things! I do enjoy when people ask me where I work and after answering, "NWS", the responses are priceless. Whether someone begins to blame me for all the bad weather they recently experienced, or begins to declare their long-held passion for weather - it's in those moments that I love being part of an agency that means so much to individuals and impacts their daily lives. Personally, I really like my managers, coworkers and representing the NWS at public outreach events.

What advice do you have for someone interested in a career with the NWS?

What training or coursework would you recommend to someone interested in following your career path?