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During Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day this March, GFDL is honoring the remarkable achievements and contributions of women. To mark this occasion, we invited our team members to share their stories of women who have positively impacted their lives and careers.

Dr. Sarah Kapnick, NOAA’s Chief Scientist, comes to mind when I think about women empowering women. Dr. Kapnick inspired and motivated me when I first started at GFDL because she was always delightful to work with, professional, and down to earth. She encouraged and supported me to follow my dreams, even going out of her way to help me develop networking skills.”
– Latoyia Kirton, Administrative Support Specialist
“In my 15+ year career at NOAA, Dr. Kathryn Sullivan has been the greatest mentor and inspiration for me, and is one of many female leaders who helped mold my career. I had the honor of working with Dr. Sullivan while she was NOAA’s Administrator, and I witnessed her fearless leadership, ability to make everyone feel included, and encouragement to BE the “first” rather than waiting for someone else. She was the first American woman to walk in space and the first woman to dive to the Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench! Dr. Sullivan is a brilliant scientist but an even more inspiring female leader.”
– Lauren Koellermeier, Associate Director 
“I find inspiration from the numerous women I’ve worked with throughout my career. While I can’t list them all, I can highlight their shared qualities that have helped me flourish both as a scientist and an individual. Their passion for curiosity-driven research, self-improvement and growth is motivating, as is their strength to defend and advocate for other women in science. Additionally, I admire those who maintain their composure in the face of challenges – their equanimity – a term introduced taught to me by a fellow female scientist!”
– Vaishali Naik, Physical Scientist
“I find the scientific journey of Anna Mani very inspiring! Anna Mani, India’s “weather woman,” began her career studying diamond luminescence as a physicist. Her research resulted in five single-authored papers in the early 1950s, but she was denied a PhD due to her lack of a master’s degree in science. Unfazed by the setback, she pursued her studies in meteorological instruments at Imperial College in London, and later joined the Indian Meteorology Department (IMD). There, she focused on standardizing weather instruments and advocating for the use of renewable energy sources.”
– Akshaya Nikumbh, Postdoctoral Research Associate, Princeton University
Dr. Jennifer Logan has been a professional inspiration to me. In a series of seminal papers, Dr. Logan, co-leader of the Harvard Atmospheric Chemistry Modeling Group during my Ph.D., pioneered the use of observational data analysis with numerical modeling to study tropospheric chemistry. She taught me and other graduate students the value of scientific rigor with her insights and candor.”
– Larry Horowitz, Physical Scientist
Natalie Mahowald, my mentor at Cornell University, inspired me to pursue a career in science. Under her professional guidance, I was able to have my first hands-on experience performing climate modeling research, studying the impact of aerosols emitted by forest and grass fires, and methods of parameterizing lightning in GCMs. She encouraged me to attend my first conference and submit my first articles for publication, and helped me believe that I could be a scientist.”
– Spencer Clark, Senior Research Scientist, AI2
Lori Sentman inspires me not only because of her intelligence and passion for science, but also for her personable and welcoming demeanor. Whether I am passing Lori in the hallway or knocking on her door to get a signature on a paper, it is always a pleasant experience. Lori’s defining qualities of being approachable and having a positive attitude are truly admirable.”
– Angela Ruggierio, Admin. Support Specialist
Dr. Chien-Shiung Wu, a brilliant experimental physicist, proved that females can thrive in math and science. Dr. Wu pioneered several firsts, including her experiment to test the principle of conservation of parity. Whether directly or indirectly, she inspires more women, like me, to study and work in STEM disciplines.”
– Huan Guo, Research Physical Scientist
Dr. Sarah Kapnick’s outstanding achievements in science and leadership make her a source of inspiration and role model for my career. During her time at GFDL, I learned valuable lessons from her innovative work at the cutting edge of climate science and economics. Dr. Kapnick’s inspiring contributions to the field have driven my work on seasonal wind energy predictions using GFDL’s SPEAR models.”
– Xiaosong Yang, Meterologist
Rachel Carson’s work as a scientist and environmentalist inspired me to devote my life to studying the ocean. Her book The Sea Around Us was one of my first introductions to the ocean’s complexities and its vital role in Earth’s natural processes. I was most impacted by her ability to distill complex topics into accessible and engaging writing, which made her one of the most influential environmental scientists and communicators of her generation.”
– Brandon Reichl, Research Oceanographer