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Jamese Sims
Katie Valentine

Jamese Sims

Dr. Jamese Sims is a senior physical scientist at the Office of the Federal Coordinator for Meteorological Services and Supporting Research, where she supports inter-agency committees and working groups to coordinate meteorological services across the Federal Weather Enterprise.

What drew you to your current career or field?

I was curious about weather patterns as a child. I wanted to better understand different climates, and I was also intrigued by how my grandmother would predict the weather just from looking at the clouds or by her arthritis. Additionally, my mom would take my sister and me to view severe storm and tornado damage when it occurred in the areas surrounding our town.

Even though I had this curiosity as a child, I did not think of it as a career until I attended Jackson State University.  During my freshman year, my college algebra teacher encouraged me to major in a science field.  After I did some research and thought hard about my future, I changed my major from Accounting to Meteorology.

What do you enjoy most about your work?

I strongly enjoy being able to solve problems and overcome challenges. I love that that this field and my work are constant learning curves with new scientific discoveries and technology that advance our understanding of our environment. I also enjoy developing collaborations surrounding various topics in order to gain consensus and implement scientific and engineering solutions that save lives.  

What was the best advice ever given to you that helped you become successful? 

“You have a story to tell and it needs to be told” – words of my mentor, Cindy Woods (National Weather Service Operations Division Chief). This advice has helped me to own who I am and be proud of my journey.  It helps me confidently seek opportunities that fit my unique interests. 

Fail big and take more risks! I have learned to remove ideals of perfectionism and take risk knowing that if I fail, I will reflect on what was learned and use it to succeed going forward.  

What’s been your favorite (or proudest) moment in your career so far? 

The proudest moments of my career have been being able to effectively communicate scientific information to the public, and the great experiences I had as the GOES-R Series Satellite Product Manager, from 2016 to 2018. In 2018, I participated in the GOES-S (now GOES-West) launch campaign as a subject matter expert to describe the benefits of the satellite and how it will impact weather forecasting capabilities to save lives and property. This moment achieved a goal that I set in the year 2005 upon entering graduate school. My goal was to teach people across the world about our use of technology to study and forecast weather focusing on life saving and economic benefits. Additionally, I am proud of the opportunities that I have had to mentor students and encourage them to pursue careers in meteorology and STEM related fields.

Looking back, what would you tell yourself when you were 12 years old? Or what advice would you give to a woman just starting out in her career?

Your voice and opinion matters. You have what it takes to make a difference. Don’t shrink back based on someone else’s opinions or stereotypes. You define who you are and that typically doesn’t fit into anyone else’s box.

Ask for help along the way. It’s great to be independent, but many things are achieved more efficiently as a team with diverse experiences and mindsets.

Enjoy your journey. It’s important to celebrate achievements and small successes that assist you in reaching your goals.

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