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Spotlight on Commerce: Theodora Meredith, Meteorologist, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Weather Service

Guest blog post by Theodora Meredith, Meteorologist, National Weather Service Office Pago Pago, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

I am a meteorologist at the Department of Commerce’s only National Weather Service office located in the southern hemisphere – the NOAA Weather Service Office Pago Pago, American Samoa. On a daily basis I communicate life-saving and impact-based weather information to my community, including warnings, advisories, outlooks and general forecasts, while ensuring that the information provided is accurate, precise, and timely. American Samoa is located in the tropics, surrounded by open waters and nearby trenches. We are prone to tsunamis, flash flooding, and hurricanes. My job is vital because my colleagues and I are the sentries for the territory, and provide critical forewarnings of impending hazards that could impact life and property. Doing so in a timely manner helps us to fulfill the National Weather Service mission of protecting life and property and sustain economic growth and sustainable development.

I was a student intern for the Weather Service Office Pago Pago from 2010 to 2012. I received my Bachelor of Science degree in Atmospheric Science at the University of Hawaii at Manoa and returned home in 2015. I was then blessed with the opportunity to work for the American Samoa Department of Homeland Security (ASDHS) as a Tsunami Project Coordinator and developed tsunami evacuation maps with core partners. Although I valued my work with ASDHS, my dream opportunity opened up and I came back to the Weather Service Office in Pago Pago in 2016 as a Meteorological Technician. Based on my experience with homeland security, I was able to build relationships with several government and private organizations, giving me an advantage in developing, producing, and delivering interpretive services in the form of Impact Based Decision Support Services (IDSS).

I was born and raised in American Samoa on the Island Tutuila. My Samoan culture has kept me involved in the community through church, village, and family duties. I currently serve as President for a mentoring program called the Esther Generation, as well as the Federal Asian Pacific American Council (FAPAC). Through Esther Generation, I mentor young girls to strengthen their spiritual relationship with Christ and provide them with academic counseling so they can hopefully lead a better life for themselves and their families. I started the first FAPAC chapter in American Samoa to improve the Pacific Island’s representation in the council and in the nation. Pacific Islanders are an underrepresented population and I want to ensure that they have access to all the opportunities available at the federal level. The sky's the limit! In November 2020, I was awarded the FAPAC Leadership Award for establishing the local chapter to support the inclusion initiatives of FAPAC, NOAA and Pacific Islander federal employees in the American Samoa region.

Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Month highlights the AAPI community through celebrating our histories, cultures, and our ancestors who helped enrich America’s history. Though I believe this tribute should not be limited to one month, I am thankful that all races are acknowledged in the United States of America. What an honor to be a part of the greatest country in the world.

Ed. note: This post is part of the Spotlight on Commerce series highlighting the contributions of Department of Commerce employees during Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.