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Samuel Williamson

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Information about Samuel Williamson

Profile image of Samuel Williamson

Profession

Category:
ScienceMakers
Occupation(s):
Atmospheric Scientist

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Seafood
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Charleston, South Carolina
Favorite Quote:
Be the best that you can be

Birthplace

Born:
3/5/1949
Birth Location:
Somerville, Tennessee

Profession

Category:
ScienceMakers
Occupation(s):
Atmospheric Scientist

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Seafood
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Charleston, South Carolina
Favorite Quote:
Be the best that you can be

Birthplace

Born:
3/5/1949
Birth Location:
Somerville
See how Samuel Williamson is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Atmospheric scientist Samuel P. Williamson was born on March 5, 1949, in Somerville, Tennessee to the late Julius Williamson, Jr. and Izoula Smith. He graduated from W.P. Ware High School in 1967. Williamson received his B.S. degree in mathematics from Tennessee State University in 1971 and his B.S. degree in meteorology from North Carolina State University in 1972. He went on to earn his M.A. degree in management from Webster University in 1976. From 1996 to 1997, Williamson was a visiting Executive Fellow at the Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government where he explored national security issues involving science, technology, and public policy.

In 1971, Williamson was hired as an elementary mathematics teacher in the Fayette County School System in Tennessee. Later in 1971, he began his atmospheric science career as a weather officer in the U.S. Air Force’s Air Weather Service. In 1977, Williamson joined the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). For more than twelve years, he was NOAA’s principal planner and ultimately the Director of the Joint System Program Office for the Next Generation Weather Radar (NEXRAD) WSR-88D, Doppler Weather Radar System through the design, development and initial deployment of this first major joint program among three Federal departments—the Departments of Commerce, Defense, and Transportation. Later, as a Senior Staff Associate for the National Science Foundation, Williamson enhanced science education. In his role as a senior advisor to the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Science, he helped shape the legislative agenda for science, space, and technology policy. In 1998, Williamson was appointed as the Federal Coordinator for Meteorological Services and Supporting Research. As the Federal Coordinator, he is accountable to the U.S. Congress and the Office of Management and Budget for systematic coordination and cooperation among 15 Federal departments, independent agencies, and executive offices with meteorology programs or interests to ensure the Federal government provides the best possible weather information and user services to the Nation. Under his leadership, significant advances were made in the areas of aviation weather, space weather, wildland fire weather, weather information for surface transportation, advanced modeling and data assimilation, and tropical cyclone research and operations.

Williamson is a member of the American Meteorological Society, the Montgomery College Foundation Board, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and the National Guard Association. He also serves on the Committee for the Environment, Natural Resources, and Sustainability (CENRS) of the National Science and Technology Council.

Williamson is a recipient of the Presidential Rank Award (2010), the NOAA Distinguished Career Award (2010), the NOAA Bronze Medal (1996), and the National Guard Association of the United States Garde Nationale Trophy (1993). In 2006, Williamson was elected as a Fellow of the African Scientific Institute.

Samuel P. Williamson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 22, 2013.

See how Samuel Williamson is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Samuel Williamson's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Samuel Williamson lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Samuel Williamson describes his mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Samuel Williamson talks about his mother's education and her employment
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Samuel Williamson describes his father's family background - part one
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Samuel Williamson describes his father's family background - part two
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Samuel Williamson talks about his father's personality and his education and his employment
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Samuel Williamson talks about his father's employment
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Samuel Williamson describes how his parents met
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Samuel Williamson talks about his siblings
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Samuel Williamson describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Samuel Williamson talks about his mother's education and his relationship with his parents
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Samuel Williamson talks about his father's service in World War II as a quartermaster on the Red Ball Express and his skill as a sharpshooter
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Samuel Williamson talks about his parents' last years together
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Samuel Williamson tells the story of the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 - part one
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Samuel Williamson tells the story of the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 - part two
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Samuel Williamson describes his earliest childhood memory
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Samuel Williamson talks about his mathematical skills
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Samuel Williamson describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in Somerville, Tennessee
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Samuel Williamson describes his experience in grade school
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Samuel Williamson talks about his teachers in grade school
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Samuel Williamson describes his experience in high school - part one
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Samuel Williamson describes his experience in high school - part two
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Samuel Williamson describes his decision to attend Tennessee State University and receiving a scholarship to do so
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Samuel Williamson talks about joining the U.S. Air Force ROTC at Tennessee State University
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Samuel Williamson talks about getting married in 1970
  • Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Samuel Williamson describes his experience at Tennessee State University the evening that Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Samuel Williamson describes the events on Tennessee State University's campus following Dr. Martin Luther King's assassination in 1968
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Samuel Williamson talks about his family
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Samuel Williamson talks about his teachers at Tennessee State University
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Samuel Williamson talks about his career in the U.S/ Air Force, and well known football players who were at Tennessee State University
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Samuel Williamson talks about football player, Joe Gilliam
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Samuel Williamson talks about athletes from Tennessee State University
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Samuel Williamson describes his decision to study meteorology at North Carolina State University
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Samuel Williamson describes his experience while studying meteorology at North Carolina State University
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Samuel Williamson describes his experience with racism while trying to find housing near Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in North Carolina
  • Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Samuel Williamson describes his experience at Charleston Air Force Base
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Samuel Williamson describes his decision to pursue his master's degree in management at Webster University's Air Force extension program
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Samuel Williamson describes his contributions at the National Weather Service and as the principal planner of the NEXRAD Joint System Program
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Samuel Williamson talks about his mentors, Richard Hellgren and Colonel William Barney
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Samuel Williamson describes his work as the deputy director of the NEXRAD Joint System Program
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Samuel Williamson talks about receiving the Presidential Rank Award in 2010
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Samuel Williamson talks about retiring from the U.S. Air Force in 2001
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Samuel Williamson talks about radar technology for weather and airplane control, and explains the phenomenon of wind shear
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Samuel Williamson talks about phase array radar
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Samuel Williamson shares his perspectives on the evolution of weather warning systems, and the need for infrastructure to sustain inclement weather
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Samuel Williamson discusses the importance of improved weather warning systems and shelter infrastructure
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Samuel Williamson discusses the need for better response to severe weather warnings and improved shelter infrastructure
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Samuel Williamson explains why the United States is prone to tornadoes
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Samuel Williamson describes his work in the area of atmospheric and environmental transport dispersion models
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Samuel Williamson describes his contributions to improving traffic reports for increasing the safety of highway travel
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Samuel Williamson describes his work on improving predictions of the development and impact of storms and hurricanes
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Samuel Williamson talks about providing recommendations for better ways of dealing with wildfires in the western U.S.
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Samuel Williamson talks about his collaboration with federal agencies to monitor the impact of solar radiations
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Samuel Williamson reflects upon his career and his legacy - part one
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Samuel Williamson reflects upon his career and his legacy - part two
  • Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Samuel Williamson reflects upon his career in the military and his experience as a Visiting Executive Fellow at Harvard University
  • Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Samuel Williamson reflects upon the mentoring that he received over the course of his career in the federal government
  • Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Samuel Williamson describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community today
  • Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Samuel Williamson talks about his wife and his two children
  • Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Samuel Williamson talks about how he would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Samuel Williamson describes his photographs