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Ligia Bernardet
Katie Valentine

Ligia Bernardet

Dr. Ligia Bernardet is a research scientist for the University of Colorado's Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) at NOAA's Global Systems Division in Boulder, Colorado.

What drew you to your current career or field?

When I was in college, I had a mentor who often talked about how great it would be if there could be a “glass door” between the National Weather Service forecasting office and the researchers working on forecast improvements. I was very inspired by the vision of bringing these communities together. That's why I decided to get involved with testbed projects — so I could test innovations for transitions to operations.

What projects or research are you working on now?

I am the lead of the Global Model Test Bed. Our group makes a bridge between the National Weather Service and the academic community in the field of Numerical Weather Prediction, specifically in the field of physical parameterizations. 

What do you enjoy most about your work?

I enjoy informing the academic community about the challenges of the National Weather Service and about how research can be tailored to address those challenges. Conversely, I enjoy testing and evaluating new developments from the research community to inform the National Weather Service of their potential for improving forecasts. Ultimately, I enjoy helping the operational and research communities find common ground in spite of their diverse missions.

Who do you look to as a role model and why?

I often look to my father. He is never settled. He is always questioning the status quo, questioning his own beliefs, and seeking a fresh perspective. He started sky diving in his 60s, became a professional actor in his 80s. Age and physical limitations are not deterrents but his inspiration.

What challenges have you faced as a woman in your career/field, or in general, and how have you overcome them?

I grew up in Brazil in the tail end of the military dictatorship that ruled the country in the 70s. Those were dark days for those who cared about justice and freedom. As I started college, the country suffered hyper inflation and it was hard to stretch my money to the end of the month. These hardships made me realize the power of hope in a better future, and of friendship. I would not have succeed if it weren't for those that supported me, including helping me get a scholarship to go on to my Ph.D.

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