The David Sankey Minority Scholarship in Meteorology

To increase diversity and the number of students from underrepresented ethnic groups pursuing studies in meteorology, the National Weather Association Council developed the David Sankey Minority Scholarship fund in 2002. The Scholarship was first awarded in 2003, and was transferred to the National Weather Association Foundation on 2017.

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About David Sankey:
DAVID A. SANKEY (1946-2000) was a charter member of the National Weather Association and a private pilot. He built up a wealth of operational meteorological experience in the public and private sectors. He was a mentor, a great team leader and a friend to all those he met.

Sankey received a BS in Meteorology from Florida State University in 1968, and later earned an MBA in Program and Financial Management from West Coast University in Los Angeles. He began his operational meteorology career as a weather officer in the United States Air Force supporting base and flight operations at George Air Force Base, California. In 1972, after his military commitment, he joined Oceanroutes, Inc., as a meteorologist supervising a small support group in providing data, analyses and forecasts for the ship routers. In 1974, he became a Computer Systems Analyst for a semi-conductor manufacturing company and, in 1975, he became an Air Traffic Controller in Palo Alto, California. He supervised all weather observing functions, quality controlled the observations and trained tower observers. He joined Continental Airlines as a Meteorologist in 1979, responsible for flight forecasting over the United States, Mexico and Pacific Ocean areas. In 1982, he joined a small group forming The Weather Channel and succeeded there as Deputy Director for Meteorological Operations. In 1986, he moved on to TRW, Inc., as a meteorological consultant supporting the National Weather Service's Modernization and Restructuring program.

In 1991, Dave saw the chance to use all of his experience in the FAA aviation weather development programs. One of Dave's most significant accomplishments was the creation and leadership of the Integrated Terminal Weather Systems (ITWS) Matrix team, a team composed of representatives from every FAA office involved with the development of ITWS. Using his leadership and facilitation skills, he led this team through the acquisition process. Most important was the way Dave promoted open and honest communication among all the team members. He led that team to success with his style of perseverance and patience. This was not an isolated event.

Dave applied his team skills again when he established the FAA Aviation Weather Research Program and its leadership team. He also supported professional associations. He was the volunteer NWA secretary for many years, and led the NWA office into the computer age developing an online computer bulletin board system in the late 1980s.

Dave earned the respect and friendship of all those he met with his great personality and his dedication to improving operational meteorological services. He died in a plane accident on November 9, 2000. He is survived by his wife, Sheri, and two daughters, Kyla and Sara.

Previous Winners:

  • 2003 - Rebecca Chan – Plymouth State University, NH
  • 2004 - Owen Shieh – Cornell University, NY
  • 2005 - Daniel R. Chavas – University of Wisconsin at Madison
  • 2006 - Cho Hin (Richard) Lam – The Pennsylvania State University
  • 2007 - Kristen L. Gore – North Carolina State University
  • 2008 - Kristen L. Gore – North Carolina State University
  • 2009 - Vanessa Vincente - Valparaiso University
  • 2010 - Rosimar Rios-Berrios - University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez
  • 2011 - Diamilet Perez-Betancourt - University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez
  • 2012 - Carlysle McNaught – Florida State University
  • 2013- Janice Marie Maldonado-Jaime – Mississippi State University
  • 2014 - Valeria Benson-Lira - Arizona State University
  • 2015 - Amber Liggett, Millersville University, Millersville, PA
  • 2016 - Ari Brown, North Carolina A&T State University
  • 2017 - Jeremiah Piersante, Hobart and William Smith Colleges
  • 2018 - Renee Elder - Arizona State University


Please contact the NWA office if you have questions.  Telephone 405-701-5167.