Although Evan's mother and father were teachers, Evan was not a good student for much of his childhood and sometimes felt that he was not very good at anything, not even sports. For most of his childhood the only thing he enjoyed and felt good about was cutting the grass and doing landscaping work. He liked working outside and doing things with his hands. In school, Evan's grades were mostly "C's." He never made an "A" in any of his classes until he got to middle school. However, he realized that his grades were not the best, and with hard work and the love and positive influence of his parents and teachers, he knew he could succeed. He refused to allow his past performance in school to dictate his future success. He began to study, worked even harder, and sure enough, his grades began to improve. He worked so hard that by the time he got to senior high school, he was making "A's" in all his classes except for Mathematics, where most of his grades were "B's." While in high school, Evan took an elective class called environmental oceanography science. He really liked the class and the teacher. He started thinking about being an oceanographer. His teacher was a scuba diver and always made learning about the undersea world interesting to the students. On one occasion, the teacher released a live crab in the classroom's aquarium where an octopus lived. Eventually, the octopus ate the crab, but not without a fight. Although the crab was eaten, it cut off two of the octopus' tentacles before it was eaten by the octopus. Evan was hooked!
Evan strove to work harder and continued to excel, a little voice of doubt continued to linger in his head telling him that he was not smart enough or capable of doing well academically or athletically, because of his past performances in school. Yet, Evan refused to listen and continued to succeed.
During high school and college, Evan was both a musician and athlete. He played the trumpet and was the lead singer in a local band as a graduate student at Columbia University. He played football and was a very fast sprinter. In fact, so good that he received many scholarship. Colleges and universities were willing to give him money to attend because he was a good athlete. However, Evan decided to take an academic scholarship rather than an athletic scholarship because he knew that oftentimes, athletes got hurt and could no longer play sports. They would have to leave school because they did not have the academic skills to continue and lost their athletic scholarships. He decided he was going to college to become a scientist or pro football player. He tried out and made the football team at Columbia University.
Evan wanted to be a good student and a good athlete, so he studied harder and practiced his athletic skills longer than most of the other guys on the team. He worked harder on his reading, writing, memorizing his multiplication tables, and formulae as well as running, jumping, catching, and lifting weights. He really wanted to be a good athlete and a good student. As a result of his hard work, Evan excelled both academically and athletically in college. He completed his studies and received both a B.A. and M.A. in Geology and Marine Geology and Geophysics from Columbia University in New York City.
Evan B. Forbe is now an outstanding oceanographer at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory in Miami, Florida where he has been studying the oceans since 1973. When Evan first became a scientist, some of his work involved designing and creating detailed maps of the ocean, including its boundaries, area, and elevation, using mathematics to measure the angles and distances covering hundreds of square miles of the Atlantic Ocean's floor. Since that time, he has been working with the hurricane research division at NOAA as an oceanographer and has managed research that has persuaded his colleagues to consider using technology to help forecast storms. Evan believes that the weather is the result of the earth's atmosphere trying to be the same temperature everywhere and that the oceans affect the temperature of all the earth. As an oceanographer using satellites and technology, Evan is able to look at thousands of miles of ocean every day without using planes, ships, or buoys to aid him in his research.
In 1979, Evan B. Forde became the first African-American scientist to conduct a research mission aboard a submersible, an underwater craft or vehicle aided by a control ship for navigation purposes, that is located in close proximity to the diving submersible. In 1980, Forde went on a two mile dive below sea level aboard the Alvin, the same submersible used to probe the wreckage of the Titanic to perform a research dive. That is a long way to travel below the ocean's surface.
Not only is Evan Forde a great oceanographer at NOAA, he has designed and completed a set of courses to teach oceanography to inner-city middle and high school students.
Evan B. Forde is using his work below the surface and sometimes in complete darkness to motivate and encourage children everywhere to see the light!