Evan Forde, whose father was a high school science teacher, developed a love of science as a young boy, “I always wanted to be a scientist. I already had a telescope, microscope, and chemistry set by the time I was in third grade.” By age 23, he had already earned a bachelor’s degree in geology and a masters degree in marine geology from Columbia University. Forde became a researcher in marine geology at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in the summer of 1973 while still an undergraduate, and has worked for NOAA in a variety of capacities ever since. His area of expertise is submarine canyons, and he has researched their formation and evolution as well as the causes of underwater landslides and avalanches. In 1979, he became the first African American oceanographer to participate in dives aboard research submersibles (vessels that operate underwater).
In addition to his research, he is a strong advocate of science education for students. Between 1980 and 1983, he wrote the “Science Corner” column for Ebony Jr. Magazine. He volunteers at school systems and has spoken to thousands of school children about oceanography and science.