1996-18 -- FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 2, 1996
The SOARS program is funded by a $1.5-million grant from the National Science Foundation to the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) and NCAR, with additional support from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. In addition, participating universities contribute one-half the cost of two years of graduate education for any SOARS student accepted into its program; SOARS pays the other half. Colorado State University and the University of Colorado at Boulder are among the 22 participating institutions. Students may apply from any accredited college or university in the United States or Puerto Rico.
SOARS is intended to increase the number of Hispanic, Native American, and African American students enrolled in master's and Ph.D. programs in the atmospheric and related sciences, such as meteorology, oceanography, computer science, environmental science, and relevant areas of the social sciences. Although SOARS targets underrepresented groups, no one is excluded from the program because of race or gender. The program is designed to produce greater class, race, and gender diversity in the scientific community and strengthen undergraduate and graduate research programs of the participating colleges and universities.
SOARS students spend ten weeks each summer at UCAR and NCAR, working under the guidance of a scientific or technical mentor on a selected research project in the student's area of interest. Each has three other mentors to help develop writing and communication skills, involve the student in the community, and provide peer support. While at UCAR and NCAR, students receive a competitive salary, housing, and round-trip airfare to and from Boulder from anywhere within the United States and Puerto Rico.
SOARS is unique in providing four volunteer mentors to shepherd recruited students into the demanding world of scientific research. "The mutual bonding between proteges and their mentors had already happened by late June," says Thomas Windham, former program director for pupil services with the Boulder Valley School District. "The relationships work because they emerge naturally from the student's and mentor's own interests. For example, one mentor takes her protege horseback riding on the weekends."
After the first summer session, students will be encouraged to apply to continue through the remaining four years of the program. Those selected will spend all or part of several summers at UCAR and NCAR, collaborating on research leading to publishable papers and/or conference presentations. Students may receive academic credit for their SOARS activities or expand their initial research project through an honors program. They will also participate in educational seminars and learn about education and career options in the atmospheric and related sciences.
Before completing their senior year, undergraduates will be encouraged to apply to a master's or Ph.D. degree program at one of the SOARS participating universities. Those accepted into graduate-level programs will receive full scholarships, with SOARS and the participating university sharing the cost. Each summer a new crop of budding atmospheric scientists will take the first steps toward their doctorate.
"We hope the SOARS program will significantly contribute to diverse demographics in the atmospheric sciences so that the field more clearly represents today's society and offers opportunities to talented people from any ethnic background," comments Windham.
NCAR is managed by the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research under sponsorship by the National Science Foundation.
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"In a special course sponsored by the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, it was my responsibility to make a climate change projection for Lancaster County [Pennsylvania] and determine how that change might adversely affect agricultural production and water supply. Through my research efforts on this project, I found that atmospheric science is a very meaningful pursuit that has large implications for the rest of society. Society will require answers, and I want to contribute toward those answers."
"My objective is to do experimental research related to human interactions with the environment and to work with the factors that affect a population in its environment. I have participated in beach clean-ups and other activities sponsored by CHELONIA, an organization that helps improve our quality of life and preserve the environment. I really want to have the opportunity to do experimental research."
"My interest in environmental science is due to the growing problems on Indian reservations with unprotected landfills, depletion of vegetation, and poor development of livestock. I want to use my career to expand the knowledge of these problems with the assistance of colleagues. I envision myself working on the use of indigenous or genetically altered microorganisms for remediation of exhausted soils. Once the problems are rectified, I will communicate to my fellow Native Americans that there are solutions to their predicaments."
"I am interested in the role of research and communication in decision- and policy-making processes. There must be a way to incorporate our scientific and social understanding of the natural world, and our interactions with it, to make better decisions and choices. That is what I want to learn to do."
"I am interested in the atmospheric sciences because they provide the multidisciplinary skill essential to understanding natural phenomena and their interactions. My desire is to build upon my foundation by learning new skills and mastering new responsibilities through hands-on experience."
"I would love research as a career. Although the competition for grants and funding may be rough, I aspire to meet it head on. After all, it is only through basic research that we make new discoveries and use the resulting conclusions to make technological advancements in the way we, as a nation, live. I think I would enjoy improving atmospheric models, finding novel ways to increase the accuracy and speed of communication between observation sites, or perhaps even creating and/or researching a new area of study. I would find it a privilege to be the first to 'conquer' undiscovered areas of science."
"The condition of the ozone layer, highly publicized oil spills, a potential lack of energy sources, and the 'brown cloud' that often hovers over the city of Denver are some of the reasons I am concerned about the environment. For as long as I can remember I have wanted to help solve the environment's problems. When it came down to choosing a college major and career path, I decided to work toward this goal. Environmental engineering seemed to provide a very practical way to accomplish this."
1996 project: Climate change research
"I am particularly interested in learning about the environmental sciences and global change issues, as well as having the opportunity to develop research connections within those fields. The human dimension must be an integral part of any future environmental model. Humans not only respond to their environment but deeply affect it. Also, humans have been consistently enigmatic to me, and that keeps me enthralled with anthropology. I am eager to be involved in research that bridges traditional discplines."
"In the summer of 1995, I was given the opportunity to participate in the SEP program [with Jim Hurrell as adviser]. I spent the entire summer creating a seasonal index of the North Atlantic Oscillation from monthly sea-level pressure data. My interest in atmospheric science grew tremendously during those ten weeks. I have also given much thought to the area of environmental law and protection. I am now well aware of the broad scope of professional fields that atmospheric science can encompass."
"My academic interests lie in two distinct and very different fields within my major, biomedical and environmental engineering. Last summer, I completed substantial literature research on the current status of tissue engineering and completed a scientific paper and presentation giving an overview of this field. In environmental science, stratospheric ozone depletion is the topic that most interests me. Prior to entering graduate school, I plan to enter the Peace Corps for at least two years, as an opportunity for me to apply my engineering skills while contributing to those who are less fortunate."
"I worked at the National Weather Service station in Peachtree City, Georgia, during the summer of 1995 for ten weeks as an intern. I thoroughly enjoyed this experience because of the interdisciplinary nature of this field, for I not only made use of skills I had learned in physics, but also in chemistry, mathematics, and computer science. I also welcomed the opportunity because I was able to work with professionals in several different disciplines. I plan to attend graduate school, pursue a Ph.D. in either physics or atmospheric science, and thereafter seek a career as a research scientist."
"In the future I want to become an environmental scientist. I enjoy the challenge of solving many different problems in the natural sciences. I grew up on the Fort Belknap Reservation in Montana. When we needed food, my mom and dad would go hunting and bring home a deer or antelope. When we were thirsty or needed to wash, water was hauled from the spring down the hill. And when we needed shelter, my mother and father built us a home from logs harvested from the mountains. Mother Earth has always provided the essentials to sustain my life. I want to ensure that she will continue to do so."
10:00 a.m. Stephanie Rivale--"The Role of UV Radiation in Urban Smog Formation: Contrasts between Mexico City and Amsterdam"
11:00 a.m. Jennifer Price--"Observation of Methane in the Stratosphere and Troposphere over Colorado and California Regions for Summer 1996"
1:00 p.m. Paneen Petersen--"Simulated Arctic Vegetation During the Holocene"
2:00 p.m. Carl Etsitty--"Acid Fertilization of Moss in Forest Decline"
1:00 p.m. Jazmin Diaz-Lopez--"Production of N2O in the Soil"
2:00 p.m. Kiesha Stevens--"Parameter Optimization of a Predator-Prey Model Using a Gradient Technique"
11:00 a.m. Quindi Franco--"Building a Community of Societal Aspects of Weather Researchers"
1:00 p.m. Lacey Holland--"Radar Measurements and Comparison to a Model"
2:00 p.m. Preston Heard--"The Utilization of Dual-Polarization Techniques in Radar Precipitation Estimation"