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1996-18 -- FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 2, 1996

Scholarship and Mentoring Program Paves the Way to a Career in Atmospheric Science

August 2, 1996
BOULDER--What single program offers air fare to Boulder, a summer job, four instant friends, expenses-paid graduate education at a major university, and potential for a career as an atmospheric scientist? All of the above are part of SOARS (Significant Opportunities in Atmospheric Research and Science), a multiyear scholarship and mentoring program begun this summer in Boulder to help diversify the ranks of atmospheric scientists. Next Monday through Wednesday, August 5-7, each of 12 students participating this year will present the fruits of their first summer's work at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR).

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.

-The End-

This press release lives on the World Wide Web at http://www.ucar.edu/ucargen/press/soars.html

To receive UCAR and NCAR press releases by e-mail, contact Milli Butterworth
telephone 303-497-8601 or butterwo@ucar.edu

Contact:
David Hosansky
UCAR Communications
Boulder, CO 80307-3000
Telephone: (303) 497-8611
Fax: (303) 497-8610
E-mail: hosansky@ucar.edu

1996 SOARS proteges

Christopher Castro, Pennsylvania State University, atmospheric science

Jazmin Diaz-Lopez, Metropolitan University of Puerto Rico, environmental science

Carl Etsitty, University of Arizona, environmental science (Department of Soil Water and Environmental Science master's degree program, beginning fall 1996)

Quindi Franco, Harvard University, science and technology policy

Preston Heard, Jackson State University, meteorology and mathematics

Lacey Holland, University of Oklahoma, meteorology

Karen Mozealous, University of Virginia, environmental engineering

Paneen Peterson, University of Alaska, archaeology

Jennifer Price, Florida A&M University, environmental engineering

Stephanie Rivale, University of Rochester, chemical engineering

Kiesha Stevens, Clark Atlanta University, physics

Jennifer Zabel, Weber State University, environmental engineering

Note: A 13th SOARS student, Janel Cobb, is spending the summer at the Center for the Study of Terrestrial and Extraterrestrial Atmospheres in Washington, D.C. A master's degree student at Howard University, Janel will begin her Ph.D. studies in meteorology at Colorado State University this fall under SOARS sponsorship. Janel is a former SEP student who worked with Bill Randel on atmospheric chemical cycles and general circulation of the stratosphere.


SOARS 1996 Presentations

Final presentations will be held August 5, 6, and 7 and are open to the public.

MONDAY, AUGUST 5, Mesa Lab Main Seminar Room

TUESDAY, AUGUST 6, Mesa Lab Main Seminar Room

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 7, Foothills Lab, Building 2, Room 1001

All presentations on Monday and Tuesday will be held in the Mesa Lab Main Seminar Room. Wednesday presentations will be held in the Foothills Lab, Building 2, Room 1001. Please join us in supporting these young scientists. For further information, contact the SOARS Program Office at 497-8624.


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The University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) is a not-for-profit university membership consortium which carries out programs to benefit the atmospheric, oceanic, and related sciences. Among other activites, UCAR operates the National Center for Atmospheric Research with National Science Foundation sponsorship.

Jacque Marshall <jacque@ucar.edu>
Last modified: Mon 7 August 1996