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1997-24 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 13, 1997

Students Bring Rich Cultural Heritage, Varied Backgrounds to Boulder as They Nurture Budding Careers in Science

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

June 13, 1997
BOULDER--How can your own culture's world-view contribute to the advancement of science? How can science help preserve the earth while solving the problems of your own community? Does working for a large organization throw more obstacles or more opportunities your way as you attempt to forge a career in scientific research? A scientist training program is raising these and other issues while providing intensive research experience and writing instruction for 14 ethnically diverse students. They are in Boulder this summer for the SOARS (Significant Opportunities in Atmospheric Research and Science) undergraduate and graduate training program. Offered by the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) with additional support from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and participating universities, SOARS is a five-year scholarship and mentoring program based in Boulder and conducted at the Nat UCAR developed the program to increase the number of African-American, American Indian, Hispanic/Latino, Native Alaskan, and other underrepresented students enrolled in master's and Ph.D. programs in the atmospheric and related sciences, such as meteorology, oceanography, mathematics, computer science, environmental science, and relevant areas of the social sciences. If the number of returning students is a measure of success, SOARS gets an A+. All 13 of last year's students reapplied for this summer and were accepted, along with four new students, after careful review.

Most 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.

Students receive a competitive salary, housing, and roundtrip airfare between Boulder and anywhere within the United States and Puerto Rico. During the school year they continue their research at their home campuses. Three of last year's group are choosing to remain at their home institution this summer to continue their graduate research. Each will visit Boulder to meet with mentors and program staff and present a report of their works in progress.

For those returning to Boulder, this summer's activities include a visit to NCAR's Research Aviation Facility at Jefferson County Airport on June 16, weekly science instruction and mentoring, and weekly workshops to discuss questions of community and career. One student, Preston Heard, has organized a panel for June 19 on lightning and tropospheric chemistry, in which scientists from varying disciplines will tackle a scientific problem on the spot. In July another student-organized panel will address issues around women and science. The students will present their research results to the staff and public August 5-7 at NCAR's Mesa and Foothills Labs.

A number of the SOARS students hope to combine the scientific knowledge gleaned at UCAR with the traditional wisdom of their native cultures. "In SOARS, I have been able to study science with my heart and with my mind. I can travel within the wheel as a scientist while continuing to learn and practice traditional Indian knowledge," says Carl Etstitty, a SOARS student now pursuing a graduate degree at the University of Arizona after having lost interest in science earlier in life. "It is still my wish to live and work with my relatives on Indian lands and with the traditional scientific community to bring all people close to the vision of a good tomorrow." UCAR is a consortium of 62 universities offering the Ph.D. in the atmospheric or related sciences.

Editors: SOARS students and mentors are available for interviews and may be filmed participating in the workshops and panels mentioned above.

SOARS protégés, their home institutions, and their projects for 1997

Christopher Castro, Pennsylvania State University
Janel Cobb (at home campus), Colorado State University
Jasmin Diaz-Lopez, Universidad Metropolitana, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Carl Etsitty, University of Arizona
Quindi Franco (at home campus), Harvard University
Preston Heard (at home campus), Howard University
Lacey Holland, University of Oklahoma
Karen Mozealous, University of Virginia
Shirley Murillo, Florida State University
Sharon Perez-Suarez, University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez
Paneen Petersen, University of Alaska, Anchorage
Darnell Powers, Truman State University
Jennifer Price, Florida A&M University
Stephanie Rivale, University of Rochester
Kiesha Stevens, Clark Atlanta University
Rachel Vincent, Bryn Mawr College
Jennifer Zabel, Weber State University
-The End-

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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.