SOARS was conceived by UCAR president Rick Anthes and associate vice president for human resources and employee relations Edna Comedy in order to help remedy the chronic underrepresentation of African-Americans, American Indians, Hispanics/Latinos, and Native Alaskans in the atmospheric and related sciences. These groups made up only 2.4% of respondents in a recent survey of the discipline by the American Meteorological Society, although they constitute more than 20% of the U.S. population. SOARS follows the Summer Employment Program, which brought a new group of undergraduates to Boulder each year from 1980 to 1995; input from SEP students was used to craft the new program.
|SOARS protégés. First row (left to right): Kiesha Stevens, Jennifer Zabel, Jazmin Diaz-Lopez, Paneen Petersen, Karen Mozealous. Second row: Jennifer Price, Christopher Castro, Stephanie Rivale, Sharon Perez-Suarez. Third row: Shirley Murillo, Lacey Holland, Rachel Vincent, Darnell Powers, Janel Cobb. Not pictured: Carl Etsitty, Quindi Franco, Preston Heard. (Photo by Carlye Calvin.)|
NASA and NOAA funded two of this year's new protégés. The students in these positions aren't locked into doing their research at that particular agency. The idea is that a match will present itself in time so that NASA and NOAA will eventually have SOARS students on site. "We want the program to have maximum flexibility," says Windham. At the end of the summer, the Environmental Science Division of the U.S. Department of Energy also became a sponsor, funding four new students for next year.
SOARS offers protégés in a graduate degree program the option of staying on their home campuses if that allows them to make significant progress on research toward the completion of their degree. Three SOARS protégés from last year--Carl Etsitty, Janel Cobb, and Preston Heard--exercised this option, returning to NCAR only to give seminars/updates on their work. A fourth, Quindi Franco, spent most of the summer in Washington, D.C., examining the links between climate research and public policy. "In a sense, he's on a field study," says Windham, "and the field happens to be D.C."
Windham developed the format for the program, in which each protégé is assigned four mentors. One is the traditional research mentor, one helps with science writing, one is a community liaison, and one (actually a group) offers peer support. Along with conveying technical knowledge, the mentors help guide the students through insecurity, homesickness, culture shock, and other pitfalls. Each mentor goes through an orientation program, which includes a three-hour workshop, to learn how to best serve a protégé.
For further information about SOARS, contact Windham (303-497-8624 or email@example.com) or visit the program's Web site.
Pennsylvania State Univ.
|Linda Mearns||ESIG||Statistical downscaling of a general circulation model and the effect of climate change on crop yields; applying to the region of Pennsylvania|
Colorado State University
Colorado State Univ.
|CSU||Performing analysis on data from the Aerosol Characterization Experiment (ACE-1) ferry flight and 1997 Arctic expedition to study the effects of ice nuclei (IN), cloud condensation nuclei (CCN), and aerosol concentrations on cloud formation and cloud radiative properties|
San Juan, Puerto Rico
|Alan Townsend||VSP||Examining global ecological change and human health; monitoring effects of global climate change on biodiversity, measuring plant species richness and various climate parameters in Rocky Mountain National Park|
University of Arizona
|Lee Klinger||ACD||Detection via direct Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR), Integrated Cell Culture (ICC)-PCR and cell culture of viral survival in sludge amended soils|
|Roger Pielke, Jr.||ESIG||Mapping U.S. climate and climate research policy|
|Jim Dye||MMM||Working with measurements from the Stratosphere-Troposphere Experiment: Radiation, Aerosols, and Ozone (STERAO)/Deep Convection study of last summer to investigate oxides of nitrogen (NOx) production by lightning|
University of Oklahoma
Pennsylvania State Univ.
|Evaluating aircraft icing forecasts using observations from a research aircraft|
University of Virginia
|Maura Hagan||HAO||Investigating the consequences of large-scale ozone density depletion on atmospheric tidal signatures|
Florida State University
|David Yates||ASP||Studying linkages between land surface and mesoscale models, emphasizing the role of land-surface processes and modeling methods|
University of Puerto Rico,
|Robert DeConto||CGD||Analyzing an ocean general circulation model circulation (80 million years ago) and comparing to proxies for ocean temperature and circulation from the geologic records|
University of Alaska,
|Benjamin Felzer||CGD||Reconstructing vegetation for model comparisons using Paleoclimates from Arctic Lakes and Estuaries (PALE) data|
Truman State University
|Mary Barth||MMM/ACD||Examining processes that influence chemistry in stratocumulus clouds|
Florida A&M University
|Tony Delany||ATD||Investigating ozone deposition through on-site work and analysis of data from the Cooperative Atmospheric Surface Exchange Study (CASES)|
University of Rochester
|Sasha Madronich||ACD||Analyzing the of role of ultraviolet light in photochemical smog formation|
Clark Atlanta University
|Nan Rosenbloom||CGD||Developing a daily temperature and precipitation time series for the continental United States|
Bryn Mawr College
|Tomislava Vukicevic||CGD||Analyzing chemical interactions using a component of an atmospheric chemistry model, relating the sensitivity of the model solution to the physical parameters used in the model|
Weber State University
|Alex Guenther||ACD||Assisting in development of trace gas analysis instruments and a trace gas emission model, including natural and anthropogenic emissions for a field site in California|