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Fall 1998

SOARS spreads its wings

This summer, the Signficant Opportunities in Atmospheric Research and Science (SOARS) program welcomed 12 new student participants and said farewell to its first alumnus, Quindi Franco, who completed his master's degree. SOARS is UCAR's three-year-old program to bring underrepresented groups into careers in the atmospheric and related sciences. The participants are usually accepted into the program between their sophomore and senior years in college and stay until the completion of their graduate degrees. They receive educational, research, and financial support and career counseling throughout the program. Students spend the summer pursuing research at UCAR or, in graduate programs, at their home institution if that allows them to make significant progress toward completing their degrees.

"We know that learning in communities is more effective than learning as individuals," says Tom Windham, SOARS director. In line with this, each protégé, as the students are called, is matched with a research mentor, typically a UCAR scientist; a community mentor from the UCAR staff; a science-writing mentor; and a peer mentor--a fellow protégé--to share experiences with. Returning protégés may continue with the same mentors or may choose one or more new ones.

Next summer will bring a new twist to SOARS. NASA, NOAA, and the U.S. Department of Energy are now supporting the program (along with its first sponsor, NSF), and these agencies will begin hosting protégés in 1999. The idea is to leverage the SOARS concept so that other laboratories can benefit from the protégés' contributions and the program can benefit from a variety of research locales and programs.

For further information about SOARS, contact Windham (303-497-8624 or twindham@ucar.edu) or visit the program's Web site or "Soars proteges 1998" in the August 1998 issue of Staff Notes Monthly.

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Edited by Carol Rasmussen, carolr@ucar.edu
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Last revised: Tue Apr 4 15:03:21 MDT 2000