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February 2008

Internship programs gear up for summer


soars student

Bill Kuo (COSMIC) with SOARS protégé Michael Hernandez.

Although summer may seem a long way off, the organization’s internship programs are already preparing for fresh young faces to arrive on campus—and recruiting mentors among somewhat older faces. UCAR/NCAR is offering four internship programs this summer, covering the broad range of atmospheric and related sciences.

SOARS (Significant Opportunities in Atmospheric Research and Science) enters its 13th summer this year. An undergraduate-to-graduate bridge program for students in atmospheric and related sciences, SOARS provides up to four years of paid summer research experience, mentoring, community support, and funding for conferences. Its mission is to increase diversity in the field by involving more students from underrepresented groups.

The program’s mentoring component includes research, writing, and community mentors. Research mentors collaborate with protégés on current research projects. Writing mentors coach protégés with the written and oral communication component of their projects. Community mentors help protégés navigate the organization’s culture as well as life in Boulder. No prior experience is necessary for mentors. More information on SOARS.

• CISL’s SIParCS (Summer Internship in Parallel Computational Science) offers research opportunities and hands-on experience in high-performance computing to graduate students and undergraduates who have completed their junior years. The program is aimed at students interested in pursuing careers in computational science, applied mathematics, computer science, and computational geosciences. More information on SIParCS, including opportunities for mentors.

• EOL’s Summer Undergraduate Engineering Internships give students the chance to work on new and existing instrumentation and operate instruments in the field during research projects. Interns are encouraged to develop their own engineering solutions as they work with mentors. They have access to resources that include sophisticated testing and calibration instruments, technical documentation, and advanced fabrication capabilities. More information on Summer Undergraduate Engineering Internships.

• ESSL/HAO’s Summer Undergraduate Internship gives students research opportunities in solar physics, solar-terrestrial physics, and related astrophysics. HAO will partner this summer with CU’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP) for an expanded program that includes the participation of a number of space physics institutes in the Boulder area. More information on the Summer Undergraduate Internship.

The reciprocal benefits of mentoring

A review by the Chronicle of Higher Education in August 2007 analyzed several studies on the experiences of undergraduates doing science research. It found that while undergraduates learn and grow significantly from their research experiences, they require strong mentor relationships to do so.

Staff who have served as mentors in UCAR and NCAR’s various internship programs report that they themselves learn and grow from working with students.

“It gives me a feeling of satisfaction to be able to introduce a student to aspects of science that he or she hasn’t experienced before,” says Steve Massie (ESSL/ACD), who mentors with SOARS.

Mentoring has even boosted Steve’s own research, leading to published results on a few occasions. “It gives me the freedom to try a problem that I normally wouldn’t have time to do, or to try something I haven’t done before,” he says.

Bob Henson (Communications) says that in addition to appreciating the enthusiasm and vitality that protégés add to his summers, he finds that mentoring strengthens his own skills for communicating science.

“It helps me think about NCAR’s research as it might look from several steps away, so I can better explain what I do and what NCAR does,” he says.

In this issue...

A closer look at today’s forecast

Internship programs gear up for summer

The heart of winter

NCAR/UCAR media office readies staff for interviews

Short Takes

Just One Look

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