SOARS protégés (left to right)|
First row: 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.
(Photo by Carlye Calvin.)
SOARS follows the Summer Employment Program, which brought a new group of undergraduates to Boulder each year from 1980 to 1995. In a meeting with NSF director Neal Lane several years ago, SEP students provided suggestions for improving the program: extending it beyond one summer, providing support for graduate work, and the like. With that input, says Tom, "Edna and Rick wrote a proposal that transformed SEP into SOARS."
The program provides educational, research, and financial support; mentoring; and career counseling for each student from acceptance (typically between their sophomore and senior years) through completion of a graduate degree. Support during the academic year also comes from 38 UCAR member universities. The program itself--funded by NSF's atmospheric science directorate, NASA, NOAA, and UCAR--subsidizes the summers at NCAR.
The mentoring model developed by Tom provides each protégé with mentors for science research, science writing, community, and peer-group 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 example, they learn the difference between mentorship and friendship. One mentor said of the orientation, "This was so worthwhile! . . . I wish someone had given me this presentation when I first became a faculty member and adviser to grad students."
According to Tom, "One of our goals this year is a closer collaboration among the three mentors for each protégé. We're encouraging them to interact."
Protégé Carl Etsitty is an example. From the age of 14, Carl had been drawn to science as a way to solve the land-use and agricultural problems of his native Southwest. However, his undergraduate work at Yavapai College and the University of Arizona conflicted with his Navajo heritage. For instance, Carl says, "The Elders' teachings revere the frog as one that brings the rain to Navajo lands, but science teachers encouraged us to dissect the frog." At NCAR, Carl found some resolution to his dilemma through the help of scientific mentor Lee Klinger. Lee's research in biogeochemistry is rooted in his philosophy that the globe's biological, atmospheric, and other physical systems are intimately connected. As he guided Carl on his SOARS research, Lee also encouraged him to read the works of Gaia theorist James Lovelock.
"With [Lee's] guidance and respect for traditional knowledge," says Carl, "I have been able to embrace strategies that allow me 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. 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 closer to the vision of a good tomorrow."
Paneen also found a project to her liking. The child of an father of German ancestry and an Inupiaq Eskimo mother, Paneen's interest in ancient cultures is rooted in her maternal background. Her mother, who died during Paneen's early childhood, appeared in a 1956 photo in National Geographic with the caption "Miss Arctic Circle." ("I find it interesting that the magazine didn't give her name," says Paneen.)
At NCAR, Paneen met with paleoclimate researchers Ben Felzer and Starley Thompson. "I was thrilled to learn of their interest in the Arctic region," says Paneen. "I recognized a shared interest in the Holocene transition, and the importance of knowing the habits of ancient plants and animals in reconstructing climates of both ancient and recent past ages." Paneen's SOARS project gives her hope that she may find a place as a scientist in the region where she grew up. "I've worried about being able to have a career that would allow me to continue to live in Alaska. Living in Alaska and conducting Arctic research are very appealing,"
Two of this year's new SOARS students are being funded by new organizational partners NASA and NOAA. The students in these positions aren't locked into working 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 Tom.
The writing workshop, conducted by Marie Boyko (University of Colorado), will shift from focusing on preparation of the students' research papers to the more general theme of persuasion in scientific writing--the forms it takes in different types of communications (such as résumés, presentations, research reports, or proposals) and the various strategies used for different purposes and audiences.
"This year's workshop will function much as a research group does," says Marie. "We'll each contribute ideas, research, and thinking to advance our collective state of understanding. We'll conduct a conversation all summer long, both in workshop sessions and in a standing Web chat forum. I'm looking forward to seeing what we come up with."
Eight UCAR staff are serving as writing mentors to individual students. "This is a feature of the program that is always a great benefit to the students, and this year will be key to successful completion of their final papers," says Marie.
As in 1996, each student will present a seminar at the summer's end conveying their research methods and findings. Watch This Week at UCAR's Calendar section for the seminar listings in early August. Tom encourages any interested staff to attend these talks, as well as other special SOARS presentations during the summer. Last August, four protégés (Karen, Paneen, Jennifer Price, and Jennifer Zabel) organized the panel discussion "Women in Science," which included NCAR researchers Peggy LeMone, Sandra Henry, Susan Solomon, and Chin-Hoh Moeng. Earlier this month, protégé Preston Heard chaired a discussion panel, "Lightning and Tropospheric Chemistry," featuring Jim Dye, Peter Hess, Brian Ridley, Greg Jenkins (Pennsylvania State University), and Preston's adviser at Howard University, Vernon Morris.
When you attend a SOARS presentation, be prepared for spontaneity and a surprise here and there. Last fall, Carl, Tom, and Lacey Holland teamed up to give a progress report on SOARS at the annual meeting of UCAR members. Carl led off with a Navajo greeting before launching into a discussion of his research and his SOARS experience. "It went over well," says Tom. "The members were really pleased."
As Tom puts it, "SOARS is a learning community within a research community. As such, our style is collaboration, our process is shared decision-making, and our goal is synergy." BH
Al Cooper (ASP)|
Maura Hagan (HAO)
Sandra Henry (RAP)
Elisabeth Holland (ACD)
Peggy LeMone (MMM)
Peter Peterson (SCD)
Karyn Sawyer (JOSS)
|Christopher Castro||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|
|Janel Cobb*||Sonia Kreindenweis (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, and aerosol concentrations on cloud formation and cloud radiative properties|
|Jasmin Diaz-Lopez||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|
|Quindi Franco*||Roger Pielke, Jr.||ESIG||Mapping U.S. climate and climate research policy|
|Preston Heard*||Peter Hess||ACD||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|
|Vernon Morris (Howard University)|
|Greg Jenkins (Pennsylvania State University)|
|Lacey Holland||Barbara Brown||RAP||Evaluating aircraft icing forecasts using observations from a research aircraft|
|Karen Mozealous||Maura Hagan||HAO||Investigating the consequences of large-scale ozone density depletion on atmospheric tidal signatures|
|Shirley Murillo||David Yates||ASP||Studying linkages between land surface and mesoscale models, emphasizing the role of land-surface processes and modeling methods|
|Sharon Perez-Suarez||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|
|Paneen Petersen||Benjamin Felzer||CGD||Reconstructing vegetation for model comparisons using Paleoclimates from Arctic Lakes and Estuaries (PALE) data.|
|Darnell Powers||Mary Barth||MMM/ACD||Examining processes that influence chemistry in stratocumulus clouds|
|Jennifer Price||Tony Delany||ATD||Investigating ozone deposition through on-site work and analysis of data from the Cooperative Atmospheric-Surface Exchange Study (CASES)|
|Stephanie Rivale||Sasha Madronich||ACD||Analyzing the of role of ultraviolet light in photochemical smog formation|
|Kiesha Stevens||Nan Rosenbloom||CGD||Developing a daily temperature and precipitation time series for the continential United States|
|Rachel Vincent||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|
|Jennifer Zabel||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|