Earth, Wind, Sea, and Sky 2010

This volume marks the 15th edition of Earth Wind Sea and Sky, and it seems appropriate to use this introduction to both honor the past and imagine the future.

EWSS began as a collection of essays by SOARS protégés, or summer interns, about their research experiences at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. It has evolved into a set of abstracts by protégés and interns from several summer programs at multiple labs – abstracts that highlight original scientific work. The abstracts in this year’s edition come from three programs; RESESS, a undergraduate-to-graduate program that focuses on geodesy and related Earth sciences; SOARS, another undergraduate-to-graduate bridge program focusing on the atmospheric and related sciences; and, for the first time, the High School Internships and Research Opportunities (HIRO) Program which covers a range of scientific and technical careers.

What has not changed in these fifteen years is the set of strategies behind the abstracts: mentoring relationships that welcome and advance students in the geosciences, a supportive learning community of peers, and a fundamental commitment to strong scientific research. Another thing that hasn’t changed is the dedication to broadening participation in science by creating opportunities for students who come from communities that have been historically underrepresented. We believe that the abstracts in this volume demonstrate the enduring relevance and effectiveness of these strategies and values as well as the commitment and dedication of our mentors and students.

An introduction to a 15th edition should also anticipate the future. That future begins by acknowledging that under-served and under-represented are related concepts when it comes to broadening participation in science Without input from minority scientists, it is hard to design a research agenda that addresses the priorities of minority communities. Without addressing the priorities of minority communities, we will have a hard time attracting students from those communities.

We can find our way out of this Catch-22 by creating a science of service. A science of service is one that integrates community concerns into every step of the research enterprise, including defining relevant questions, designing protocols acceptable to the community, and sharing the results. It is an additional model of doing science, and accepting this kind of science asks us to accept new strategies and values as part of the practice of science.

In fact, it may be another way to think of broadening participation. Perhaps part of the challenge for the next 15 years is welcoming scientists who not only look different but also act and think differently

Rajul Pandya, Rebecca Haacker-Santos, Moira Kennedy: SOARS

Valerie Sloan, Melissa Weber, Shelley Olds: RESESS

SCOTT LANDOLT, Director of Spark-NCAR Pre-College Internship, NCAR

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