Earth, Wind, Sea, and Sky 2011

We are delighted to present the 2011 research abstracts of 56 diverse students from all over the United States, including Puerto Rico. These students, part of three integrated research intern programs (SOARS, RESESS and HIRO), represent the very best of promising scientists in the geosciences, and we are proud to be associated with them!

SOARS (Significant Opportunities in Atmospheric Research and Science), RESESS (Research Experience in Solid Earth Science for Students) and HIRO (High School Internship Research Opportunities) represent an exciting experiment in bringing together students from diverse backgrounds and ages to Boulder for a summer program of research, education training and fun! The three research internship programs give students a wonderful opportunity to experience authentic research; to learn to communicate science through talks, posters and writing; and to develop long-lasting bonds with peers.

SOARS and RESESS are both undergraduate-to-graduate bridge programs: SOARS focuses on atmospheric and related sciences and RESESS focuses on geodesy and related earth sciences HIRO is a high school internship program that encompasses a range of scientific and technical fields. Students work with scientists and engineers in UCAR, NCAR, NOAA, the University of Colorado, UNAVCO and the USGS. Students also join together throughout the summer to share experiences that enhance their total experience. To our knowledge, the breadth of backgrounds and the multidisciplinary research projects of the students, and the range of organizations participating in the three programs are unprecedented.

While the students get support from their peers and program staff, they also receive substantial guidance and encouragement from their science and writing mentors. These mentors are members of the scientific community who dedicate a tremendous amount of effort to their interns. In addition to helping the students shape their research project, mentors provide feedback and guidance on science, writing, and presentations which aid the student in their professional development and scientific thinking. We repeatedly hear from our interns how much they appreciate the efforts of their mentors and how much they feel that they have developed and matured in one summer. This feedback and the success of the interns after they leave our programs confirm that our mentors are successful in supporting, encouraging, and guiding future scientists who come from diverse backgrounds.

Though the benefits to the students of these programs may be obvious, there are also unheralded benefits to the mentors and organizations who work with the protégés. The students bring curiosity, enthusiasm, fresh ideas and new experiences. Students and mentors are engaged together in a process that encourages interaction between and within groups and organizations, fosters collaboration across disciplines, and broadens participation in and the relevance of, the Earth sciences.

None of this would be possible without the careful attention and strong encouragement of our mentors. For that reason, we would like to dedicate this volume of abstracts to our mentors as a way of thanks, from us and the interns.

RICK ANTHES, President of UCAR


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