Earth, Wind, Sea, and Sky 2015
We are very pleased to share with you the 2015 edition of Earth,Wind, Sea, and Sky, showcasing the summer research of students from our Significant Opportunities in Atmospheric Research and Science (SOARS) program. As we head into our 20th year, we are also using this publication as a chance to reflect on just how far we've come—to highlight our alumni who continue to serve as role-models and leaders; our partners who are spreading our mission beyond the atmospheric sciences; the opportunities SOARS has afforded our students; and especially, to celebrate the progress we've made towards an atmospheric science workforce that includes the talent of our diverse population.
The SOARS Program was founded in 1996 under the leadership of then UCAR President Richard Anthes and then NSF Director Neal Lane with the goal of addressing the lack of representation in the atmosphericsciences.Much has changed in the field since the program's early days and we are seeing some encouraging progress. Many of our alumni now hold leadership positions in academia,research and private industry. Still though,we face a discrepancy between the demographic makeup of the science workforce and the country as a whole, and the need for SOARS remains.We continue to strive towards a scientific work force representative of the US population, especially including members of those groups who are already, and will continue to be, disproportionately impacted by current and future environmental change.
SOARS is known for encouraging students from groups that are historically under-represented to enter the atmospheric and related sciences, and has built a strong track record of exposing them to a range of opportunities in the field while preparing them to succeed in graduate school and the professional workplace.We engage students in real-world projects at world-class science facilities, pair them with scientists and engineers who are at the cutting edge of their fields, and build community to support these future STEM professionals. Our students get the opportunity to experience fieldwork and even do international work. This year alone we had protégés skiing on glaciers in Alaska,chasing nighttime storms across the Great Plains,sampling water on NOAA vessels in the waters off Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and working in rural communities in northern Ghana.
Beyond the program itself, we are actively building a network of programs and individuals who will create and support a culture of mentoring for all students to achieve their full potential. Many of our alumni are now in positions of leadership in academia,research and private industry and can carry our vision forward.Alumna like Talea Mayo, who is now faculty herself(see her profile on page 23), apply what they learned in SOARS to mentor the next generation of scientists.To build a community-wide culture of mentoring we are establishing collaborations with other laboratories and universities and helping to build programs modeled after SOARS.We highlight some of these partnerships on page 28.
We're very proud of every summer cohort and it's no different this year!The 2015 SOARS protégés did excellent research and formed a supportive cohort of peers who will be there for each other for years to come. Their success would not be possible without the support and dedication of a number of people and organizations.The biggest thank you goes to our funders, our many partnering laboratories, and of course to our mentors.Thank you for your careful guidance of the protégés, and for modeling what an exciting science or engineering career looks like! Without you these programs would not be possible. A special acknowledgement goes to Thomas Windham, SOARS director from its inception until 2004, and Rajul Pandya,who led the program until 2011. Their vision and dedication shaped the wonderful program it is today. We'd also like to thank our alumni,who continue to engage with each other, the program, and especially the current cohort of protégés.They serve as speakers on our panels, judges in our poster session, mentors and provide an unquestioning support for us all.
We hope that you will enjoy this edition of Earth,Wind, Sea and Sky. Thank you for your continuous support and please join us in congratulating our 2015 SOARS protégés!
REBECCA HAACKER, SOARS Director