We are very pleased to present the 2012 edition of EARTH, WIND, SEA, AND SKY, showcasing 54 summer projects of students from our three internship programs, Significant Opportunities in Atmospheric Research and Science (SOARS), Research Experiences in Solid Earth Sciences for Students (RESESS), and the Spark Pre-College Internship.

These three research internships are high school-to-college and undergraduate-to-graduate bridge programs designed to broaden participation in the geosciences. We encourage students from groups that are historically under-represented to enter the earth and atmospheric sciences, and prepare them to succeed in college or graduate school.

While RESESS focuses on the earth sciences, SOARS and the SPARK PRE-COLLEGE program encompass the broad field of atmospheric and related sciences. Cornerstones of the internships are strong mentoring, a supportive learning community and authentic research experiences. It is an intense and rewarding experience for the students, in which they work much more independently and through inquiry than in a traditional classroom setting.

In addition to learning how research is done, interns discover how collaborative the scientific endeavor can be. Interns have multiple mentors, guiding them on their science, programming, writing and communication. Part of the summer experience involves learning how to make most of these collaborations between colleagues. These interchanges are often cross-disciplinary and exciting, pushing science forward, and often continue in the form of senior theses, graduate projects, or in a second summer with the internship. The students continue to expand their professional network in the following academic year, when they present their research at national scientific meetings.

In one of these unique collaborations, two SOARS and one RESESS intern worked with local and Native American communities in Southeastern Louisiana this summer. Hosted by scientists at the Center for Hazard Assessment, Resources, and Technology at the University of New Orleans, our interns were introduced to projects that support community viability in the face of current and historical ecosystem change by integrating physical science, geospatial technology and traditional ecological knowledge.

As always, we thank our many partnering laboratories and mentors for their careful guidance and teaching of the interns. Thank you for modeling what an innovative, collaborative and exciting science career looks like! Without you these internship programs would not be possible. We are grateful to those who were new mentors this year, and those who returned; thank you.

We hope that you will enjoy this volume of abstracts. We are very proud of the 2012 SOARS, RESESS and Pre-College interns and delighted to present their results!

REBECCA HAACKER-SANTOS, Head of Student Opportunities, Spark UCAR Science Education


Earth, Wind, Sea and Sky 2012