As we move through a challenging hurricane season, and see increasing reports of climate impacts and new record extreme weather events, the Significant Opportunities in Atmospheric Research and Science (SOARS) program's mission of increasing the diversity of our field has never been more relevant. The atmospheric and climate sciences include some of the biggest challenges we face as a nation and a planet, and embracing the full talent, voice and experience of our population offers our best chance to solve these critical problems. The vision of the SOARS founders was to create a program where students from traditionally underrepresented groups were holistically supported in advancing their research careers so that they could become the next leaders in our field. Twenty-one years on, their vision is reaching fruition as our alumni step into positions of leadership across government, academia and industry. The combination of strong community, genuine research experience and comprehensive mentoring that makes up the backbone of the SOARS program remains as relevant today as it was then, and we are proud to continue to support their vision of a better future.


I have been working with the SOARS program since 2011, and in March stepped into the role of Director, following in the huge footsteps of Rebecca Haacker. Rebecca has worked with the SOARS program since 2005, serving as Director since 2011, and in this time has supported and grown the program to where it is today, influencing the lives and careers of so many. I join with all of the SOARS protégés and alumni in thanking her for her vision, dedication and commitment, and am grateful that she will continue to mentor us in her new role as NCAR's Director of Education and Outreach. Looking forward, I am very excited about the possibilities that have opened up through our alumni, particularly the expansion of SOARS to partner universities where they are now faculty. Professors Deanna Hence and Talea Mayo are leading this initiative, at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and the University of Central Florida respectively, and we are eager to see where this partnership will lead.We are also grateful to the many alumni who give back to SOARS, contributing to the professional development of our current protégés by serving as mentors, panelists, speakers and role-models. Some of their efforts are highlighted in these pages. I would also like to acknowledge the excellent support that we receive from our funders (including the NSF, NOAA, CU, WHOI and UCAR/NCAR) and our organizations. This summer, over 80 scientists, engineers and staff served as mentors and advisors to 24 protégés; and many more made sure that their summers were productive.This huge commitment of time and energy is key to the success of our protégés and our program, and we couldn't do it without you. I hope you enjoy this 2017 edition of Earth,Wind, Sea, and Sky, which showcases the research of this summer's protégés. It is with confidence that I say that these students are inspiring, talented, and well on their way to becoming the next leaders in our field. Thank you for your support.


Earth, Wind, Sea and Sky 2017