We are excited to share this 2021 edition of Earth, Wind, Sea, and Sky; showcasing the summer research of the Protégés from the Significant Opportunities in Atmospheric Research and Science (SOARS) Program. SOARS began in 1996, and remains true to its mission of increasing the diversity of the atmospheric and related sciences, by engaging students from historically marginalized communities in STEM, in genuine research. The Protégés’ ability to do excellent work in such a short period of time, and in a virtual environment, is a credit to their hard work and dedication; and to the exceptional training, care, and guidance of their mentors. We are ever so grateful for the mentors’ commitment to the Program.

The hallmark of the SOARS mentoring structure, which includes up to five (5) types of mentors and a supportive learning community; continues to be the heart of the program and remains relevant. The Geoscience community continues to evolve and our scientific challenges change. As such, SOARS continues to adapt and grow, meeting the new needs of the field. Now in the sixth year, the SOARS computation and scientific data workshop (CDW) recognizes the movement of geoscience literature toward sharing data and code; preparing Protégés with tools to flourish in an open-access environment. This year’s CDW complemented the scientific communication and writing workshop (SCW) with weekly sessions. We recognize new careers in the atmospheric sciences are emerging that make use of weather and climate products; and there is a need for scientists to translate these products for fields as diverse as agriculture, emergency management, insurance policy, and space weather, to name a few. Our professional development series exposes our Protégés to the many opportunities available to them, and prepares them to succeed not only in graduate school, but in careers pathways as well.

Because of the 25+ years’ legacy and success of SOARS, we are able to tap into the strengths of our Alumni. Our Alumni also serve as mentors, panelists, graduate-school selection advisors, and on the SOARS Steering committee. Beyond SOARS, our Alumni are filling leadership roles in our national societies, federal, state, and local government, industries, and universities. Their perspective and leadership, along with that of our mentors sponsors, and partners, help SOARS advance and remain a leader and valued partner in the geoscience community.

As the geosciences continue to evolve and our planet and climate face rapid change; the need for diverse voices has never been greater, particularly those who can connect science, leadership, and community. SOARS has an ongoing role and responsibility in helping develop these voices. The network of Protégés, Alumni, Mentors—current and former, staff, and partners continues to grow; and their voices and leadership are making vital contributions to the science and safety of our planet. We are grateful for your ongoing support and are extremely proud to be part of this amazing community!

We hope you enjoy this publication of Earth, Wind, Sea, and Sky. Please join us in congratulating the 2021 Cohort of Protégés!

Earth, Wind, Sea and Sky 2021