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Summer visitors liven things up

It wouldn't be summer without new faces in the hallways and cafeterias. SOARS has 20 students enrolled this summer, working with mentors from across the organization on everything from tropical storms to Arctic sea ice.

Curtis Walker and Scott Sewell working with instrumentation.SOARS protégé Curtis Walker (left) is working on algorithms for aerosol removal in coronal images with help from Scott Sewell (HAO).

New this year was an intern exchange between SOARS and the University of Oklahoma’s National Weather Center. In June, a half-dozen SOARS protégés visited the center for a few days to learn more about its research and get to know OU as a potential graduate school. In turn, eight undergrads from the NWC’s internship program came to NCAR in July as guests of SOARS to learn more about climate research in Boulder.

“The students loved it and we got a lot of positive feedback,” says Rebecca Haacker-Santos, SOARS program coordinator. "The exchange is part of our efforts to build even stronger connections between SOARS and UCAR partner universities.”

SOARS wraps up with a public poster session on August 5 at 3:30 p.m. in the Center Green auditorium.

Navajo Nation visitors spend a week at NCAR

A group of 18 students and three faculty members from Diné College, located in Tsaile, Arizona, on the Navajo Nation, visited UCAR/NCAR in early July for a workshop on climate change, societal impacts, and how the AIRCOA (Autonomous Inexpensive Robust CO2 Analyzer), an EOL-built instrument that measures carbon dioxide concentrations, can contribute to these studies.

The visit was the brainchild of Sherri Heck (EOL), who began collaborating with the Navajo Nation in 2006 to study regional carbon dioxide fluxes. Sherri was looking to install AIRCOA somewhere that lacked carbon dioxide concentration data, climate science education, and collaboration. The instrument landed on Roof Butte, located in the Navajo Nation’s Chuska Mountains.

A group of students from Diné College and several NCAR staff standing in front of aircract.A group of visitors from the Navajo Nation’s Diné College takes a tour of EOL.

Students and faculty at Diné College have begun collaborating on the instrument’s operation and maintenance, as well as formulating scientific questions that are relevant to the community. Sherri has visited the college several times to give talks on climate change and AIRCOA, but it was the students’ first visit to NCAR.

“I thought the workshop would be a great way for the Navajo students and faculty to get to know NCAR and hopefully encourage future collaborations,” she says. “I also wanted the group to learn more about the instrument.”

In addition to spending time with AIRCOA and other EOL instruments, the group toured NCAR’s facilities and checked out the Gulfstream V. They received GIS training, met with GLOBE, learned about Unidata’s services, and listened to presentations on climate change, societal impacts, and environmental justice

The visit was funded by UCAR’s Community Building Program and Diné College and organized by Karen Smith-Herman (CBP).

High school internship program off and running

So much for a lazy summer spent sitting by the pool. After a pilot program with two interns last summer, the NCAR High School Internship Program is off and running. Ten students from six local high schools are studying everything from freezing drizzle to Web design to green energy auditing. Eight are working at UCAR/NCAR under the guidance of 11 staff mentors, while two are based at NOAA.

Kelly Schick and Julie Haggerty looking at the Gulfstream V wing instrumentation.Kelly Schick, left, and EOL’s Julie Haggerty examine the Microwave Temperature Profiler under the wing of the Gulfstream V aircraft. Kelly graduated from Monarch High School last spring and will attend Colorado State University this fall.

“I chose to participate in the program for the unique opportunities it presents to experience real life research and work in the field that I hope to spend the rest of my life in,” says Kelly Schick of Monarch High School. “Also, the friendships and connections made will only serve to open more doors.”

Nancy Wade (HR) and Rebecca Haacker-Santos (SOARS) were motivated to set up the internship program after hearing from community leaders about the need to engage students in science at younger ages. The program is modeled after SOARS and funded by the UCAR Community Building Program. EO’s Kyle Ham is supervising the students, who will present posters on August 5 in conjunction with the SOARS poster session.