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SUMMER 2013 Newsletter


Greetings SOARS family,

What a wild weather ride this summer has brought us! We're happy to report that all SOARS staff, protégés and alumni in the Colorado region affected by the last week's flooding are safe and relatively dry. Thank you all for your concern and messages of support. For more about the flooding, please check out Bob Henson's excellent article Inside the Colorado Deluge.

As we say goodbye to summer, we thought we'd share some of the highlights of this summer's internship. Ten weeks fly by so fast, yet our protégés manage to accomplish so much in their time here. We had another fantastic group this year, who not only excelled in their research but also connected with the devastating tornadoes in Oklahoma, did outreach at a local high school, built their team in Rocky Mountain National Park, blogged, podcasted, and so much more. We hope you enjoy these photos from our summer!

If there are stories you’d like to see, or have news to share for our next edition, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Bec Batchelor, on behalf of the SOARS team

Group photo


Highlights from the Summer

Leadership Training

Leadership training

SOARS, RESESS and NEON interns build confidence in their team during Leadership Training

Leadership training

As in previous years, SOARS and RESESS (our partner solid earth science program at UNAVCO) joined forces this year for an intensive leadership training at the start of the summer. A welcome addition to the group were four interns from the National Ecological Observing Network (NEON)'s newly-hatched internship, also being hosted here in Boulder. Interns were guided through skills for having their voice heard, communicating and working with their peers, and goal setting, and were also able to build a strong team as they navigated rope challenges blindfold and fed members of their teams through a giant spiderweb. The second day of training saw the interns visit some of the many Boulder labs - the NCAR Mesa Lab, NOAA, UNAVCO and NEON. This was a great opportunity to get a taste of the breadth of research going on this city.

All Things Tornado

LoganLogan Dawson on the NSF/NCAR Gulfstream V research aircraft during MPEX.

The summer program this year was punctuated with stories from the tornado outbreaks that devastated Moore and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, early in our internship. While SOARS protégés tend to get excited about massive weather events, the impact of these events was certainly not lost on our group. One of our protégés, Logan Dawson, was participating in a large ground- and aircraft-based campaign called the Mesoscale Predictability Experiment (MPEX). This multi-investigator field project was aimed at better predicting this type of severe spring weather and Logan was able to experience first-hand the internal conflict between scientific excitement and human casualty. He captured this poignantly in one of his blog posts, Eight Emotions while tracking One Giant Supercell.

Book Drive and Oklahoma University Visit


Diamilet, Rosimar and some of the many books donated to Moore Books for Moore Kids following the devastating tornadoes in May 2013.

Back in Boulder, after seeing the devastation of the May 20th tornadoes that destroyed two elementary schools in Moore, Oklahoma, SOARS protégés Rosimar Rios-Berrios and Diamilet Perez-Berancourt were moved to do something to help. With a visit already planned from the Oklahoma University (OU) REU program, they started a book drive, thinking they'd be able to send books back to the schools to help rebuild their libraries with the program participants. Little did they expect that the book drive that they began, with boxes at all three NCAR campuses, would result in hundreds of books being donated to Moore Books for Moore Kids! While the books ended up being shipped, SOARS protégés had an excellent lunch and a very real discussion about tornadoes with the REU students, who had arrived in Oklahoma City to begin their internship program on the same day that these tornadoes destroyed the city. Diamilet also blogged about her experience: Moving from Science to Action.

Outreach at Boulder Preparatory High School

Adrianna at Boulder PrepSOARS proteges during an outreach visit organized by Adrianna Hackett (front right) at Boulder Preparatory High School.


During the summer, SOARS protégés offered hands-on science demonstrations to Boulder Preparatory High School students—a pool of students who have limited access to scientific resources and minority role models in science.  A former Boulder Prep student, Adrianna Hackett, who is also a current SOARS protégé, organized the outreach event emphasizing that, “this type of outreach to these populations is fundamental to bridging the gap between minority students and science and has a great impact when it is done by a diverse group of people like SOARS students.”

“It always does my heart good when I see the sparkle in a young person’s eye-when they get the physics behind our demonstrations” - SOARS protégé Stanley Edwin

Rocky Mountain National Park


Ben Baldwin talks about ecosystem research in Rocky Mountain National Park with SOARS protégés and Spark-NCAR Pre-college interns

A trip to Rocky Mountain National Park has long been a tradition for SOARS. This year's trip had two goals: 1) explore the ecosystems and learn about weather and climate research in Rocky Mountain National Park and 2) reflect on SOARS mid-summer and set goals for the rest of the program. The protégés were treated to an excellent talk on the former by RMNP scientist Ben Baldwin, and came away refreshed and reset after a number of activities contributing to the latter.

Visit by SOARS Alum, Christopher Castro


Asst. Professor Christopher Castro (right) with the 2013 SOARS protégés.

SOARS will forever be proud of our alumni, and this is certainly true of Dr. Christopher Castro (SOARS 1996, 1997) who is now an Assistant Professor at the University of Arizona. Current protégés were treated to a visit by Dr. Castro, who not only inspired them, but also shared all manner of tips and thoughts from his road to academia and his experiences working with students. The ongoing commitment of SOARS alumni to both our program and to our mission of increasing diversity in the atmospheric and related sciences is exemplified in his willingness to visit, share and inspire the next generation of atmospheric scientists.

Presentations and Poster Session

Poster session

SOARS protege Meghan Applegate (left) describes her research to judge, SOARS alum Annareli Morales.

Of course, no SOARS summer would be complete without an oral colloquium and a poster session. Our thanks to Dr. Michael Morgan (NSF Atmospheric and Geospace Sciences Director) for attending the colloquium, to the many scientists, mentors and UCAR staff who contributed to our poster session and of course to our amazing protégés who presented themselves and their work in a manner very fitting for the next generation of leaders in our field!

Thank You!

Finally, we'd like to offer our heartfelt thanks to our fantastic mentors for making summer 2013 another excellent scientific and learning experience. This program would not be possible without you and we certainly appreciate the time, attention and commitment you continue to give the SOARS program!


Applications for SOARS 2014

Word of mouth remains our best source of advertising for SOARS. If you know a talented undergraduate who would benefit from SOARS, please encourage them to apply! Applications for next year's cohort will open in November and close on February 1st, 2014. More details can be found on the SOARS website,