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Winter 2015 Newsletter


Happy New Year! As we reach the end of a busy conference season and begin to prepare for the coming summer, we wanted to reach out to share what's been going on at SOARS the last few months, and remind you to encourage talented students to get their applications for SOARS in by the February 1 deadline.

We once again enjoyed a strong SOARS presence at the SACNAS, AGU and AMS meetings, with our students and alumni presenting their science with professionalism and vibrancy and our staff continuing to support both students and the Research Experience for Undergraduate (REU) community.

Our resource collection for the REU community continues to grow, and we have been running monthly webinars on a range of topics of interest to both this community and to our students and alumni. If there are subjects you'd like to see us address in this forum, please don't hesitate to reach out.

Finally, we share with you an opportunity from NSF's Lower Atmosphere Observing Facilities that brings their facilities to your campus for educational purposes.

With warm thoughts for a successful 2015,

The SOARS team.



SOARS has once again been running a winter webinar series for students in the atmospheric sciences. Webinars have included "How to apply for funding & fellowships for grad school", "How to choose grad schools and advisors to work with", "How to apply to internships at NCAR" and "Positioning yourself for a post doctoral fellowship". Recordings of these sessions are available. Please join us on February 12 for our next webinar, a panel discussion on "Careers in Atmospheric Science".


CURTIS WALKER at AMS PResidential Forum

Curtis at AMSCurtis at AMS


Congratulations to SOARS alum and University of Nebraska graduate student Curtis Walker who gave an excellent talk "Will Weather Change Forever – Anticipating Meteorology in 2040" representing the view of students in the Presidential Forum at the AMS Annual Meeting (to 700+ scientists!). Confident and convincing, Curtis (SOARS 2010-2012), is a wonderful ambassador for atmospheric students - and for SOARS!

The recording of his talk is available here:



Thanks to a generous grant from the National Science Foundation, a subset of NSF's Lower Atmosphere Observing Facilities can be made available for educational purposes to college campuses across the continental United States every year. This newly funded NSF effort was designed to expose bright young college students in science and engineering to observational meteorology, without requiring faculty to design and propose a full-scale scientific field campaign. As such, educational deployments offer unprecedented opportunities for project-based learning, real-time research, and teamwork in the field of observational meteorology. Learn more about Educational Deployments:

DOW with studentsAbove: Students gaining valuable hands-on experience with the Doppler on Wheels



meghan wins best poster awardProtégé Meghan Mitchell with her outstanding student poster award (with protégés Carlos Martinez, left, and Eugene Cody (right))



Meghan Mitchell, SOARS protégé and an undergraduate student at Iowa State University, won the Outstanding Student Presentation Award in the atmospheric science category at the 2014 SACNAS National Conference in Los Angeles in October. Four other protégés also presented their work, made the most of career, education and cultural events and represented SOARS and UCAR well at the exhibition booth.


Ryan presenting to Talea Protégé Ryan Adams presenting at AGU to SOARS alum Talea Mayo



SOARS once again had a strong presence at the AGU Fall Annual Meeting held in San Francisco from December 15-19. Five of our current proteges, as well as staff and numerous alumni, presented posters and talks at the conference, making the most of the sessions, workshops and networking possibilities. In addition, Rebecca and Val hosted a well-attended workshop "How to run an effective and inclusive REU program". Last, but by no means least, protege Carlos Martinez was named Grand Prize Winner of the AGU virtual poster session. His prize includes travel, registration and accommodation for the 2015 Fall Meeting. Congratulations Carlos!


proteges with owlie skywarnProtégés Steven Naegele, Ryan Adams, Arianna Varuolo-Clarke and Carlos Martinez with the National Weather Service's Owlie Skywarn at AMS



Ten proteges, three SOARS academy participants, numerous alumni, mentors and SOARS staff ensured that SOARS was well represented at the AMS Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona in early January. In addition to the many excellent science presentations, SOARS volunteered at the AMS weatherfest and attended a wide range of career-focused sessions. Congratulations to SOARS alum Rosimar Rios-Berrios, who did a fantastic job as an organizer of the well-attended and highly rated student conference.



Conference Presentations


Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS), 2012 National Conference, Los Angeles, CA, October 2014


Oral Presentations (current proteges)

Eugene Cody: "Three-Dimensional Variation of Atmospheric CO2: A Comparison of Aircraft Measurements With Inverse Model Simulations"

Steven Naegele: “Sensitivity of a Simulated Squall Line to the Microphysical Representation of Graupel”

Eliza Nobles: "Developing Optimal Transport and Dispersion Climatologies for Nuclear Deposition Mapping"

Carlos Martinez: “North Atlantic Atmospheric Blocking and Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation within CESM1 Large Ensemble Simulations”

Meghan Mitchell: “Determining the Effectiveness of the WRF Model's Wind Direction Forecasts for a Central Iowa Wind Farm”

AGU Fall Meeting, San Francisco, CA, December 2014

Oral Presentations (current proteges)

Sarah Al-Momar: “Examining In-Cloud Convective Turbulence in Relation to Total Lightning and the 3D Wind Field of Severe Thunderstorms”

Poster Presentations (current proteges)

Ryan Adams: “Understanding the 2013 Boulder Flood: Assessing Extreme Precipitation Events and Future Climates in the Community Earth System Model (CESM)”

Gaby De La Cruz Tello: “The Effect of Changes in the Hadley Circulation on Oceanic Oxygen Minimum Zones”

Erin Dougherty: “Observations of Wind Asymmetries in Atlantic Tropical Cyclones”

Arianna Varuolo-Clarke: “Investigating Climate Responses to Large Volcanic Eruptions in an Ensemble of Climate Model Simulations”

Staff Presentations

Rebecca Batchelor and Rebecca Haacker: “Tailoring Summer Research Experiences to Diverse Student Cohorts: Lessons Learned from Teaching Scientific Communication to Summer Interns” (Talk)

Rebecca Haacker: “Why They Stay – Retention Strategies for Students from Diverse Backgrounds in the Geosciences” (Talk)

Rebecca Haacker and Valerie Sloan “How to Run an Effective and Inclusive REU Program”

Rebecca Haacker and Valerie Sloan: “Evaluating the Impact of Internships - Longitudinal Participant Tracking in the SOARS Program” (Poster)

Pranoti Asher, Bethan Holm Adamec, Harry Furukawa, Aisha Morris, Rebecca Haacker, Marlene Kaplan, Gary Lewis, Elsa Velasco, James Brey: “Tools to Broaden Participation in the Earth and Space Sciences through Geolead (Geoscience Learning, Engagement And Development)” (Poster)

Suzanne Anderson, Anne Gold, Lesley Smith, Rebecca Batchelor, Barbara Monday: “Attracting Students Into Science: Insights From a Summer Research Internship Program for Community College Students in Colorado” (Poster)

Valerie Sloan, Rebecca Haacker and Rebecca Batchelor: “Supporting REU Leaders and Effective Workforce Development in the Geosciences” (Talk)

AMS Annual Meeting, Phoenix, AZ, 2015


Oral Presentations (current proteges)

Sarah Al-Momar: “Examining in-cloud convective turbulence in relation to total lightning and the 3D wind field of severe thunderstorms”

Poster Presentations (current proteges)

Ryan Adams: “Understanding the 2013 Boulder Flood: Assessing Extreme Precipitation Events and Future Climates in the Community Earth System Model (CESM)”

Alicia Camacho:“Identifying Long-range Sources of Ozone Utilizing an Adjoint Method”

Gaby De La Cruz Tello: “The effect of changes in the Hadley circulation on oxygen minimum zones in the ocean”

Erin Dougherty: “Observations of Wind Asymmetries in Atlantic Tropical Cyclones”

William Evonosky, James Layne, Rosa Vargas Martes (SOARS Academy): “Analysis of Radar-Derived Cloud Reflectivity from a Low Pressure System in June over Boulder, Colorado” Poster

Steven Naegele: “Sensitivity of a Simulated Squall Line to the Microphysical Representation of Graupel”

Carlos Martinez: “North Atlantic Atmospheric Blocking and Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation within CESM1 Large Ensemble Simulations”

Meghan Mitchell: “Determining the Effectiveness of the WRF Model's Wind Direction Forecasts for a Central Iowa Wind Farm”

Anthony Torres: “Using the Mesoscale Model Evaluation Testbed (MMET) to test physic options in the Weather Research & Forecasting (WRF) model”

Arianna Varuolo-Clarke: “Investigating climate responses to large volcanic eruptions in an ensemble of climate model simulations”

Staff Presentations

Rebecca Haacker: “Shaping your Future: Maneuvering the Job Market: Professional Development for the Career Track” (Talk)

Rebecca Haacker: “How to balance your work and personal life” (Talk)

Rebecca Haacker: “Developing Summer Research Experiences for all Academic Levels: From High School to Four- Year Colleges” (Talk)

Valerie Sloan: “Enhancing Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REUs) in the Atmospheric Sciences” (Talk)


Reminder! SOARS is Still accepting applications for summer 2015


UCAR’s Significant Opportunities in Atmospheric Research and Science (SOARS) is an undergraduate-to-graduate bridge program for students interested in the atmospheric and related sciences. It provides up to four years of paid summer research experience, strong mentoring, community support, and funding for conferences, undergraduate and graduate education. SOARS participants spend the summer in Boulder at NCAR and partnering laboratories on projects matched to their interests and skills.

SOARS invites students from many disciplines, including meteorology, chemistry, physics, engineering, mathematics, ecology, and the social sciences. In particular, SOARS seeks to involve students from groups that are historically underrepresented in the sciences, including those who are black or African-American, American Indian or Alaska Native, Hispanic or Latino, female, first-generation college students, and students with disabilities. SOARS welcomes lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students; students who have experienced, and worked to overcome, educational or economic disadvantage; and students who have personal or family circumstances that may complicate their continued progress in research careers.

Application deadline: 1 February 2015
Contact: Laura Allen, UCAR/SOARS
To apply:

Please help us spread the word!