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Enhancing The Scientific Community

SOARS, Significant Opportunities in Atmospheric Research and Science, is an undergraduate-to-graduate bridge program designed to broaden participation in the atmospheric and related sciences. The program is built around research, mentoring and community. SOARS participants, called protégés, spend up to four summers doing research in atmospheric and related sciences. SOARS offers comprehensive financial support for summer research, as well as undergraduate and graduate school funding. Over 90% of SOARS protégés have gone onto graduate school, and many have entered the workforce with a MS or gone on for their PhD.

Atmospheric Science includes research ranging from processes that are as small as how individual water molecules condense on dust and pollutants suspended in the air to examining how solar flares 2.5 times larger than the earth itself influence the upper atmosphere of the entire planet. Some of the exciting areas of research in our science include understanding a rapidly changing climate and its impact on the Earth and its inhabitants; severe weather events like hurricanes, tornadoes and floods; and the changing chemical composition of the atmosphere.

SOARS invites students from many disciplines--including meteorology, chemistry, physics, engineering, mathematics, ecology, and the social sciences--to apply their expertise to understanding the Earth’s Atmosphere. In particular, SOARS seeks to involve students from groups that are historically under-represented in the sciences, including 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/or have personal or family circumstances that may complicate their continued progress in research careers.


The 10-week summer program typically starts at the end of May and continues through mid-August. SOARS protégés spend up to four summers in the program.


SOARS Protégés work 40 hours a week and earn a competitive wage, which increases with each year of participation.

Housing and Transportation

Furnished apartments are provided at no cost to protégés. Round-trip airfare is provided to summer working locations from anywhere within the United States and Puerto Rico. Protégés receive a regional bus pass that meets local transportation needs.

Research and Writing

Protégés spend their first summer at NCAR or partnering labs, such as NOAA, in Boulder, Colorado. They participate in real research projects and take part in an eight-week scientific writing and communication workshop. Throughout the summer, protégés participate in seminars with peers and scientists, get mentored by scientists and professionals, explore career options, and learn about how to apply to and succeed in graduate programs. At the end of each summer, protégés present their research in a formal setting.

Conferences and School Funding

Protégés are funded to attend national scientific conferences to present their summer research. Successful protégés are also eligible to receive funding for undergraduate and graduate education.