Goal 3, Cultivate a scientifically literate and engaged citizenry and a diverse and creative workforce
Priority: Engaging a Broader and More Diverse Community in the Atmospheric and Geosciences
EOL recognizes that the overall health of our institution lay in ensuring that those with aptitude and determination have opportunities in the atmospheric science and engineering disciplines, and that they are welcomed and nurtured, regardless of gender, ethnic background, nationality, or physical ability. EOL addresses this NCAR strategic priority in a number of ways, including our highly successful Student Engineering program, now in its ninth year, our hiring practices, our EOL Women's Professional Development Group and our Education and Outreach efforts that reach the general public..
Undergraduate Engineering Internships
2008 was a record year in terms of applicants for EOL’s Summer Undergraduate Engineering program, which focuses EOL’s outreach efforts on the engineering community in a manner analogous to what UCAR/NCAR currently does for young scientists.
EOL received resumes from mechanical, electrical and computer, aerospace, optical, environmental, chemical, and industrial engineering students. A total of 200 applications were received, the most applications ever received for any position at UCAR.
Three interns were hired and worked with EOL engineers during the summer of 2008: Prerna Bang is an electrical engineering student from the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, and Andrew Leung is an electrical engineering student, from the University of Colorado, Boulder. Both worked with Eric Lowe in EOL's Research Aviation Facility on a synchro to digital converter for an antenna controller. Rose-Gaëlle Belinga is an electrical and computer engineering student from the Auburn University in Alabama. Rose will be working with Charlie Martin in the Computer, Data and Software Facility on upgrading and documenting the Atmospheric Sounding Processing Environment (Aspen) software which is used for analysis and quality control (QC) of sounding data. Continuation of the undergraduate intern program will be a priority in FY09 and 10.
Girl Scout Science Program
In May, EOL scientist Kate Young participated in the "Climate and Weather: The Two Go Together" event at the NCAR Mesa Lab. This yearly event allows girls from the Girl Scouts Colorado to spend one day at NCAR learning about weather and climate, participating in hands-on activities and interacting with female scientists. Kate launched a weather balloon and taught the girls about weather and data.
Diversity in EOL Hiring Process
EOL emphasizes the inclusion of diversity in its hiring practices and follows internal practices to ensure that a measurable and fair process is followed for every new hire. We have established checks and balances to ensure proper advertisement of new positions in order to solicit the widest variety of applicants. Hiring managers must complete a form outlining how and where the job was advertised, what effort was made to solicit applications from females and underrepresented minorities, and justification for final interview pool and hire. EOL firmly believes these efforts to ensure diversity within its ranks will strengthen our organization as a whole.
EOL Women’s Professional Development Group
The EOL Women's group continues to bring together women at all levels in the laboratory - mechanics, technicians, administrators, scientists, data managers, managers, etc., to provide a forum in which women can share experiences and discuss lab topics of mutual interest. Management is interested to foster this communication in order to work on making EOL a supportive place in which women professionals work.
Priority: Enhancing Scientific Education
EOL attaches a high value to Education and Outreach and currently infuses all EOL programs, whether in the laboratory or field with an E&O component. EOL encourages a general interest in earth science, and particularly tries to foster advanced understanding in the science and process of atmospheric research measurements. EOL accepts its responsibility to encourage the growth of the next generation of observational engineers and scientists, and continually seeks new ways to do this. 2008 saw the advent of a new way of making NSF/NCAR Observing Facilities to the community for educational purposes.
In October, EOL technician Tim Lim took the Mobile GPS Advanced Upper-air Sounding System (MGAUS) to Purdue University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to demonstrate the facility to students and faculty.
The idea for this project was born during the NSF Facilities Users' Workshop in September 2007. There was a request from the community for educational field trips to universities with various facilities to familiarize students with what EOL does, and Tim's trip to these two universities was the pilot for this developing educational program. The result? "Very successful," said Tim. "Lots of students showed up. The data the students collected during the demos were used in class for analysis only hours later."
The implications of such a program could be far-reaching. Some of the students at the demos told Tim they were taking instrumentation classes as an elective. "The opportunity to get their hands on a weather instrument and see how it is used and see how the data can be analyzed definitely made some of them more interested in studying atmospheric sciences." Tim also used the opportunity to drum up interest in the EOL Summer Undergraduate Engineering Program, which will ran its ninth year in 2008.
Requesting NSF Facilities for Education
With the excitement generated by the two university visits, EOL worked with NSF to develop a new request process for NSF facilities for educational tours. University educators wishing to gain access to observational facilities for classroom instruction and a hands-on learning experience may request the facility deployment to their school for a short period of time. Proposals are judged on criteria such as: actual educational activity, the planned use of date being collected, the number of students involved and the length and dates of the deployment. Submission of proposals by students are also being requested when they have faculty approval.
In FY2008 EOL received five facility proposals educational purposes. The first official deployment for educational purposes will be in November 2008 for the the DOW6 at the University of Nebraska. For two weeks students will benefit from hands-on experience to reinforce their lessons on radar basics.
Related Links or Images
EOL scientist Kate Young launches a balloon for "Climate and Weather: The Two Go Together" program with NCAR and Girl Scouts of Colorado. (more)
Requesting NSF Facilities for Education
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) coverage of the MGAUS balloon launches.
Movie of one of the launches at UIUC
In November 2008 the Doppler on Wheels will be deployed to the University of Nebraska for the first Educational Deployment. The professor will teach students radar fundamentals and will use the radar to give students hands-on experience.