92nd American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting (January 22-26, 2012)

Monday, 23 January 2012: 5:00 PM
A Rapidly Expanding Summer Weather Camp Program That Opens Doors to CAREERs in Meteorology
Room 348/349 (New Orleans Convention Center )
H. Michael Mogil, How The Weatherworks, Naples, FL; and B. G. Levine and V. R. Morris

During the past 10 years (2002-2011), Howard University (Washington, DC), operating under the NCAS (NOAA Center for Atmospheric Sciences) umbrella has operated a summer weather camp for high school students interested in pursuing careers in atmospheric sciences. The University of Puerto Rico (Mayaguez, PR), also working within the NCAS framework, has been part of the effort. Similar summer camps middle and/or high school) have been held at Jackson State University (Jackson, MS), City University of New York (New York City, nY), North Carolina A & T (Greensboro, NC) and the University of Texas El Paso (El Paso, TX). More than 300 students have had an opportunity to experience meteorology in a university setting as this camp program has evolved.

New camps partnered with our consortium in 2011 (Arizona, Nebraska, Houston, Miami and Norman), linked to museums, science centers and/or universities. And other sites in the U.S. (e.g., Boston) and overseas have requested information about our program.

In 2010, Howard added a middle school camp to its suite of offerings and in 2011 prototyped a one-day upper elementary school camp.

Most camps to date (free or low cost) have primarily focused on introducing students to the physical, dynamical and forecasting aspects of research and operational meteorology. This has included visits to NOAA, TV and private sector sites, as well as having speakers from these sites visit various weather camps. Some presentations (primarily with NOAA's National Hurricane Center) have been shared via teleconferencing, allowing students in Puerto Rico, New York City and Washington, DC a chance to interact at the same time with hurricane forecasters. In 2009, the Howard Weather Camp started to more intensely screen campers to ensure they had an interest in meteorology as a career and to focus on CAREERs (Channeling Atmospheric Research into Educational Experiences Reaching Students) as a main focus of its camp.

This is because the Howard University camp is at the hub of the Nation's weather service community. And, in recent years, the emphasis of its program has expanded to add a significantly greater focus on societal impacts and exposure to other disciplines and/or industries that use weather. On a routine basis, Noblis, a private sector company located in the nearby Virginia suburbs, offers a full-day program within the camp structure that has addressed highway weather, new requirements for radar algorithms and storm surge forecasting. Starting in 2008, speakers at the Howard weather camp also included a private sector company that specialized in meteorological and oceanographic forecasting for yacht races and the USDA's Forest Service (fire weather). Recent additions included commodities trading, storm chasing, space weather, college planning and other topics.

Campers also received corporate style training in team building and communications. Campers have been required to research various topics and present PowerPoint programs with an audience of campers, parents and camp faculty.

Other campsites have begun building in the CAREERS framework and have included visits to tornado damage sites, ocean research vessels, beaches and other weather settings.

This presentation will showcase the various aspects of these programs and how they fit into the overall, rapidly evolving national CAREERS camp program. But, we also need your involvement as participants where camps exist, as motivators where camps do not, and always as publicists to ensure that prospective campers know about what we are doing.

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