152 A Rapidly Expanding Summer Weather Camp Program (and more) That Opens Doors to CAREERs in Meteorology

Monday, 7 January 2013
Exhibit Hall 3 (Austin Convention Center)
H. Michael Mogil, CCM, CBM Mogil, How The Weatherworks, Naples, FL; and B. G. Levine and D. V. Morris

During the past 11 years (2002-2012), 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), Jackson State University (Jackson, MS and the University of Texas – El Paso (El Paso, TX) also working within the NCAS framework, have been part of the effort. Similar, affiliated, summer camps middle and/or high school) have been held at City University of New York (New York City, NY), North Carolina A & T (Greensboro, NC), the University of Nebraska – Lincoln, Arizona State University, The Weather Museum (Houston, TX), the Miami Science Center and the University of Oklahoma. Hundreds of students have passed through the doors of these camps and many have already started upon careers in meteorology or begun the pathway to doing so.

At the writing of this abstract, we have requests to help jump-start camps at four additional sites in the U.S.; several oversea sites 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 are free or low cost and 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 stations and private sector sites, as well as having speakers from these sites visit various weather camps. In 2009, the Howard Weather Camp started to more intensely screen campers to ensure they had a strong 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 a wide array of topics for the campers, including 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, camp faculty and guests. At the University of Texas – El Paso, high school attendees (part of the Upward Bound program) also present PowerPoints; at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln, middle school campers present posters.

Other campsites have begun building on the CAREERS framework and have included visits to tornado damage sites, ocean research vessels, beaches and other weather/ oceanographic settings, as opportunities arise.

Finally, to ensure that the camps are only an end of the beginning, not an end unto themselves, we work hard to foster after camp experiences. In past years, this has included internships, mentoring, involvement in Foot's Forecast, attendance at various AMS/NWA Conferences and even community outreach/engagement. On several occasions, camper graduates have participated at local/national Weatherfests and even the National USA Science and Engineering Festival.

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 to help publicize the camps in your school, school system and state science teacher association to ensure that prospective campers on a national scale know about what we are doing.

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