Identifying and supporting leadership in undergraduate students

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Monday, 3 February 2014
Hall C3 (The Georgia World Congress Center )
Tim Barnes, UCAR, Boulder, CO; and R. Haacker-Santos

The need for professionally trained atmospheric research scientists is growing, as much as the need for innovative leaders who can apply their scientific expertise to address pressing societal problems caused by extreme weather and changing climate conditions. One of the challenges for our small atmospheric science field is to recruit undergraduate students from STEM fields to enter and succeed in graduate school, and to guide them into the scientific workforce of tomorrow. This involves identifying and supporting those who also who possess an aptitude for leadership and will lead future research efforts, guide teams and explore the new frontiers of atmospheric science. The Undergraduate Leadership Workshop (ULW) is a one week intensive training, held every summer at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, in Boulder, CO. Annually, we invite the 100+ member institutions of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research to nominate a junior-level student from their meteorology or atmospheric science department to attend the ULW and to learn, first-hand, about life as a researcher. The students meet with leading scientists and engineers, discuss leadership in seminar format and have candid conversations with researchers in formal leadership positions. Since the program's inception in 2000, the cohorts of 20 students each have created a lasting networking group; and synergistically support each other through personal and academic growth. Alumni of the ULW share leadership concepts with their peers back at their home institutions. Empowering very early career scientists, who are identifiable as leaders to their peers and advisors, with a richer understanding of their future profession has a multiplier effect on retaining young minds in the atmospheric sciences. This presentation will discuss findings on how to identify and support future scientific leaders, and share program content and resources developed over the last twelve years.