2002 Annual

Monday, 14 January 2002
Strategies for Diversity: SOARS—A Case Study
Sarah A. Tessendorf, UCAR/SOARS and Colorado State Univ., Ft. Collins, CO; and T. L. Windham
Achieving the goal of a diverse, internationally competitive, and globally engaged workforce of scientists, engineers, and well prepared citizens calls for renewed educational goals and strategies. The Significant Opportunities in Atmospheric Research and Science (SOARS) program was created by UCAR in partnership with NSF to help meet this demand. In addition to NSF, SOARS sponsors include the U.S. Department of Energy's Environmental Sciences Division, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA's Office for Education and Public Outreach, NOAA's Office of Global Programs, the NOAA/University of Colorado Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, and the UCAR university community.

SOARS is dedicated to increasing the number of African American, American Indian, and Chicano/Hispanic/Latino students enrolled in graduate degree programs in the atmospheric and related sciences in order to increase ethnic diversity within the scientific community of the future. SOARS identifies, recruits, and provides students attending colleges/universities in the U.S. and Puerto Rico with multi-summer research experiences, year-round guidance, counseling, and mentoring, and up to two years of graduate school support.

Since its 1996 inception, 62 students (protégés) have participated in SOARS. Forty-two are current participants, nine are alumni and 11 have left the program. To date, 38 have completed bachelor's degrees in a science field, 17 are enrolled in atmospheric or related science graduate programs, three are AMS graduate fellows, nine have completed master's degree programs, and three are Ph.D. candidates. No protégé has left college/university without completing an undergraduate degree in science, mathematics or engineering. Six SOARS alumni are in the scientific workforce; three are enrolled in Ph.D. programs. This fall SOARS was recognized as a recipient of the 2001 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring.

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