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When it comes to conveying the excitement of a career in science to students, there is no substitute for direct interaction and involvement. Two years ago, the NCAR Earth Observing Laboratory (EOL), in collaboration with CLACE (Centro Latinoamericano para la Ciencia y Educacion) and its Nuestra Tierra Dinamica program, was awarded support from the NCAR Diversity Fund for “The NCAR Careers Diversity Project,” a series of activities designed to engage Latino and other K-12 students, and expose them to atmospheric research and related sciences.
The efforts were connected to EOL field projects and the education and outreach activities that take place during these field campaigns. Students from Boulder-area high schools were brought into these activities through hands-on science sessions, family nights, and CLACE Video Lab tools. Through these initiatives, the students learned about various Earth systems, the scientific research that addresses those systems, and a variety of related careers.
In addition, several students had the opportunity to interact with research scientists while learning basic concepts of atmospheric research through hands-on activities and seminars tailored to their level of education. Some students in the project were able to participate in a field campaign, while others had the opportunity to work as interns at EOL in the summer of 2013.
The following short documentaries were produced and can be found online:
• Loss of Biodiversity – Jennifer Aguilera
• Colorado Snow and Climate Change – Darian Valdez
• Climate Change Commentary – Oscar Contreras and Johnny Cortez
• I Have a Carbon Footprint – Vero Castro and Nancy Contreras
• Climate Change in our Community – Itzel Munoz and Gabriel Morales
• On Assignment – Lorena Arellano and Alma Garcia
• Community Perspectives on Climate Change – Diana Briones and Roxana Arellano
Activity PI Vidal Salazar also traveled to Durango, Mexico to give the keynote at the 2nd Fair on Science, Technology and Innovation on 10 April 2014. The fair, which is jointly organized by the government of the State of Durango and local high schools, is an annual event that promotes science and technology among Mexican students. The government seeks to inspire the next generation of Mexican scientists and engineers by inviting successful Mexican professionals to interact with students and promote STEM careers in their native communities. Vidal addressed 600 students, describing his work and how NSF observing facilities are deployed around the world in support of atmospheric research.