Working Group 7: Diversity, Outreach, Mentoring, and Education

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Keon Gibson (SOARS), far right, operates a thermal infrared telescope that he developed for observing the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse.

The main goals of the the Diversity, Outreach, Mentoring, and Education or DOME working group, are to maintain a coordinated, effective, meaningful, and sustainable effort to educate and engage students, policymakers, and the general public in HAO science and to promote diversity and a culture of inclusiveness within HAO and throughout the broader atmospheric, solar, and space science community. To that purpose, every summer HAO participates in collaborative research mentoring opportunities that partner with the following community programs: A UCAR program called the Significant Opportunities In Atmospheric Research and Science or SOARS and two CU Boulder programs called the Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) and the Broadening Opportunity through Leadership and Diversity (BOLD). In addition, and with financial support from NSF, HAO hosts a very popular, hence competitive, two week class-room style educational experience called the Space Weather Summer School (SWSS). 25 to 30 national and international students are selected from a pool of applicants numbering in the hundreds.

Kenzie Nimmo, Kirsten McMichael, and Oliver Vierkens were REU students working at HAO this summer on solar corona and 3D solar dynamo simulations. Marcel Corchado-Albelo, a first year SOARS student, worked on diagnostics of solar flares and CMEs to identify space weather events, while Keon Gibson, a returning SOARS protégée, helped develop a thermal infrared telescope that measured the solar corona during the 2017 eclipse at Casper Mountain, Wyoming.

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Montage of students (Left to Right): Kenzie Nimmo, Kai Cui, Kirsten McMichael, Keon Gibson, Luong Vi, Fernando Chavez, Marcel Corchado-Albelo, Anihid Blaisdell, Oliver Vierkens, Alyssa Boll, Daniel Phelan, Diego Gomes.

In collaboration with the BOLD program at CU Boulder, HAO invites undergraduate engineers to intern, onsite, with members of our engineering staff. This summer, 2017, we hosted twelve summer interns; the group had diverse backgrounds and included several international ethnicities. These interns, by name and order of appearance in photo above, were Kenzie Nimmo, Kai Cui, Kirsten McMichael, Keon Gibson, Luong Vi, Fernando Chavez, Marcel Corchado-Albelo, Anihid Blaisdell, Oliver Vierkens, Alyssa Boll, Daniel Phelan, Diego Gomes. Their assigned projects spanned the whole range of HAO research from building telescopes, conducting numerical simulations, and analyzing observations. Specifically their efforts included a Community Spar White Paper, developing experiments for the 2017 total solar eclipse, advancing the Visible Spectropolarimeter (ViSP) instrument’s electrical integration, modeling of the calibration optics opto-mechanical station for the Chromospheric Magnetometer (ChroMag) and maturing the DIMS Cubesat software control system (designed to to measure total solar irradiance from a near-space environment). You can find their individual stories in a featured artical on the HAO website.

HAO scientists were heavily involved in the science and public outreach that highlighted this summer’s 2017 total solar eclipse. Talks were given at NCAR, the local public libraries and at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. These talks were aimed at educating teachers and students, youth organizations, and the general public (see UCAR Connect video interview with HAO scientist, Mark Miesch). HAO supported a well attended public viewing event at the NCAR Mesa Lab that featured a NASA live-stream total eclipse viewing and comfortable outdoor viewing areas for Colorado’s partial eclipse. Special viewing telescopes, educational materials, and HAO volunteers were available to enhance this public outreach experience. See "The Great American Eclipse" story.