Undergraduate Development Programs (BRIDGE, ULW, HERS)

NCAR Undergraduate Leadership Workshop

This five-day immersion experience at NCAR in Boulder, CO, gives college students a chance to explore careers in the atmospheric sciences, bond with peers from around the nation, and develop their leadership potential. Scientific areas of focus include weather, forecasting, climate modeling, solar dynamics, and societal impacts of severe weather and climate change. The leadership components of the workshop focuses on characteristics of good leadership, and guides students through understanding how our own strengths are different and often complementary from those of others, and how to embrace our own strengths and the power of bringing people with different perspectives together.

Long-term program outcomes for participants have included: 1) the development of a long-term and close professional network of peers, 2) a sense of belonging to a group of students with similar interests, 3) a raised awareness of the wide range of career paths in the atmospheric sciences, and 4) an increase in interest in pursuing a STEM graduate degree or career.

Group photo of the 2018 ULW

Group photo of the ULW participants.


During the HERS at NCAR program, about fifteen students from Haskell Environmental Research Studies spent one week based at NCAR learning how to do collect data and analyze it, with students focusing on one of three topics: water quality in the Boulder watershed, measuring stream discharge in Boulder Creek, and surveying Boulder citizens on risk perception around flooding in relation to the storm and flood of 2013. The students presented their team projects at the end of the week for interns from other programs at NCAR, including SOARS.

Haskell Environmental Research Studies students collecting data

HERS students gathering data.

Bridge to the Geosciences Program

For ten days each summer, 20 community college students from Citrus College in southern California come to NCAR and dive into a research project on the Boulder storm and flood of 2013. These STEM students are immersed in measuring stream-flow and atmospheric conditions, and are challenged to do a team research project on this staggering and historical storm and flood. It is this experience woven into a year-long program that gives students the opportunity to explore the geosciences and the exciting opportunities that they hold for all STEM majors.

NCAR partners with the lead institution, Citrus Community College, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), the Wrigley Marine Institute Laboratory on Catalina Island, and the Oak Crest Institute of Science in this effort. At NCAR, the Students identify a research question, plot and analyze data from the 2013 storm and flood records, and  present results to a scientific audience in what is their first experience of doing original research.

Seventy percent of the students are Hispanic American, with another twenty percent being from other groups that are underrepresented in science, including African American, Asian American, and Pacific Islanders. About 95% have been from low socioeconomic situations. Students hail from a wide range of scientific disciplines, including biology, physics, math, computer science, forestry, and engineering. Our goal is to expose them to the dynamic, necessary work in the geosciences, and to draw them into these educational paths.

Bridge students in Boulder

Bridge to the Geosciences Program students