Director's Message

Welcome to the 2019 Annual Report of NCAR Education and Outreach and the Advanced Study Program. This report highlights our program’s accomplishments in 2019.


NCAR Education and Outreach had another exciting and successful year. Aligned with the NCAR E&O Strategic Plan, we hosted several student programs aimed at broadening participation and preparing the next generation of Earth system scientists.

For a second year, NCAR hosted the Haskell-NCAR Environmental Assessment Training, a one-week summer program created through a partnership among Haskell Indian Nations University and the University of Kansas, dedicated to engaging Native American students in the geosciences. The Undergraduate Leadership Workshop gave 25 undergraduate students a chance to explore careers in the atmospheric sciences and develop their leadership potential. During the week-long program, the students formed groups and analyzed ASOS data from the 2019 comb cyclone that affected Colorado and Kansas, and presented their results to their peers. The students also constructed a weather tower at NCAR’s Marshall Field instrumentation site and spent an afternoon participating in hydrology field work.

The popular NCAR Explorer Lecture Series continues to engage the public locally and reaches many more via live webcast and archived lectures on YouTube. We now have a full suite of short videos with our Explorer Series lecturers to further engage the public as well as videos featuring several NCAR supported field campaigns. We completed the NCAR Traveling Climate Exhibit and displayed it at the Boulder Public Library.

ASP 2019

The Advanced Study Program manages opportunities for educational and professional development for graduate students, postdocs and early career scientists and engineers, and research sabbaticals for faculty. ASP provides early career researchers and engineers access to NCAR’s world-class research, engineering and computing facilities with the goal of promoting the advancement of science and innovation, especially in emerging areas of the geosciences. The two-year ASP Postdoctoral Fellowships aim to further the development of early career scientists in the field of atmospheric and related sciences through their collaboration with NCAR scientists and research programs. Fellows research advances are reported separately in the NCAR Laboratory Annual Reports. Through its other components, the Graduate Visitor Program (GVP) and Colloquia, ASP promotes research activities, fosters graduate education, and develops partnerships between NCAR scientists and their colleagues in universities and other institutions.

The postdoctoral program continues to be the flagship program of the ASP. We awarded 13 new postdoctoral fellowships in Spring 2019. These new fellows have already arrived and are participating in ASP activities and NCAR research and development work. FY19 saw significant expansion of the professional development service for postdocs and graduate students. The ASP-led NCAR Fellows Association hosts regular seminars professional development and career advice, including a one-day postdoc retreat each fall that covers topics such as time management and career planning. Between the Faculty Fellowship Program and the Graduate Student Visitor Program, the ASP supported over 110 months of long-term visits to NCAR in FY19. Most of the GVP awards include an advisor visit to collaborate with the graduate student and hosting NCAR staff. We welcomed 26 graduate students from 22  universities in 2019 . Graduate students received career planning support through ASP led seminars and workshops and in individual counseling meetings with the ASP Director.   In 2019, we also scheduled a one-day leadership workshop for undergraduate and graduate students at NCAR that was well received. Hikes and social meetings round out the summer experience for them.

In FY2019, ASP hosted a Colloquia that served 25 students from 9 institutions entitled “Quantifying and communicating uncertainty in high-impact weather prediction.”

Colloquia provide a great way to collaborate with our university partners in enhancing and complementing academic training and preparing the next generation of talented scientists and engineers.

In 2019 we launched a large new initiative called The Early Career Faculty Innovators Program. The program brings together NCAR scientists and faculty with expertise building on NCAR’s expertise in interdisciplinary research projects. While the Innovators Program is a way to engage researchers from many disciplines, it is specifically targeted toward social sciences and human dimensions researchers, with the inclusion of early-career faculty from minority serving institutions being a key objective of the program.


FY 20 will be a busy year for NCAR E&O and ASP!

We look forward to welcoming the faculty and graduate students of the Early Career Innovator Program back for a second summer and hosting an interdisciplinary PI workshop focused on “coastal regions and human settlements”.

Now that we have created the NCAR Traveling Climate Exhibit we will send it to several local museums, libraries and university partners, and will collect local community stories about climate impacts and adaptation as it travels.

ASP will continue to engage and develop the scientific workforce of the future through its core visitor and fellowship programs. We will continue to provide community building and career development elements of the ASP that will be accessible to all graduate students and postdoctoral fellows at NCAR. Annual retreats and monthly career development seminars, teas, training opportunities in leadership, time management and supervisory skills, and ongoing mentoring services support our graduate students and postdocs to take leadership roles in the community upon leaving ASP.


Rebecca Haacker
Director of Education & Outreach and ASP