1. Rebecca Batchelor
  2. SOARS Program Director
  4. University Corporation for Atmospheric Research
  1. Lorena Medina Luna
  2. Education and Outreach Specialist
  4. University Corporation for Atmospheric Research


NSF Awards: 1641177

2018 (see original presentation & discussion)

Undergraduate, Graduate

SOARS: Broadening Participation in the Atmospheric Sciences

Extreme weather. Climate change. Air pollution. These are the challenges that help define the atmospheric sciences. They are challenges that disproportionately affect communities of color, tribal communities, and those without the economic means to adapt. Yet these communities are extremely underrepresented in the field, with only 8% of students earning PhDs in earth, atmospheric and oceanographic sciences coming from traditionally under-served groups. For twenty-two years, the Significant Opportunities in Atmospheric Research and Science (SOARS) program has been working with the university community to challenge these statistics, to increase the diversity of the atmospheric and related sciences, and to train leaders in our field who can answer the hard problems. Based at the National Center for Atmospheric Research and funded by NSF, NOAA and partner organizations, SOARS is an undergraduate to graduate bridge program that has succeeded in supporting students from underrepresented backgrounds to enter and succeed in graduate school and STEM careers. Our alumni are now represented in leadership positions in universities, government and in the private sector.  In this video we share the elements that the SOARS program is known for: its comprehensive mentoring model, supportive community, whole-student focus, and the genuine research opportunities that engage students in our field. We see the long term and multiplier effect that investing in a program over long time periods can provide and highlight the fact that no one program, intervention, or institution working in isolation can change the face of STEM – it takes a village.

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