Students spend summer with NOAA

Eight undergraduate students from across the country are spending their summer working alongside National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration researchers and forecasters in Norman as part of the Hollings Scholarship Program and the Educational Partnership Program. Six students are working at the NOAA National Severe Storms Laboratory and two are at the NOAA Storm Prediction Center. During their internships, the students are working on projects related to hydrology, severe weather climatology, weather forecasting and radar.

Hollings students:
Darren Clabo, University of Oklahoma
Amanda Kis, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Craig Schwartz, Penn State University
Owen Shieh, Cornell University
Karyn Snider, North Carolina State University
Lindsay Tardif, Plymouth State University

EPP students:
Markeitta Benjamin, Jackson State University
Soralis Pimental, University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez

Hollings Scholarship Program
Nationally, the Hollings Scholarship Program involves students from colleges and universities in 36 states and Puerto Rico. The program, named after former Senator Ernest F. Hollings of South Carolina, a strong supporter of science education, began in 2005 with the summer internship assignments starting this summer.

The internship program began May 30 and ends the first week of August with a series of workshops in Silver Spring, Md. The 110 students are engaged in a wide variety of projects, including conducting fisheries surveys, engineering remotely operated underwater vehicles, studying the carbon flux in marine waters, forecasting seabreeze and lightning, monitoring tornado processes, analyzing storm data, identifying acoustic signatures of marine mammals, evaluating sea bass habitat, and participating in studies of the Antarctic climate.

“These scholarships provide the hands-on training and experience to encourage undergraduates to pursue study in the NOAA fields, such as atmospheric or oceanic science, research and technology,” said Louisa Koch, director of the NOAA Office of Education, which funds the $3.9 million program. “We are very pleased with the quality and the quantity of scholarship recipients in this first year.”

The NOAA Hollings scholarship program is designed to increase undergraduate training in oceanic and atmospheric science, research, technology, and education and foster multidisciplinary training opportunities; to increase public understanding and support for stewardship of the ocean and atmosphere and improve environmental literacy; to recruit and prepare students for public service careers with NOAA and other natural resource and science agencies at the federal, state and local levels of government; and to recruit and prepare students for careers as teachers and educators in oceanic and atmospheric science and to improve scientific and environmental education in the United States.

Scholarship students are eligible for up to $8,000 of academic assistance per year for full-time study during the junior and senior years, a 10-week, paid ($650/week) internship during the intervening summer, housing subsidy during the internship, round-trip travel to the internship site and travel expenses to the Hollings scholarship program conference in Silver Spring.

To be eligible, students must be U.S. citizens, a full-time junior in an accredited college or university within the United States or U.S. Territories, hold a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 (based on a 4.0 scale) in all completed undergraduate courses, and major in a discipline area related to oceanic and atmospheric science, research, technology, or education, and supportive of the purposes of NOAA’s programs and mission (biological, social and physical sciences; mathematics; engineering; computer and information sciences; or teacher education).

Educational Partnership Program
Established in 2001, NOAA’s Educational Partnership Program provides financial assistance through competitive processes to minority serving institutions that support research and training of students in NOAA-related sciences. The program’s goal is to increase the number of students who are trained and graduate in sciences directly related to NOAA’s mission.

The Educational Partnership Program with Minority Serving Institutions also seeks to increase collaborative research efforts between NOAA scientists and researchers at minority serving academic institutions. Financial assistance is provided through four competitive program components: the Cooperative Science Centers, the Environmental Entrepreneurship Program, the Graduate Sciences Program, and the Undergraduate Scholarship Program.

In 2007, NOAA, an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department, celebrates 200 years of science and service to the nation. From the establishment of the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey in 1807 by Thomas Jefferson to the formation of the Weather Bureau and the Bureau of Commercial Fisheries in the 1870s, much of America’s scientific heritage is rooted in NOAA.

NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and information service delivery for transportation, and by providing environmental stewardship of the nation’s coastal and marine resources. Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), NOAA is working with its federal partners and more than 60 countries to develop a global monitoring network that is as integrated as the planet it observes.

On the web:
NOAA Ernest F. Hollings Undergraduate Scholarship Program: http://www.oesd.noaa.gov/Hollings_info.html
NOAA National Severe Storms Laboratory: http://www.nssl.noaa.gov
NOAA Storm Prediction Center: http://www.spc.noaa.gov