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Week 2 Newsletter: June 11-15, 2018

RECCS is a 9-week summer student research program for Colorado community college students funded by the National Science Foundation and coordinated by CIRES Education Outreach and the Boulder Creek Critical Zone Observatory.

For recent RECCS happenings, check out the RECCS blog.

RECCS Science Communication Training Begins!

Former RECCS mentor, Jenny Briggs from the CU Office for Outreach and Engagement, an expert in science communication, kicked off the weekly RECCS science communication trainings. For the brownbag meeting, Lesley Smith worked with students through hands-on career advice and discussed her career and experience as a RECCS co-founder.

RECCS Student Researcher Spotlight

This week our featured RECCS student researcher is Prudence Crawmer. She is mentored by CIRES research scientists Rick Saltus and Manoj Nair who are part of the Geomagnetism team with the NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) based in Boulder, Colorado.
Prudence Crawmer

Research Project: Collecting Geomagnetic Data to Help Improve Navigation

Prudence (Pru) Crawmer is originally from the beautiful Green Mountain State of Vermont. She loves to hike, bike, trail run, cook, travel, scuba dive, and enjoy life. She moved to Colorado seven years ago, where she started an independent massage therapy practice in Colorado Springs.
Pru is currently enrolled at Pikes Peak Community College to earn an Associate of Arts degree in Geography. She then plans on attending the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs (UCCS) where she will receive her bachelor's degree in Geography and Environmental Studies. Her dream is to work outside in the science field and to learn more about nature and sustainability. 

Pru is excited about being surrounded by top scientists at NOAA and learning about other research topics. She also enjoys her NOAA team lunches and having another RECCS student, Kelly Sullivan, just next door.

What's up with CrowdMag?

Pru Crawmer and her mentor, Rick Saltus, (above) are reading measurements of the geomagnetic data field using the CrowdMag phone app.

Pru's project focuses on collecting crowdsourced geomagnetic data through the use of smartphones as part of a NOAA projectCrowdMag. Her research will improve the measurement of the geomagnetic field on a global scale and benefit technologies such as GPS that rely on accurate geomagnetic information.
Pru demonstrating the CrowdMag phone app. People can download the CrowdMag app onto their smartphones and participate in a crowdsourcing data campaign to contribute geomagnetic data to NOAA's GeoMag team. 

Goals of CrowdMag:
1) Create models of Earth's time changing magnetic field by combining crowdsourced magnetic data with data collected by ships, aircrafts and satellites.
2) Map local magnetic noise sources (e.g. power transformers and iron pipes) to improve accuracy of the magnetic navigation systems.
Map view of the CrowdMag App. The orange/red dots indicate higher amounts of magnetic flux density in units of nanotesla (nT) which could interfere with GPS navigation systems. Once these data are collected, they are used by Pru and others on the CrowdMag team to create charts of local magnetic noise sources.

Communication Workshop Update

During the Wednesday half-day communication workshop with Jenny Briggs, the students learned more about the scientific research method and about creating and delivering poster and presentations. The students evaluated several scientific posters to determine the best strategies for creating a poster.  
The students discussed forms of informal science communication and how the students might describe their research to someone who asks what we're doing this summer—an elevator speech. This one-minute, layperson-friendly overview of their research is something that everyone finds handy to have in hand. We are excited to hear what everyone is working on during our next workshop!

Student Tips

  • Create and use a system to keep on top of work deadlines.
  • Set up weekly mentor check-ins to stay on track.
  • If you have any questions, ask for support.

Student Deadlines

  • Watch three sample elevator speeches from former RECCS students.
  • Prepare and practice your own 1-minute elevator speech.
  • Submit draft elevator speech write-up to your Google Drive folder.

Mentor Tips

  • In preparation for their elevator speeches, you may find yourself having some discussions with your student about the broader field your research fits within and the motivation behind what you’re doing. If you can, please listen to your student's talk (it only takes a minute!) and help them out if they haven’t really grasped what their research is all about.
  • Also remember that the first couple of weeks in RECCS can be a bit overwhelming. It may be helpful to connect with your student researcher and see how they are adjusting to working in Boulder, in RECCS, and in a scientific workplace. Independent research is very different from college work!
Copyright © 2018 CIRES Education Outreach, All rights reserved.

RECCS is funded by the National Science Foundation Grant Award Number 1461281

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