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June 10, 2016 - Week 2 Newsletter

RECCS is a 9-week summer student research program in critical zone science 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 the most recent RECCS happenings, check out our blog.

NOAA-ing it all!

This week, the RECCS cohort had the opportunity to learn about NOAA's wide range of research and meet the people who conduct its cutting-edge work. Michael Mueller, a research scientist with the Physical Sciences Division, led the tour and started off with an overview of NOAA. The first stop was to meet Imtiaz Rangwala, NOAA research scientist and RECCS mentor, and see a presentation on how his team's work connects climate science research with making policy decisions. The next stop was the Space Weather Prediction Center where David Marshall explained how they monitor solar activity and forecast space weather 24-7-365. It was then off to the National Weather Service where Nezette Rydell, Meteorologist in Charge, explained the science and nuances of predicting weather on Earth. Finally, the tour wrapped up with a "very cool" Science On a Sphere presentation by science educator Hilary Peddicord. When leaving NOAA, it was overheard that some of the students "would love to work here"!

Above photo: Michael Mueller (far right) led a combined group of RECCS student researchers and GeoLaunchpad interns on a tour of the NOAA David Skaggs Research Center in Boulder, CO.

David Marshall of the Space Weather Prediction Center explains how forecasters provide space weather alerts and warnings to the nation and the world; space weather can affect people and equipment working in space and on Earth.
Hilary Peddicord lights up Science On a Sphere, NOAA's global data display system, to help illustrate Earth system science for the group of visiting student researchers and interns.

RECCS Student Researcher Spotlight

This week our featured RECCS student researchers are Jesse Barber and Randall Rouse. Jesse and Randall are teamed up with mentor Theo Barnhart a PhD Candidate in Geography working at INSTAAR at the University of Colorado Boulder.

Photo below: Randall (left) measuring tree height while Jesse (right) uses a GPS to record site information.
Jesse Barber
Watch Jesse's elevator speech!

Research Project: Assessing Trends in Forest Type and Diversity in the Boulder Creek Watershed

Jesse was born and raised in Missouri. He served four years in the United States Marine Corps. After serving in the military, Jesse moved to Florida and returned to school where he received an associates degree in Golf Complex Operations and Management. He then worked in Mississippi for three years as an Assistant Golf Professional before moving to Bailey, Colorado.

Once in Colorado, Jesse attended Red Rocks Community College and this past May he graduated with an A.A. in Geography. Jesse plans to attend CU Denver and earn a B.A. in Environmental Studies. He would like to pursue a career in ecological restoration or possibly get a Master’s Degree and teach.

Randall Rouse
Watch Randall's elevator speech!

Research Project: Assessing Trends in Forest Type and Diversity in the Boulder Creek Watershed

Randall is a transplant from Georgia currently living in Denver. He really enjoys music, traveling, and being outsidehiking, camping, gardening, taking photos, and adventuring with friends. He is open to experiencing anything new when the opportunity arises.

Randall currently attends Community College of Denver and will complete his associate’s degree this fall. He plans to pursue a Bachelor’s Degree in Ecological Restoration at Metropolitan State University.  Randall says, “I adore our planet and hope to make a positive impact!”
The goal of their research project is to help scientists better understand what controls forest type and density in the Boulder Creek watershed. In this photo, Randall is marking a tree to use the range finder.
Students involved in this project will spend time in the field identifying tree species in research plots as well as measuring tree metrics such as height, diameter, and leaf area (LAI). Here, Jesse (left) and his mentor Theo (right) are recording GPS data.

Intern 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

Intern Deadlines

This week's homework assignment is to read a sample paper (Anderson et al, 2015) in preparation for next week's communication workshop discussion of scientific papers; also develop a title for your research project.

Communication Workshop Update

In this week's scientific communication workshop the interns shared their elevator speeches. They were very impressive—it's hard to believe they've only been at it for a week! Everyone was calm and confident and did a great job explaining their projects at a level we could all understand.  After hearing all the fun things everyone is doing, we talked about professional conduct and shared thoughts on communicating with our mentors, receiving feedback, planning our research, and keeping good records. Finally, we had a fun storytelling activity where small teams of students invented a research project, created a scientific poster for it, and presented it back to the group—all in less than half an hour! It was great fun to learn about the exciting creatures who live in the deep sea, hear about the increasing frequency of black holes and the strange link with the rare Chupacabra monster who lives on Mercury, discover the glucose content of Martian Moss, share insights into the social lives of dolphins, and discover that the secret to world peace lies within a deep-sea unicorn! Thank you to all the interns for being so creative and engaged—I am very much looking forward to hearing more about what you really research this summer!  

Mentor Tips

  • Set up a work plan with your student researcher for the summer, setting some milestones and deadlines, and including a plan for times when you are out on travel.
  • Check in often. Silence doesn't always mean everything is going smoothly! It can be useful to "drop in" and see if there are any questions.
Copyright © 2016 CIRES Education Outreach, All rights reserved.

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

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