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June 24, 2016 - Week 4 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.

RECCS Student Researcher Spotlight

This week, our featured RECCS student researcher is Brett Lindgren (far left). Brett is teamed up with mentor Dave Barnard (far right), Research Scientist for INSTAAR at the University of Colorado Boulder. Brett's research site is based at the Boulder Creek Critical Zone Observatory Gordon Gulch site where fellow RECCS interns Jesse Barber (second left) and Randall Rouse (second right) are also based.
Brett Lindgren
Watch Brett's elevator speech!

Research project: Solar radiation and the forest canopy

Originally from Modesto, California, Brett moved to Craig, Colorado when he was in 5th grade. Living in western Colorado, he enjoys hiking, camping, and tubing/kayaking down the Yampa River. Brett grew up playing sports including baseball and soccer but his favorite sport was ice hockey, which he played for nine years.

He graduated from Colorado Northwestern Community College in the spring of 2016 with an Associate of Sciences degree. After RECCS, Brett plans on moving to the Front Range to study atmospheric sciences at Colorado State University. His career goal after school is to find a job that he will actually enjoy doing and love going to everyday!
Brett plugging a photosynthetic active radiation (PAR) sensor into the data logger at Gordon Gulch, which is located about 20 miles west of Boulder, Colorado. The PAR sensors measure the amount of photons that are hitting the ground. A photon is a particle of light that provides plants with the energy to photosynthesize.
The PAR sensors that are shown here collect data on how much solar radiation is able to pass through the tree canopy and reach the ground.
Even the local moose passing through the site find Brett's research very interesting!

Intern Tips

  • Be safe! Ensure that you are not conducting field work alone. Arrange a phone check-in with your mentor(s) at the end of the day if you are doing solo field work.
  • When in the field, drink plenty of water to stay hydrated, wear a hat, and use sunscreen.
  • Connect with other interns for field work support and to broaden your internship experience.

Intern Deadlines

This week's homework is the methods section, to be submitted to Bec on June 27th.

Communication Workshop Update

In this week's communication workshop, we talked about methods sections, as well as how to give great presentations. We shared tips on public speaking and creating interesting talks. In addition, we reviewed our introductions and talked about note taking, ethical record keeping, and working in a research group. A fun communications activity had the interns drawing crazy shapes based only on their partner's descriptions and seeing the difference in communication required when partners could or could not ask questions; pointing out a parallel with different scientific communication methods. Everyone seems to be making great progress with their research and it's fun to see their posters starting to take shape.  Our next assignment is the methods section, to be submitted to Bec on June 27th.

Mentor Tips

  • Many of the interns are collecting their data right now. Remind them of field safety practices, if applicable. Encourage them to think about supporting information they may need to record and talk about ways to manage their data sets.
  • As they start to write up their research, it may also be helpful to discuss strategies for presenting their findings. Can you summarize the methods in a diagram? Are there figures that are more or less appropriate for this data? How do you decide which figures to include? What methods or assumptions need to be written about? Your insight is valuable and thinking out loud is a great way for your interns to learn!
Copyright © 2016 CIRES Education Outreach, All rights reserved.

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

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