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June 3, 2016 - Week 1 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 (CZO).

For the most recent RECCS happenings, check out our blog (updates coming soon).

Welcome to RECCS 2016!

This week CIRES Education Outreach and the Boulder Creek CZO welcomed the third cohort of interns participating in the RECCS summer student research program. Ten students from six community colleges across Colorado had a busy and exciting week of activities as they learned what it means to be a scientist and conduct research prior to starting their projects next week. The student researchers and their mentors had a meet & greet lunch to get to know each other and discuss research plans. REECS alumni also shared their internship experiences and answered questions from the new cohort. An overnight stay at the University of Colorado Mountain Research Station and a team building session helped the cohort build a strong rapport and have some fun, too!

Meet the 2016 RECCS Student Researchers (left to right) Ward Fish, Shala Wallace, Brett Lindgren, Jesse Barber, Taylor Schoenfeld, Randall Rouse, Sean Ross, Michaela Brannum, Scott-Wesley Bean, and Amanda Espinoza-Martinez.

Snapshots from the Week
Suzanne Anderson, Principal Investigator of the Boulder Creek CZO and RECCS Mentor & Senior Personnel, guided the student researchers on a geology field trip to NCAR and the Betasso CZO site. Suzanne explained about the site of a sediment core sample, which one of the student researchers will analyze during their internship this summer.
Kristi Dahl of Environmental Learning Associates led a team building session with the RECCS cohort at the University of Colorado Mountain Research Station. The student researchers stayed overnight and completed introductory training on observations in the field and science note booking while at the station.
Taylor Schoenfeld, RECCS student researcher, observes aquatic macroinvertebrates as indicators of water quality while at CU's Mountain Research Station.
RECCS student researcher, Michaela Brannum, explains her team's results of a mock study as part of a training session on scientific investigation led by Jenny Briggs of the USGS.

Intern Tips

  • Check your email regularly for RECCS updates
  • Talk with your mentor and RECCS staff to keep on track
  • Be curious, ask questions
  • Have fun!

Intern Deadlines

  • Poster Session: UCAR CG1 Auditorium July 28, 4-5:30 public viewing & reception (poster set-up & feedback 2-4)
  • Presentations: CIRES Auditorium July 29, 1-3

Communication Update

On Wednesday, RECCS interns participated in their first scientific communication workshop. Over the course of the summer, this workshop series will guide the students through the process of preparing and presenting a scientific poster, a presentation and putting together a conference abstract showcasing the research they're doing in the program.  At this first workshop, we talked about what scientific communication involves, why we do it, and what we will be presenting for RECCS. We really appreciated having graduate student Ashley Collier come and present her work for us as an example of how to give a great scientific talk, and took a look at a number of posters to help demystify these scientific communication formats. We also talked about informal science communication, and how we might describe our research to someone who asks what we're doing this summer - the elevator speech. This one minute, lay-person friendly overview of their research is something that everyone finds handy to have in hand, so is the homework assignment for the week. We are excited to hear what everyone is working on during our next workshop!

Mentor Tips

  • In preparation for the their elevator speeches, you may find yourself having some discussions with your intern about the broader field your research fits within, and the motivation behind what you’re doing. If you can, please listen to your intern’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 intern and see how they are adjusting to working in Boulder, in RECCS, and in a scientific workplace. Independent research is very different from college!
Copyright © 2016 CIRES Education Outreach, All rights reserved.

RECCS is funded by National Science Foundation Grant Award Number 1461281

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