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June 17, 2016 - Week 3 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 Ward Fish. Ward is teamed up with mentor Imtiaz Rangwala, Research Associate for CIRES at the University of Colorado Boulder and the Western Water Assessment. They are based at NOAA in Boulder, CO.
Ward Fish
Watch Ward's elevator speech!

Research Project: Variability and trends in snow water equivalent (SWE), dates of peak SWE and peak streamflow, and precipitation partitioning (rain vs. snow)

Ward was born in wild, wonderful West Virginia. He currently resides in Aurora, CO, with his wife and two dogs. He enjoys being outdoors, gardening, and loves a good show at Red Rocks.

He recently graduated from the Community College of Aurora with an A.A. in Marketing and will be attending Metro State in Denver this fall to pursue a double major in Marketing and Land Use. After that, the sky’s the limit!
Ward explains the preliminary patterns that he has identified in SWE and precipitation at the Wind River Indian Reservation in central Wyoming. He uses Excel to analyze data that has been collected over the past 35 years from area sites.
SNOTEL, short for snow telemetry, is an automated network that collects snowpack and related climatic data. Ward is using long-term SNOTEL data from the National Resources Conservation Service, plus other data sources, to investigate changes in precipitation, snowmelt, and streamflow over time.

Intern Tips

  • Take LOTS of pictures and short video clips to document your research experience over the summer
  • Maximum photo size for the newsletter & blog is 1 MB
  • Blog at least once a week to share your story!

Intern Deadlines

This week's homework is the poster introduction/motivation using the poster template, which will help with the design and keep the volume of writing appropriate for a poster.

Communication Workshop Update

In last week's scientific communication workshop, we talked about scientific papers−what goes into them, why are they written, and how they are read. We also talked about plagiarism and how and when to cite references, plus some of the resources available for finding and keeping track of scientific literature including Web of Science, Google Scholar, and free citation management software such as Mendeley and Zotero. We moved on to an in-depth discussion of the introduction, including the general format of starting with the bigger picture and focusing in on your specific research question as well as the ideal introduction for a poster. As a separate discussion, we talked about resumes and CVs and the difference between them and how to include your RECCS experience on a CV. Anne Gold will provide individual feedback on each intern's CV over the coming weeks.

Mentor Tips

  • Ask your student researcher to describe new activities in their own words before they start them. Sometimes student researchers and mentors have different interpretations of the same conversation so asking your student to articulate what they will be doing can help them avoid going off in a different direction.
  • Help your student researcher stay focused on a piece of research that is doable. It is tempting to aim big but the summer is very short.
  • This part of the summer is a time when many projects involve the less glamorous side of research−debugging, trying to handle large data sets, etc. It may be useful to talk about strategies to deal with the sometimes tedious work that precedes insight.
  • Check in often and let the RECCS staff know if there is anything that we can do to provide support!
Copyright © 2016 CIRES Education Outreach, All rights reserved.

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

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