RESEARCH EXPERIENCES FOR UNDERGRADUATES (REU)
Department of Atmospheric Sciences
The REALM Mentorship Council will coordinate welcoming the students upon their arrival. The welcome orientation will be hosted in the Wasatch Mountains. The kick-off lecture introducing the students to the field of Mountain Meteorology will be presented by Emeritus Research Professor C. David Whiteman. Dr. Whiteman’s distinguished career includes over 70 publications focusing on mountain meteorology, along with the introductory textbook titled “Mountain Meteorology: Fundamentals and Applications”, which provides the basic principles and concepts of mountain meteorology, then goes on to discuss their application in natural resources management. During this orientation, the REALM Mentorship Council will help resolve any logistical issues as the students settle in to Salt Lake City. Initial meetings with each student with their research mentor and a member of the Mentorship Council will be used to answer questions and outline the student-mentor expectations for the REALM program. Students will receive ID cards, bus passes, and department computer accounts.
Many STEM-related REU programs on campus (e.g., SPUR and department-specific programs in Physics and Astronomy, Chemistry, and Material Sciences) participate in a welcome luncheon for students and mentors to network, socialize, and learn about the REU programs on campus.
RESEARCH AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
Active research and professional development will commence during the first week and continue throughout the program. Department and campus resources tours and laboratory and field safety training will be covered during the first week.
Students will travel via two vans on the first Friday to Storm Peak Laboratory in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, a high elevation atmospheric research facility. The students will also visit an air quality monitoring site in the rapidly-developing oil/gas fields of the Uintah Basin, maintained by Department researchers, and Dinosaur National Park as part of the trip.
WEEK 2 - 8
Faculty mentors will help guide the students during the summer to complete realistic research projects that help to develop skills that will contribute to the students’ future academic and employment successes. A list of faculty mentors and expected project titles is provided here
Students will participate in weekly hour-long trainings sponsored by the campus-wide SPUR program on topics such as: responsible research conduct; research reproducibility; abstract writing; literature reviews; creating figures in scientific writing; creating effective posters; and translating research to a general audience. The Center for High Performance Computing (CHPC) also offers introductions to research computing relevant to some of the projects that students are likely to undertake.
Students will have individual Department subject matter experts assigned relevant to their research needs. For example, faculty research groups in the Department use a wide range of instrumentation and computer programming languages. While the students will not be expected to become experts on specific sensors or computer programmers after 10 weeks, they will be able to learn why different sensing and programming approaches are used for different needs. Each student will be assigned to a communication mentor (for guidance on writing and creating the final poster) and programming language expert. The students will meet with both mentors for ~30 minutes every two weeks. Additionally, each student will be assigned a peer mentor within their cohort and will be encouraged to meet weekly to discuss their progress and challenges.
Students will meet individually with a member of the REALM Mentorship Council for ~30 minutes every two weeks. During these informal meetings, student will receive individualized mentorship and career development advice, discuss their progress, and provide feedback regarding program elements.
WEEKLY LUNCHTIME PRESENTATIONS
Students will attend a weekly lunchtime session on a variety of research topics with presentations by faculty, post-doctoral researchers, and graduate students within the Department of Atmospheric Sciences.
BI-WEEKLY WORKPLACE TOURS
We are fortunate to be able to have students visit and become aware of the range of employment options in our field, including: Salt Lake City National Weather Service Forecast Office; Colorado Basin River Forecast Center; BLM Great Basin Coordination Center (wildfire resource); U.S. Forest Service Remote Sensing Applications Center (forest and wildfire resource); Utah Department of Environmental Quality (air and water quality); Utah Department of Transportation/Narwhal Inc. (road weather forecasting); Meteorological Solutions (air quality monitoring and forecasting); and Campbell Scientific (instrumentation).
REU COHORT-BUILDING ACTIVITIES
REU programs on campus rotate weekly to coordinate and lead on- or off-campus optional activities for all REU students. These include barbeques, hikes in the nearby Wasatch Mountains, or attending sporting or outdoor concert events.
WEEK 9 - 10
Students will wrap up their research project and work with their mentor to complete a poster using a format consistent with that used for the Student Conference of the American Meteorological Society (AMS) Annual Meeting.
Students will participate in a “draft” poster party at lunchtime on the Monday of week 10 attended by mentors and the REALM Mentorship Council to prepare for the campus-wide poster session for all REU students held later in the week. Informal critique and ideas on how to improve if needed the content of their posters will be the objective of this session.
SUMMER RESEARCH SYMPOSIUM
All department-specific REU students, SPUR, ACCESS, and NARI students will display posters and orally report their research accomplishments on the Thursday of Week 10. In 2018, over 90 posters were presented at this exciting event. The entire department and the Dean of the CMES, students and mentors from across the university are invited to attend.
AWARD BANQUET AND GOODBYES
Immediately following the Research Symposium, students and mentors will attend a luncheon award session where awardees will receive recognition. A panel from the Department of Atmospheric Sciences independent of the mentors and REALM Mentorship Council will identify posters and presentations of distinction.