ESRL and Howard University build bridge to the future
NOAA leadership has committed to greater diversity and a culture of inclusiveness within NOAA. To support this effort, ESRL invited faculty and students from Howard University to visit NOAA Boulder on September 19-20, 2016 to build foundational relationships and to foster and expand engagement with ESRL scientists and programs. Howard University is a Historically Black University (HBCU) and the lead institution of the NOAA Cooperative Science Center in Atmospheric Sciences and Meteorology.
During the two-day event, Dr. Vernon Morris, Professor in the Department of Chemistry and the Director of the Atmospheric Sciences Program at Howard University showcased the NCAS research portfolio and several of their students. "I also wanted to expose the NCAS students to the research capacity and intellectual capital at ESRL," he says. "True success would be having our students be seen as a valuable talent pool for present and future contributors to NOAA's scientific mission."
Participating students included Keren Rosado, Jia-Fong Fan, Emily Saunders, Daniel Yeager, and Megan Payne, doctoral candidates in the Howard University Graduate Program in Atmospheric Science (HUPAS), which is a part of NCAS. Cassandra Shivers is a doctoral candidate in the Psychology Department at Howard University.
The agenda included introductions to each ESRL Division, a tour, and presentations by each student on their research. On the second day, Howard visitors and ESRL staff were divided into breakout groups for focused discussion. Both students and researchers summarized their key areas of research and identified overlapping interests. These fruitful discussions resulted in many areas of collaboration moving forward, including one student attending a National Academy of Sciences meeting with a GSD researcher this week.
"Overall, the students were impressed with the facilities and excited about the possibilities of collaborating and working with ESRL scientists," says Vernon. "It was an excellent networking opportunity but beyond that, the visit both inspired them and also helped them better understand the relevance of their research in several cases."
Looking ahead, both groups hope to expand the partnership. "We will continue to work on ways to initiate student exchange, intellectual cross-fertilization, and collaboration that will yield measurable results in the coming months," says Vernon.