2010 Physical Sciences Review » Biographies » Sara Summers

Sara Summers

Sara Summers

Sara Summers

Physical Scientist

Global Systems Division


I have developed and supported the NOAA Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Program since its inception in 2003, as Deputy Project Manager and recently as Education Project Manager, currently focusing on developing a NOAA Science Education Plan for the NOAA UAS Program, and developing a K-12 Education Project Plan for the NOAA UAS Program in support of STEM Policy. Additionally I support NOAA's contribution to the K-12 science monitoring program GLOBE, launched in 1995 by the White House and managed initially by NOAA and now by NCAR. My role is to forge relationships between GLOBE and Federal agencies in support of NOAA's mission of developing the next generation scientist.


  • BS Meteorology, Metropolitan State College Denver, 1987
  • Masters in Environmental Policy and Management, University of Denver, 1997

Research Interests

Research interests include working with the NOAA UAS Program to conduct successful flight tests that will demonstrate the effectiveness of UAS as a platform for taking environmental measurements that will improve our climate and weather forecasts, and enhance the overall capability of our global observing system. My other primary research interest focuses on integration of science and technology into K-12 education systems, in an effort to expand science curricula at all levels of education in support of NOAA's mission of developing the next generation of scientist as well as in support of Science STEM Policy.


  • 2007 U.S. DOC Bronze Medal Award for "Demonstrating the usefulness of Unmanned Aircraft Systems in accomplishing NOAA's mission, including operational and research goals."
  • NOAA author on first NASA/NOAA MOU for UAS
  • Deputy Project Manager/Editor on 2008 UAS Implementation Plan
  • Have given many invited conference presentations
  • Selected as EPA Region 8 candidate for Women's Executive Leadership Program 1994/1995.
  • Developed and taught senior-level class "Air Pollution Meteorology," at Metropolitan State College of Denver, 2002-2004.
  • Certificate of Appreciation from Vice President Al Gore for training teachers as part of the K-12 GLOBE program, 1995.

Recent Publications

  • Altair Unmanned Aircraft System Achieves Demonstration Goals: D.W. Fahey, J.H. Churnside, J.W. Elkins, A. J. Gasiewski, K.H. Rosenlof, S. Summers, M. Aslaksen, T.A. Jacobs, J. D. Sellars, C.D. Jennison, L.C. Freudinger, and M. Cooper. Published in EOS Trans. AGU, 80, 197&201, 16 May 2006
  • Environmental Scientific Applications for Unmanned Aircraft Systems: S. Summers, NOAA; R. Albertson, NASA, Elizabeth Weatherhead, CIRES. Published in Unmanned Aircraft Systems, The Global Perspective, 2008/2009.