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Highlights Archive
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Highlights Archive


STUDENT:Martin Yapur

Published December 2012

The Educational Partnership Program (EPP) is pleased to announce the appointment of Martin Yapur to the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS). Martin is an alumnus of the NOAA Cooperative Center for Remote Sensing Science and Technology (CREST) program, the Graduate Sciences Program (GSP), and the Undergraduate Scholarship Program (USP) through the partner institution the City College of The City University of New York.

Martin serves as Chair of the Applications Sub-group of the Working Group on Information Systems and Services (WGISS) of CEOS, the "satellite arm" of the Group on Earth Observation (GEO) Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), with members and representatives from international agencies operating Earth observing satellites. His projects and related interest groups include the International Directory Network, Land Surface Imaging, Atmospheric Composition, Global Datasets, GEOSS Architecture for the use of Satellites for Disasters and Risk Assessment, and Water Portal.

Among Martin's most significant accomplishments is his work on the CEOS WGISS Integrated Catalog (CWIC) which, once operational, will enable Satellite data never before available to be discoverable and accessible to scientists, application providers, and decision makers who need to synthesize data from multiple sources in order to do their work.

Martin Yapur with collaborators

Martin Yapur (Front Right), in the field with collaborators, at the Joint meeting of the CEOS Working Groups on Calibration-Validation& Information Systems and Services, assembled at the National Remote Sensing Centre, Hyderabad, India. September 2012.

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OUTREACH:NOAA launches partnership with Johns Hopkins' Center for Talented Youth

Published November 2012

CTY event at Johns Hopkins
Parents and students learn about NOAA's Chesapeake Bay Interpretive Buoy System (CBIBS) through the "Build-A-Buoy" hands-on activity and interactive lesson.

Students enrolled in the Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth CTY) gifted program have the opportunity to attend programs hosted by CTY that focus on various academic areas of interest. The recent program at NOAA's Silver Spring headquarters campus was offered as part of the Fall Science & Technology series of Family Academic Programs for students in grades 7 through 10 and their families.

Traveling from the DC metro area and six surrounding states, over 40 families attended the event and filled registration to capacity. The day program offered families a variety of hands-on experiences and presentations that highlighted the diversity of scientific fields in which NOAA specializes.

The day kicked off with a keynote address via video tele-presence from Dr. Katy Croff Bell, Chief Scientist for the E/V Nautilus Exploration Program, Dr. Michael Brennan, Archaeological Oceanographer at the University of Rhode Island, and Dr. Bob Ballard, Professor of Oceanography, renowned ocean explorer, and mentor to both Bell and Brennan. The trio described several of their current research projects and stressed the importance of science education in developing the skills necessary to be successful in their work exploring the deep ocean. The address was followed by questions from the audience, giving the students and parents the unique opportunity to interact directly with Dr. Ballard and his students.

Activities offered during the concurrent sessions throughout the day included:

  • A visit to the Ocean Exploration Command Center
  • Hands-on games to teach proper rain gauge measurement with the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail & Snow Network (CoCoRaHS) precipitation monitoring program
  • Buoy-building competitions with the NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office
  • An introduction to ocean acidification and its impacts on oyster fisheries
  • Analysis of the Earth system through exploration of the connections between global environmental satellite datasets with the GLOBE Program
  • Image analyses of coronal mass ejections (CMEs) on our solar system's sun to predict space weather
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    GRANTEE:Dr. Lubchenco Visits Queen's College

    Published October 2012

    On September 26th, NOAA Administrator Dr. Jane Lubchenco presented a certificate of congratulations to Queens College staff and partners in Queens, N.Y. The institution recently won a $1.3 million Environmental Literacy Grant award from NOAA to implement a project that will expose New York City elementary school students to hands-on activities in outdoor environments and provide professional development to teachers. Partnerships with local parks and environmental organizations will provide stewardship and service learning opportunities, enhancing students' environmental literacy and building an appreciation and understanding of Earth system science.

    During the visit, Dr. Lubchenco spoke with the PIs for the project, met with a participating teacher, and viewed student project reports. You can learn more about the project at our: grants listing page.

    Queens College Group

    From left to right: Dr. James Stellar, Queens College (provost); Dr. Allan Ludman, Queens College & GLOBE New York Metro director; Roy Harris, New York Dept. of Education; Frances Bosi, Alexander Graham Bell School; Dr. James Muyskens, Queens College (president); Dr. Jane Lubchenco, NOAA Administrator; Peter Schmidt, GLOBE New York Metro & project principal investigator; Dr. James Ammerman, New York Sea Grant (director).

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    GRANTEE:Miami Science Museum Opens an Interactive Exhibit

    Published September 2012

    Student Picture

    Through support from an Environmental Literacy Grant, the Miami Science Museum opened an interactive exhibit called Climate Change Miami, which allows visitors to explore Earth's climate system, the human activities contributing to change, and the potential impacts of global warming at the global level and as they are likely to be experienced in Miami. Visitors can take turns controlling a Magic Planet to view global data on the spherical display, while others can browse related local examples on touchscreen kiosks and adjacent display monitors.

    The exhibit was developed in collaboration with Ideum, who designed the multi-user interface and touchscreen application. Visitors control the sphere by manipulating a 2-D representation of the spherical display on the touchscreen. The exhibit is fully bilingual, and provides an engaging experience regardless of whether visitors decide to use one of the kiosks, or just watch the displays.

    Following installation, the Institute for Learning Innovation completed a second round of formative testing, providing valuable insights that will be used to refine the exhibit in the coming months. Initial findings show that visitors are ‘enamored with the interactive nature of the entire exhibit', with many commenting on the attractiveness of the displays, and the power of the images to draw visitors in for further investigation. The design is also proving successful in supporting engagement by multi-generational groups, with grown-ups explaining the content and children often displaying more ease with the touchscreen interface.

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    STUDENT:Micheal Hicks

    Published August 2012

    Student Picture

    The Educational Partnership Program is pleased to announce that Micheal Hicks, a Graduate Sciences Program (GSP) scholar received his Ph.D. from Howard University Program of Atmospheric Science (HUPAS) in May 2012. There he conducted research utilizing LIDAR, radiosonde, and anemometer technologies to analyze the impact of urbanization on atmospheric boundary layer processes. His dissertation is entitled "The Characterization of Atmospheric Boundary Layer Depth and Turbulence in a Mixed Rural and Urban Convective Environment."

    As an undergraduate mathematician at Paine College, Micheal was inducted into the United Negro College Fund Mellon-Mays fellowship in 2004, where he was inspired to attain a PhD degree. In addition, as an undergraduate mathematician, he completed two summer internships with NOAA's Education Partnership Program (EPP), where he developed his sustaining interest in the atmospheric sciences. After obtaining his Bachelor of Science in Mathematics in 2006, Micheal then received an academic scholarship to study at NOAA's Center for Atmospheric Science (NCAS) at Howard University. As a participant in the GSP, he was mentored by Joseph Facundo of NOAA's National Weather Service (NWS) and now works fulltime for NWS as a Physical Scientist in Sterling, VA.

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    LEADERSHIP:Dr. Kathryn Sullivan, Assistant Secretary of Commerce Speaks at Student Symposium

    Published July 2012

    On July 31, Dr. Kathryn Sullivan, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Environmental Observation and Prediction and Deputy Administrator for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration as well as Acting Chief Scientist was the keynote speaker at the awards ceremony for the Office of Education's 2012 Student Science and Education Symposium. She provided a sweeping summary of NOAA accomplishments during the 9 weeks of the students' internships, helping them envision how their dynamic summers had contributed to NOAA's achievements. She congratulated all the student scholars for a job well done, gave kudos to Office of Education staff for a successful scholarship program, and posed for a photo with each student award winner.

    Sullivan with students

    Left to Right: Kandace Kea, Genki Kino, Tricia Thibodeau, Maria Tarduno, Ethan Coffel, Dr. Kathy Sullivan, Collin Perkinson, Vinoo Ganesh, Kelly Gregorcyk, Ellen Ward, Jennifer Mills, Neesha Schnepf

    This annual Student Symposium is comprised of 3 days of sessions and information sharing, the culmination of internships at NOAA locations around the United States for 130 Hollings and EPP student scholarship recipients. These fortunate undergraduates selected scientific projects designed by NOAA scientists, and spent 9 weeks of the summer contributing to research and analysis associated with these projects. During their 10th week, all of them participated in this opportunity to share a summary of their results with the NOAA community. NOAA scientists and policy staff judged each oral and poster presentation. Scholar presentations were grouped in concurrent sessions according to NOAA's four long term goals; healthy oceans; resilient coastal communities and economies; a weather-ready nation; and climate adaptation and mitigation.

    The event was conducted in the same manner as numerous professional conferences, providing many of these students their first opportunity to experience an oral or poster presentation before an audience. The judging process had clearly-defined criteria, with numeric scores awarded. Winning presentations for each category were based on the highest point score, and first place winners received a cash award. These scores, along with judges' comments and suggestions are subsequently provided to each student, to assist them in improving their presentation skills. Furthermore, each year, students are surveyed about their experiences during the summer internship and at the Symposium, to ensure that each subsequent gathering provides the best possible experience for these ambitious student scholars!

    Award Winners

    Weather-Ready Nation
    1st Place – Genki Kino, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, HI
    Climate Adaptation and Mitigation
    Honorable Mention – Ethan Coffel, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL

    Weather-Ready Nation
    1st Place – Neesha Schnepf, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY
    Honorable Mention – Jennifer Mills, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL
    Climate Adaptation and Mitigation
    1st Place – Tricia Thibodeau, Bowdoin College, Brunswick, ME
    Honorable Mention – Ellen Ward, Columbia University, New York, NY
    ORAL - Resilient Coastal Communities
    1st Place – Maria Tarduno, Hobart & William Smith Colleges, Geneva, NY
    1st Place (tie) – Kandace Kea, Howard University, Washington, DC
    Honorable Mention – Kelly Gregorcyk, Coastal Carolina University, Conway, SC
    Healthy Oceans
    1st Place - Collin Perkinson, Reed College, Portland, OR
    Honorable Mention – Vinoo Ganesh, Washington University, St. Louis, MO

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    OUTREACH:Teachers Explore NOAA Science at Science Olympiad Summer Institute

    Published June 2012

    As the new sponsor for Science Olympiad's Meteorology event, NOAA co-led a workshop on weather-related science and technology at Science Olympiad's 2012 Summer Institute in Phoenix, Arizona, on July 19th. Seventy-five middle-school teachers and coaches from all over the United States participated in the workshop, which focused on concepts and measurement techniques related to everyday weather. Ken Waters, Warning Coordination Meteorologist for the National Weather Service (NWS) in Phoenix, gave a weather balloon/radiosonde demonstration for the teachers and shared information about resources and opportunities available through NWS

    A middle-school teacher tests out a homemade anemometer at the 2012 Science Olympiad Summer Institute in Phoenix, AZ
    offices in the teachers' home states. Sarah Yue from the NOAA Office of Education presented NOAA's new Science Olympiad webpage and helped teachers construct and field-test their own anemometers using a protocol from the activity book Discover Your World with NOAA. Mark VanHecke, Earth-Space Science Events Chair for Science Olympiad, kicked off the session and also led other hands-on activities with the workshop participants. Participating teachers were excited to bring these new resources and activities back to students and colleagues in their home states, ultimately impacting hundreds of middle-school students who participate in Science Olympiad competitions around the country.

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    STUDENT:Dominic Hondolero

    Published June 2012

    Student Picture

    The Educational Partnership Program is pleased to announce that Dominic Hondolero, a Graduate Sciences Program (GSP) student, received his Master's Degree in Biology with a concentration in Ecology in December 2011 from San Diego State University. His thesis was entitled, "Physical and Biological Characteristics of Kelp Forests in Kachemak Bay, Alaska."

    Read more about Dominic Hondolero...

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    OUTREACH:NOAA Participates in USA Science & Engineering Festival

    Published May 2012

    Family looking at staff presentation

    A large contingent of NOAA staff, lead by NOAA Education, participated in the USA Science & Engineering Festival at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC on Friday, April 27 - Sunday, April 29, 2012.

    NOAA staff offered a considerable range of hands-on activities, among which included:
    • Water World - how much water in the world is potable?
    • A demonstration of the online "Young Meteorologist Program"- a new, interactive safety program for children developed in partnership with the National Weather Service.
    • A computer interactive game on the importance of Lightning Safety - how to prepare and what to do before lightning strikes.
    • Operating a small-scale underwater ROV (Remote operated Vehicle) with video of real-life underwater exploration in the deep sea
    • Build-a-Buoy - kids of all ages devised their own design of a navigational buoy, tested to see if it floated, then added as many instruments to see how long it could remain afloat.
    • Ocean Acidification demonstration - this shows how a global scale change in the basic chemistry of the oceans is a direct result of the increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
    • Turtle Excluder Device (TED) demonstration - how commercial fishermen can catch fish but decrease the numbers of sea turtles caught in fishing nets.
    • Find the shipwreck
    • Spin the Wheel of Marine Mammals - an identification of the diversity of marine mammals.
    • Identify all the specimens with a NOAA Teacher at Sea
    • Follow the Line - an instruction in basic hydrography
    • Build an isacahedron globe of the Earth.
    • Whale and sea turtle origami

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    GRANTEE:The Great Lakes - A Great New Region for B-WET

    Published May 2012

    High school students study macroinvertebrate populations in Northeast Michigan.

    NOAA and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have partnered to establish a new Bay-Watershed Education Training (B-WET) Program in the Great Lakes. The health of these vast inland freshwater seas, containing 84 percent of North America's fresh surface water, has long been a focus of environmental groups in the Midwest. In 2011, many of these organizations helped encourage NOAA's interest in expanding its B-WET program into the region. This coincided with an opportunity to fund environmental educational programs as part of EPA's Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. The initial Great Lakes B-WET competition drew applicants from all eight Great Lakes watershed states. Twelve one-year projects are set to begin summer 2012 across the region, taking place around all five Great Lakes.

    Great Lakes B-WET programs are grounded in the Meaningful Watershed Education Experiences (MWEE) that form the core of all B-WET projects around the country. Much more than self-contained field trips, or individual hands-on activities, MWEEs weave together classroom learning with field experiences. They are sustained activities that take place throughout the year. MWEEs also align with state, regional and national standards of learning.

    Students seining in the Lake Huron watershed. Students seining as part of a long-term fisheries monitoring project on the Trout River in the Lake Huron watershed.

    To better address Great Lakes issues and to achieve the goal of leaving the Great Lakes better for the next generation, in addition to providing MWEEs, B-WET projects also align with the goals, strategies and principles of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Action Plan and the Great Lakes Literacy Principles .

    Funds are available for eligible applicants throughout the Great Lakes watersheds in the states of New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. This includes K-12 public and independent schools and school systems, institutions of higher education, nonprofit organizations, state or local government agencies, and Indian tribal governments. To learn more about the Great Lakes B-WET Program, contact Cathy Green: or visit

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    LEADERSHIP:Dr. Kathryn Sullivan, Assistant Secretary of Commerce Speaks at NOAA CREST Day!

    Published May 2012

    Kathy Sullivan at CREST

    The 11th Annual NOAA Cooperative Remote Sensing Science and Technology Center (CREST) Day was held on Thursday, April 19, 2012 in the City College of New York's (CCNY) Steinman Hall, and proved once again to be greatly successful at promoting and inspiring Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education to the next generation of scientists and engineers. Attendees heard from an assemblage of top scientists and NOAA speakers, including Dr. Kathryn Sullivan, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Environmental Observation and Prediction/NOAA Deputy Administrator.

    Since its inception in 2001, the annual NOAA CREST Day has showcased the research and opportunities that make NOAA CREST such a unique and special part of the New York metropolitan area. Following its recent inauguration to status as a City University of New York Institute, the NOAA CREST gathering fulfilled its promise of a fun-filled and informative day for anyone interested in coastal, atmospheric and hydrologic sciences. Attendees included more than 150 metro area high school students, as well as CCNY undergraduate and graduate students, NOAA CREST faculty and researchers and special invited guests.

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    OUTREACH:NOAA at Science Teacher Conference

    Published April 2012

    NOAA exhibit at NSTA 2012

    The NOAA Office of Education was the sponsor of an exhibit booth at the annual National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) annual conference held on March 29- April 1, 2012 at the Indianapolis Convention Center, Indianapolis, IN.

    Nearly 10,000 science educators from around the country attended this 60th annual conference. NOAA was acknowledged for participating for over 20 years in the exhibit hall.

    Picture 2: An excited NOAA staaf member interacts with a visitor


    The NOAA exhibit booth was staffed by a well rounded representation of all the NOAA programs including staff from the Illinois/Indiana Sea Grant programs, and both the education programs and the National Invasive Species staff. Rounding out exhibit staff were science teachers: NOAA Teacher at Sea Alumni (TASA), NOAA Climate Stewards as well as an Einstein Fellow assigned to NOAA. Excellent education resources from the various programs were distributed to the attendees. There was also a 'hands-on-science' area within the booth which enabled the NOAA staff to demonstrate short science activities which could be used in the classroom or in after-school activities.

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    LEADERSHIP:Dr. Rebecca Blank, gives a keynote address on STEM education

    Published March 2012

    Dr. Rebecca Blank

    Dr. Blank's talk highlights recent reports by NOAA's sister agency in the Department of Commerce, the Economics and Statistics Bureau. The three reports examine Census data on STEM education and jobs. The reports conclude that STEM education promotes racial and ethnic equality, that growth in STEM jobs was three-times faster than non-STEM jobs and that women are still underrepresented in STEM fields. These reports can be found at:
    To hear Dr. Blank's keynote address, please see

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    GRANTEE:Citizen Scientists are "Cuckoo for CoCoRaHS"!

    Published March 2012


    CoCoRaHS (the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow network) is a nationwide "citizen science" project, supported by an Environmental Literacy Grant (ELG) award, that engages thousands of people (currently over 15,000 active volunteers) of all ages in measuring and investigating precipitation. Participants use low-cost, high-capacity rain gauges along with rulers and foil-wrapped Styrofoam "hail pads" to accurately measure rain, hail and snow.

    Map of CoCoRaHS volunteer-collected precipitation data for January 23, 2012. Source:

    The measurement and communication of precipitation information are lowest common denominators for connecting the public to atmospheric and hydrologic processes and impacts. Precipitation affects the lives and activities of nearly everyone. Precipitation is episodic and sometimes destructive. Its characteristics change with the seasons. It may be the most noticeable, variable and impactful element of our climate.

    Volunteer networks, such as with National Weather Service's Cooperative Observer Program, have a long history in NOAA. Volunteered data are used extensively within the agency. What is unique about CoCoRaHS is the use of Internet technologies along with social networking and great ties with local National Weather Service Offices and State Climate Offices to effectively connect people from across the entire country with environmental science, weather prediction, the climate system and the scientific community.

    CoCoRaHS has twice received ELG awards from the NOAA Office of Education. The current award is helping CoCoRaHS enhance the "volunteer experience" by improving access to and visualization of the data collected by volunteers. This allows the volunteers to be data analysts, not just collectors. New mapping capabilities are being added to view both recent and historic national, regional or local precipitation. Through collaborations with Oregon State University, volunteers will soon be able to view their recent precipitation data in context with 100-year geospatial time series of precipitation data. Graphing capabilities have been added and more features are planned. A very exciting new addition for 2012 is the measurement of "reference evapotranspiration" to improve the visualization and understanding of the water cycle in action.

    Thousands of new volunteers will be recruited and trained during the next two years with emphasis on reaching younger audiences (the most common age range for current volunteers is 45-80 years old). Facebook and Twitter have already become effective recruiting tools. Animations are being developed and disseminated via YouTube to introduce CoCoRaHS to broader audiences. Live and archived webinars are becoming a mainstay for volunteer training. An educational series of monthly webinars called CoCoRaHS WxTalk provides opportunities for CoCoRaHS participants to learn special topics directly from top atmospheric scientists and educators.

    CoCoRaHS welcomes anyone with an interest in learning about precipitation. Please sign up today at: (

    More information on this exciting project, including how to join, is available from their web site.


    Mark Anderson of Univ. of Nebraska, a CoCoRaHS volunteer, explains how to use a rain guage. Credit:Henry Reges/CoCoRaHS

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    STUDENT:Melanie Harrison

    Published March 2012

    Student Picture

    The Educational Partnership Program (EPP) is pleased to announce that on May 20, 2011, Graduate Sciences Program (GSP) student Melanie Harrison completed her Doctoral Degree in Marine, Estuarine, and Environmental Sciences with a concentration in Environmental Science from the University of Maryland Baltimore County.

    Read more about Dr. Melanie Harrison...

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    OUTREACH:Education Resources Website

    Published March 2012

    Education Resources

    This portal website is designed to assist educators in accessing NOAA educational materials across the widely distributed network of NOAA websites. The content here is a sampling of NOAA's education resources and more can be found at each linked location.

    Go to the Website...

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