2016 News & Events

CSD Helps Lead the NOAA Boulder My Brother's Keeper Event

4 March 2016

A news crew from Channel 9, the local affiliate of NBC, spent much of the day on March 3 filming at NOAA's David Skaggs Research Center (DSRC) in Boulder, where 24 students and 6 teachers from the Denver Public School District gathered for an event in association with the Administration's My Brother's Keeper National Labs Week.

The event was organized by Debe Dailey-Fisher of the Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL) Chemical Sciences Division and Sarah Venema of the NOAA Boulder Executive Director's Office. Participants from all corners of NOAA Boulder and the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) rallied to put on a program of presentations and hands-on activities for the students.

The My Brother's Keeper National Labs Week is a national event designed to introduce students from communities that are not well represented in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) careers to federal employees and lab facilities in the hopes of inspiring interest in these fields. In OAR, ESRL and AOML hosted events.

The 24 students visiting NOAA Boulder were from East High and Kennedy high schools, two schools in the Denver Public School (DPS) District. The half-day event was structured around two segments. Students started with a history and glimpse of NOAA Boulder including Science On a Sphere. They then broke into small groups rotating between nine different scientists with hands-on activities, conducting experiments or attending demonstrations to give them an understanding of how research finds answers to solve problems. The day at ESRL concluded with a lunch with scientists.

Students could choose to attend 3 of the 9 activities that were running concurrently. By all accounts, it was tough to choose from the intriguing topics that were offered:

  • Cosmic Rays – A look at being a Space Weather Forecaster Meghan Stockman & Jennifer Taylor, Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) and CIRES
  • When Lightning Strikes – Lightning demonstrations and staying safe Tom Lefebvre, ESRL Global Systems Division (GSD)
  • Science on a Sphere – Learning about science on an actual globe Hilary Peddicord, ESRL Global Systems Division (GSD)
  • Learning About Weather from Space Lidia Cucurull, ESRL Global Systems Division (GSD)
  • Living at the Poles – Life of an Arctic scientist Christine Shultz, ESRL Global Monitoring Division (GMD)
  • The Giving Tree – What tree rings can tell us about past climate Bruce Bauer, National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI)
  • Worst El Niño in History? Andy Hoell and Don Murray, ESRL Physical Sciences Division (PSD)
  • The Impact of Fire Joshua "Shuka" Schwarz, ESRL Chemical Sciences Division (CSD)
  • Tsunami Attack – The science behind towering waves Aaron Sweeney, National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI)
Event Photos: Will von Dauster, NOAA

CSD scientist Shuka Schwarz led the presentation on fire, which proved to be a... well... hot topic with the students. They gathered air samples from combustion sources, including a motorcycle (courtesy of CSD's Stu McKeen), a car, and burning biomass. They then analyzed the samples in Shuka's laboratory, getting some real data on black carbon emissions from the combustion. Others from CSD who helped with the day's events were Brandi McCarty, Raul Alvarez, and Anne Perring.

The pictures tell the tale of a successful event that grabbed the attention of the students and gave them an up-close idea of what research is like and the life of a scientist.