Howard University is pleased to report on the activities conducted by the NOAA Cooperative Science Center in Atmospheric Sciences and Meteorology (NCAS-M) during the performance period from September 1, 2020 to February 28, 2021.
NCAS-M continues to promote expanded participation in education, training, capacity building, and collaborative research with specific focus on groups that are traditionally underrepresented in NOAA mission-relevant STEM fields. While the NCAS-M research and training focus is on weather, meteorological, and climate applications, concerted efforts are made to integrate the study of social, behavioral, and economic sciences disciplines (including communication sciences) in support of NOAA’s mission and to ensure that, in addition to their disciplinary specialties, all students are literate in both the environmental sciences and how these apply to society. Thus, NCAS-M research and training activities support its primary goal of producing a diverse and highly skilled cadre of technical and environmentally literate professionals who will help build a more resilient nation in the face of increasing vulnerability to weather extremes and other environmental threats.
This reporting period was significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic that marked the beginning of the immediately preceding performance period and continuing through the current period. However, despite the challenges posed by the crisis, continued engagement took place between NCAS-M and NOAA’s Office of Education and NOAA Grants Management Division (GMD) to support continual improvement in the administration of the award and fostering greater collaborative partnerships with NOAA and NOAA stakeholders. To this end, in spite of the physical access limitations occasioned by the COVID-19 global pandemic, using available virtual communication platforms and tools, the NCAS-M leadership developed various innovative ways to maintain and enhance collaboration with NWS, NESDIS, OAR, NOAA Cooperative Institutes (e.g., CISESS, CIRES, and CIMMS), and the other NOAA CSCs (CCME, CESSRST, LMRCSC).
NCAS-M continued the recruitment of the fifth cohort of students and coordination of NERTO engagements for existing NCAS-M graduate fellows. Also, the Center has successfully recruited and is currently supporting new students whose academic progress has been adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, which caused them severe physical and mental hardships and delayed their graduation schedules. Additionally, the Center has continued to successfully connect Cohort and leveraged students to relevant collaborative research, internship, and even employment opportunities across NOAA.
Examples of the student engagements and achievements during the reporting period included:
- NCAS-M also engaged NOAA leadership and personnel in regular tag-up meetings (i.e., bi-weekly or monthly phone or virtual calls).
- Furthermore, the NCAS-M Technical Adviser, Dr. Jason Tuell (NWS), participates regularly in the NCAS-M monthly research focus group meetings.
The following semi-annual performance report details the activities and accomplishments for the current reporting period.