SOARS Program Director, Boulder, CO, USA

The SOARS program, based at the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) in Boulder, CO, USA, seeks a Program Director.


SOARS has been increasing the diversity of the atmospheric and related sciences for 22 years.

This flagship program is designed to support students from backgrounds traditionally under-represented in the geosciences to enter and succeed in graduate school and STEM careers. The multi-year program is based on genuine research experiences, comprehensive mentoring, a supportive community, and life-long engagement.

Undergraduate and graduate “protégés” spend up to four summers conducting research at NCAR, NOAA and our partner laboratories, guided by a team of up to five types of mentors, and are supported through the school year with conference travel, last-dollar tuition scholarships, writing support and career and personal coaching. Alumni of the program are offered ongoing mentoring throughout their careers and are engaged in many different ways, including through the inaugural SOARS Satellite Program, a new initiative to extend the reach of SOARS by creating SOARS-based programs in departments where alumni are now faculty.

What You Will Do

Lead and manage the Significant Opportunities in Atmospheric Research and Science (SOARS) program and affiliated efforts. The SOARS director contributes actively to the national diversity and inclusion conversation through publications, conference presentations and committee work.

Program Leadership and Management

Directs the SOARS program, including all aspects of operation of the program. Responsible for strategic planning and overseeing evaluation of SOARS. Develops program goals and strategies to reach them. Monitors progress toward goals. Guides and shapes the new SOARS satellites, interfacing the needs of each with the primary program in Boulder. Directs staff and contractors, ensuring their work benefits protégés and mentors.

Responsible for hands-on, year-round mentoring of up to 26 current SOARS protégés and the ongoing support and engagement of the alumni (now numbering close to 200). Mentoring will be in person in Boulder, during national conferences and via phone, email and social media. Advises and counsels protégés Handles complex and controversial issues. Attends conferences, including annual meetings of the AGU, AMS, SACNAS in support of protégés, recruiting, and contributing to the national conversation on diversity and inclusion.

Runs an 11-week summer internship program in Boulder, building on relationships across NCAR, NOAA and our partnering universities to match students with research projects aligned to their interests, offering professional development activities and building a supportive community comprised of protégés, scientists, engineers, educators and staff. Initiates activities and plans for internal and external collaborations. Plans and implements recruitment, selection and training for student programs. Matches students with mentors and provides training for mentoring teams. Identifies, train and supports mentors across multiple institutions; in any given summer, there are typically 50-70 mentors involved in the program Ensures professional development activities relevant to the career progression of the proteges are planned and carried out

The SOARS director oversees a team comprising an administrator; science educator responsible for teaching scientific communications, preparing publications, and providing writing support; a software engineer responsible for teaching a scientific data and computing workshop, and a student assistant. Manages, trains and supervises staff, directly and as part of matrix project-based projects. Oversees the planning, preparation and teaching of the scientific communication workshops, programming and scientific data workshops, and professional development activities. Maintains an inclusive and supportive workplace and community committed to the mission of developing a diverse and inclusive STEM workforce.

SOARS is part of the UCAR Center for Science Education, a UCAR Community Programs (UCP) division of UCAR, and works closely with NCAR office of Education and Outreach, and with the UCAR office of Diversity and Inclusion. Represents SOARS to UCAR and NCAR management, and the UCAR Center for Science Education Partners with NCAR leadership to build pipeline for talented SOARS alumni into the ASP programs and employment at NCAR. Participates in internal and external meetings, representing program interests and initiatives with discretion.


This is a full-time position. This position will be advertised until 3 April 2018 or until a sufficient number of applications have been received.  Thereafter, applications will be reviewed on an as-needed basis.

Relocation assistance is available for this position.

U.S. Citizenship, Permanent Residency, or other protected status under 8 U.S.C. 1324b(a)(3) is required for this position. UCAR/NCAR will not sponsor a work visa (e.g. J-1, H1-B, etc.) for this position.

Further information

Access the full position description, which details requirements and desired skills, and apply by 3 April here: