CAREERS Weather Camps

NCAS CAREERS Weather Camp Overview Weather-Camp-logo

Experience has shown that simply exposing high school students to weather/atmospheric science is not the best way to lead them toward viable atmospheric science careers. Many individuals in the weather industry were motivated by a personal experience with weather that left a lasting impression ultimately influencing their career path.

Nevertheless, many talented students of more recent generations of students (Gen Y, Gen Z, etc.) are making career choices based on far different factors. Additionally, the landscape for such careers is rapidly changing. No longer are severe and general weather forecasters the future of atmospheric science. Instead, climate change, weather dissemination, public policy decisions, air and water quality problem solving, energy and water resource planning, and insurance issues are moving to the forefront. Thus, to realistically direct students toward future atmospheric science careers, our weather camps have to refocus and key on Channeling Atmospheric Research into Educational Experiences Reaching Students – CAREERS.

2016 CAREERS Flier – tentative

The primary goal of the NCAS CAREERS Weather Camps is to cultivate and expand the pool of the young environmental scholars, who will become the next generation leaders in geosciences and geoscience applications. This includes involving other disciplines, with a focus on Atmospheric and Climate Sciences. The overarching theme of these Camps is to convey to the students that weather and climate permeates all facets of society; including public policy, human behavior, energy sectors, etc. ALL students will be exposed to weather, society, and careers.

The CAREERS experience consists of a one or two-week summer camp experience; usually residential, but some of the camps are commuter camps; and by extension, embedded opportunities to develop academically and professionally beyond the camp. In combination, this framework ensures that students are not only learning, they also are making connections to their peers, to professionals in the relevant fields, and to role models who can connect them to future opportunities. Most CAREERS alumni leave the experience with a network of like-minded colleagues from their cadre, connections to CAREERS alumni through the social networks and blogs, and to the professional community.

During the CAREERS experience, camp instructors aim to expand students’ knowledge of atmospheric sciences, including weather observations and forecasting, environmental instrumentation and link the atmospheric sciences to the common science and mathematics disciplines that they encounter in high school; e.g. biology, chemistry, mathematics, and physics. Each camp is also designed to demonstrate and teach communication skills (written and verbal), career building, and teamwork. Creative thinking and problem-solving strategies are emphasized in all activities, be it in the classroom, laboratory, and/or the field.

The extension opportunities have included travel awards to professional meetings, summer research internships (at both Universities and federal agencies), employment opportunities as chaperones or camp assistants in CAREERS camps, and opportunities to network and present their work at local professional chapter meetings workshops, and student showcases. CAREERS alumni are often invited to come back and share their experiences with current campers as they continue along their career path.

The CAREERS Weather Camps arose from joint funding from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) through a Department of Commerce cooperative agreement in 2001; and the National Science Foundation (NSF) funding, that enabled the development of the national model and network of camps. Thus far, CAREERS has principally targeted High School sophomores, juniors, and seniors with diverse socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds, from across the United States and US territories. It is modeled after 14 years’ (2002-2015) experience in conducting summer High School weather camps in the following cities: – Washington, DC at Howard University (HU); Jackson, MS – at Jackson State University (JSU); Puerto Rico – at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez; and El Paso, TX – at the University of Texas (UTEP).

The Middle School component of CAREERS is aimed towards grades 6-8 in an effort to ensure earlier capture of student interest, and one that expands the horizons of students into multi-disciplinary thinking. NCAS’ effort, while national in scope, attempts to capture and share the greater range of unique geographic and climatic regions and related problem areas that span our partnership community. While CAREERS at HU may focus on air quality, for example; CAREERS at UTEP is ideally located to address energy policy issues, including atmospheric sciences and alternative energy. Through our partnership efforts, NCAS maximizes participation of students from a wider range of traditionally underserved populations.

Over the past 14 years of camps, the CAREERS program has expanded from one (1) High School Camp in the District of Columbia; to as many as 14 Camps at 11 sites in 2011. There were nine (9) High School Camps, four (4) Middle School Camps, and one (1) elementary school. In 2012, the network of associated camps consisted of 12 Camps; nine (9) High School Camps, and three (3) Middle School Camps Over the past four (4) years, 300 High School and over 120 Middle School students participated in the CAREERS and CAREERS-affiliated camps throughout the continental US. Additionally, camps following the same model or co-sponsored by CAREERS, have been conducted in Barbados, Ethiopia, and the Philippines.

Approximately, 70% of the US students were from underrepresented groups, primarily African-American or Hispanic ethnicities.   Of the High School graduates that we have been able to track, nearly all have pursued Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics disciplines as majors in college, and almost 50% in the geosciences. NCAS is currently performing a comprehensive tracking exercise to obtain specific numbers for a publication on the impact of the camp on the generation of students engaged by CAREERS in the past decade.

Washington, DC:

The DC Camp located on the campus of Howard University, is a two-week residential experience. Students are engaged in hands-on activities, field experiments, seminars, tours of research facilities, and workshops that expand their knowledge of atmospheric sciences, weather and forecast models, and environmental instrumentation.

Jackson, MS:

Jackson State University hosts this week-long, residential camp. The camp targets high school students interested in weather-related topics and impacts on daily life. The majority of activities are conducted in the lab facilities on campus.

Additionally, JSU is also hosting a commuter camp for middle school students. For more information, click 2016 CAREERS MS Flier – JSU

Mayagüez, Puerto Rico:

Bilingual Spanish and English students explore the fields of meteorology, atmospheric sciences, and oceanography through seminars, workshops, interactive activities, and field trips. The camp is located at the University of Puerto Rico, at the Mayagüez campus.

Click here for more information.

El Paso, TX:

The University of Texas, at El Paso partners with the Upward Bound program to provide in-depth learning experiences in weather, climate and air quality for high school students. The El Paso camp is a week-long commuter, non-residential camp.

*Based on the overwhelming success of the NCAS CAREERS Weather Camps model, numerous affiliate camps have been created. In the US there are 7 CAREERS-affiliated camps; and 3 CAREERS-affiliated camps internationally.

CAREERS Weather Camps Fact Sheet

For additional information, please contact:
Kadidia Thiero, Outreach Coordinator
Telephone: 202-865-8679;


Click on the link below for the 2016 CAREERS Application Form.
2016 CAREERS Application – tentative