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JULY 2022

Antonio Busalacchi

Dear Colleagues,
NCAR is enjoying a busy summer with internships and graduate student visitors on our campuses, along with the Advanced Study Program Colloquium and the Early Career Faculty Innovators Program. Both students and faculty report that they appreciate being back in Boulder working with their mentors and collaborators. All of the student interns and graduate student visitors are encouraged to take advantage of NCAR’s professional development opportunities, which are an important part of the student experience here.
I would like to highlight a new initiative: a bridge program to the popular Graduate Visitor Program (GVP). The GVP Bridge provides students with a one-month internship at NCAR, matching their interests with those of scientists and engineers. Students have opportunities to
participate in NCAR activities, learn more about the science, and work on a small project that will help them determine if a longer GVP Fellowship may be of interest. As a result of this visit, some GVP Bridge participants will be awarded a regular GVP Fellowship to continue working at NCAR at some point in the future.

Participants in this summer's GVP Bridge program. 
We are also in a fruitful period with field projects. The Prediction of Rainfall Extremes Campaign in the Pacific (PRECIP) has brought together an international team of atmospheric experts in one of the wettest areas of the globe to study extreme rainfall. Based out of western Taiwan and a southern island of Japan, PRECIP is funded by NSF and led by Colorado State University with support from NCAR. By collecting data on the extreme storms and monsoons that are common in this region, the project will lead to improvements in forecasting extreme rainfall events, as well as advancing our understanding of model physics, radar meteorology, and other critical areas.
In August, NCAR and NASA are leading an international field project based in South Korea that will study how the Asian summer monsoon affects atmospheric chemistry and global climate.The Asian Summer Monsoon Chemical and CLimate Impact Project (ACCLIP), supported by NSF and other agencies, involves more than 30 institutions worldwide. The NSF/NCAR Gulfstream V is one of two aircraft used in the project, with NCAR project managers and engineers handling the logistics related to the GV and the instruments onboard.
The NSF/NCAR Gulfstream V refueling this week in Hawaii on its way to South Korea for the ACCLIP field campaign.
This summer is also the time for staff to request flexible work arrangements as we transition to a new work model. Employees can request to work fully onsite, fully remote, or hybrid; they can also request a flexible schedule. The deadline for these requests, which will be considered by supervisors, is Sept. 9. We believe that flexible work will give staff the opportunity to find what works best to maintain their own work-life circumstances and focus on both productivity and wellness. By allowing remote and hybrid work long term, the organization will reduce its carbon footprint. When location is no longer a guiding factor in hiring, we will be able to continue to attract and retain the best talent, and hire a more diverse workforce. For all these reasons, flexible work will lead to better support for staff and help us achieve our mission. 

Our new flexible work policy was approved by the UCAR Board of Trustees in its June meeting. The gathering in Washington, D.C. was the first face-to-face board meeting in more than two years. For some members of the board and UCAR staff, it marked their first time attending such a meeting in person. We were pleased to be able to leverage the trip to touch base in person with our colleagues on Capitol Hill, including staff of the members of the Colorado delegation and leadership on the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. We also had the opportunity to meet with NOAA Administrator Rick Spinrad and NSF Directorate for Geosciences (GEO) Assistant Director Alex Isern. 

In other news, UCAR is remaining in the green phase this summer as new omicron variants continue to circulate. In this phase, our occupancy levels are 75% of staff, our conference rooms are open, and we allow escorted visitors, vendors, and guests on site as long as certain requirements are met, such as safety training for new visitors. Although masks are not required, they are still recommended indoors. We hope to transition to the blue phase and fully reopen our facilities, but we are mindful of the continuing challenges associated with COVID-19. The safety of our staff remains our top priority.
I am looking forward to seeing many of you at the annual Members Meeting in October. This will be our first in-person annual meeting in three years, and we will also offer sessions online for those who cannot join us in Boulder. The focus will be on reconnections.
Stay well, and enjoy the rest of the summer.

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