Programs for Broader Impacts

 

Broader Impact Area 1: Advance discovery and understanding while promoting teaching, training, and learning
 
 
The Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory is committed to integrating research and education at the undergraduate level through the Lamont Summer Intern Program. The Program was created to stimulate the interests of undergraduate students wishing to pursue careers in the ocean, atmospheric and earth sciences.  The Summer Intern Program brings together talented undergraduates from a broad spectrum of scientific disciplines with prominent scientists at the Observatory. In addition, the Program ranges beyond academic research by establishing a meaningful mentorship that encourages active student participation in the research activities experienced by professional scientists.
 
The Summer Intern Program has been a collaboration between the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences and the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University for over 30 years and has accommodated over 590 students. The Program is a unique multifaceted partnership that integrates participation in day-to-day research activities, exposure to large-scale programs and the overall scientific enterprise, and, most importantly, opportunities for students to be the drivers of their own education. Students are active participants in their own learning as they conduct their own research and participate in scientific conversations with their advisors and peers. In addition to pursuing a project in their area of interest, students also have a chance to learn about frontier issues in earth science through a specially designed lecture series combining topical lectures with workshops covering the design of experiments and methodologies, scientific writing and presentations, the professional conduct of research, and traditional and alternative careers in science. During the internship, students give focused progress reports and receive constructive criticism, and may attend workshops and other seminars on the Lamont campus. The internships culminate in formal project presentations to an audience of peers, mentors and other Lamont faculty. Often, several interns will go on to submit abstracts and attend professional meetings, including the following fall meeting of the AGU, and several may submit manuscripts to professional journals.
 
The Observatory manages the logistical details before and during the Program and conducts follow-up surveys and maintains contact with students upon completion of their internships. A pool of over 50 research scientists and graduate students contributing their expertise and time will also work with Program leads to conduct formative and summative evaluations on an ongoing basis.
 
Examples of elements that might work into a broader impacts plan include:
  • Funding (full or partial) for an undergraduate student to participate in the summer internship program and be involved in all aspects of his/her own research project, from formation to analyses to presentations to publications. The approximate cost per student is $9,600.
 
Example of how language was used in a recent proposal:
 
Education and Outreach
 
Our knowledge transfer model is aligned strategically with NSF’s goals of broader impacts, through the advancement of meaningful learning experiences for undergraduate students and the broad dissemination of our research to the public. Our Education and Outreach plan is grounded in the hypothesis that a rich combination of data-rich research, coupled with hands-on learning experiences and public outreach efforts for students, creates opportunities for active learning and increased student engagement in STEM fields. 
 
Advancing discovery and understanding while promoting teaching, training, and learning
 
The Lamont Summer Intern Program will be used to facilitate this broader impact goal. By creating a research-infused learning experience for undergraduate students along with opportunities for peer-to-peer engagement and mentorship from world-renowned researchers, our program creates a vibrant summer internship experience and contributes significantly to the overall learning experience for undergraduate students. The Program has been a collaboration between the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences (DEES) and the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (LDEO) of Columbia University for over 30 years and has served over 590 students.
 
As a National Science Foundation funded Research Experiences for Undergraduates (NSF REU) site, Lamont is able to bring approximately 15 students to the campus each summer for this program. Other external and institutional funds are used to expand the intern cohort. We have budgeted to fully support one undergraduate intern engaged in hydrological research, data analysis and statistical modeling.
 
The Program is a unique partnership that is multifaceted as it integrates participation in research activities, exposure to large-scale programs, and most importantly, opportunities for students to be the drivers of their own education. Our summer intern will be an active participant in their own learning as they lead the development of their research projects and the scientific conversations with their advisors and peers. Our intern will also have a chance to learn about other areas of scientific research in the Lamont community through a specially designed lecture series, discuss their projects and receive feedback during research-focused workshops, perfect their scientific writing and presentation skills, and attend tailored career workshops. The entire program is geared towards creating scientific experiences to mimic life as a research scientist.  The Observatory manages the logistical details and conducts formative and summative evaluations with students and PIs upon completion of their internships.
 
Mentorship is also an important component of Lamont’s summer intern program and the team for our project will provide the student with a unique mentoring structure. The team is made up of two women in soft-money positions at different stages of their careers, one junior and one senior. The junior members of the team, including the summer intern and the early career researcher, will benefit from the interaction with more established scholars that have expertise in advanced concepts of data analysis, statistical modelling, extremes, and atmospheric and climate physics and dynamics. In addition to this, the early career researcher and the senior members of the team will also benefit from being a mentor to the undergraduate student by thinking about how best to foster interest and further engage them in STEM fields.
 
After the rich summer intern program is completed, we have also allocated funds for the student to participate in professional meetings off campus with Lamont mentors. Meeting opportunities include the Annual American Geophysical Union meeting (24,000+ attendees) or the National Science Teachers Association Conference (1,500+ attendees). Attending and presenting at these meetings would allow the intern to broadly disseminate their research through various channels, to better understand how their research can be integrated into curriculum to train and prepare future generations of scientists, and to have face-to-face interactions with peers, which are essential practices to building working relationships and research networks. 
 
Broaden dissemination to enhance scientific and technological understanding
 
Distribution and presentation of research from our project to a broad audience is an important objective for us as it promotes scientific literacy related to climate extremes and natural hazards, but also engages the public in understanding the multiple dimensions of the issues. Following participation in large national conferences, the PIs will work with the summer intern student to design and translate research findings for further dissemination and use by the general public. These will create resources for the Lamont Open House and posts for the Earth Institute’s State of the Planet blog (http://blogs.ei.columbia.edu/).
 
The Observatory has a long history of public education through its day-long Open House event featuring free lectures, demonstrations, and workshops. Every year, the Observatory, in partnership with its research scientists, the Department of Earth and Environmental Science, and various research centers within the Earth institute at Columbia University, develops an innovative program to extend and share important research findings beyond the academic community. This annual one-day event draws over 3,000 visitors with its programming and trains Lamont scientists and students to develop age-appropriate and interactive demonstrations for all attendees.
 
The student will work on the development of a demonstration to illustrate his/her research findings for this annual event in October, where audiences of all ages will be introduced to the Observatory’s work and have an opportunity to engage with scientists and students about their work. The event allows the student to demonstrate their commitment to enhance learning outside of traditional spaces.
 
Community and citizen outreach will also occur through an online format, via the Earth Institute’s State of the Planet blog. The blog is an essential tool for scientists, students, and policymakers in educating the public about sustainable development and is a critical component of the Institute’s public outreach. The student and PIs will advance their research to a non-science audience by providing updates at various stages of the research project through this blog, which received over 720,000 page views in 2013. This helps engage the blog’s readers on important findings from the research project and how those findings contribute to our understanding of large interdisciplinary frameworks within the field of extremes in hydrology and climate.
 
The presentations and posts created will be an open source resource and made available for use in K-12 or university classrooms as well as public presentations on the Earth Institute’s website, which receives over 1.5 million page views per calendar year.
 
 
The Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory is committed to partnering with researchers and educators to develop effective means of incorporating research into learning and education at the K-12 level. The Observatory’s researchers are engaged in integrating their research activities into the teaching of science, math, and engineering at New York City public schools through the Secondary School Field Research Program (SSFRP). The focus of the SSFRP is to extend and connect our research in the wetlands of the New York metropolitan area to students and teachers in New York City science classrooms.
 
The program has been running for 10 years, and it brings high school students, high school science teachers and undergrads to the campus for 7 weeks in the summer. It is a project-based instructional program that works with approximately 8 science teachers and 40 high school students from 4 New York City public schools each summer. The program operates as a partnership between the Observatory and participating schools, which has included The Young Women’s Leadership Schools, The New York Harbor School, Curtis High School and Pan American High School. Piermont Marsh in Palisades, New York is used as the ecological centerpiece of the program and serves as the classroom for students and teachers. During this hands-on learning experience, the group is exposed to rigorous research being done on wetlands and their physical environments by research scientists doing actual fieldwork. The SSFRP is demographically very diverse with over half of the participants being young women, over 80% from ethnic groups that are under-represented in scientific professions, and over ¾ from schools that are predominantly Title I and Title III participant. SSFRP graduates have an exceptional record of graduating, getting into college, and pursuing STEM majors.
 
In addition to data collection and scientific analysis of samples collected from the Marsh, students are also required to attend ecology lectures, complete readings, and create a product at the end of the summer that gives them an opportunity to share their work with their classmates and teachers. Once the program is completed, Lamont scientists continue to support teachers in increasing lab and field content in their classroom curriculum. After the completion of the summer program, the SSFRP works year-round with students and teachers at NYC schools on after schools science projects, science fair submissions, and sending teens and undergrads to professional science meetings
 
The Observatory works with students and teachers before, during, and after the completion of the SSFRP. Many former students come back to the Observatory and assist researchers and graduate students in program operations. The program’s broader outreach goals are to create training opportunities for science teachers and interested high school students; to recruit students from under-represented groups into the natural sciences and engineering; to disseminate our research widely by getting results into the classroom and focusing on authentic research and restoration activities.
 
Examples of elements that might work into a broader impacts plan include:
 
  • Funding support for summer internships for local and NYC students in high schools interested in field-based learning, teachers interested in restoration-based curriculum, and undergraduate students interested in mentorship opportunities.
     
  • Support for curriculum development to disseminate research to school programs.
     
  •  Involvement in a consortium of science research mentoring programs operated by the AMNH, including research labs like ours alongside community organizations with an environmental research or restoration focus.
 
 
The Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory is committed to supporting the integration of research and education at the K-12 levels through our Earth2Class professional development workshops for teachers. For over 16 years, the program has extended the impact of the Observatory’s research by holding over 120 workshops. These particular workshops specialize on building collaborations between members of the research and education communities in the greater New York area in order for researchers to make meaningful contributions to STEM learning.
 
Earth2Class is a unique partnership between scientists at the Observatory, technology integration specialists from Colégio Bandeirantes in São Paulo, and classroom teachers. The structure consists of Saturday and summer workshops paired with a website with extensive curriculum materials. The workshops are centered on the theme of Earth Sciences and are aligned with state-wide learning standards and educational outcomes. A key element of these workshops is that educators will not only receive scientific talks and training on specific topics, they will also have immediate access to a range of online resources that will allow them to extend classroom learning. Teachers will get a chance to engage in professional development sessions with experts, make connections to the robust research being done at the Observatory, and learn how to develop activities in their classrooms directly linked to “real-world problems.”
 
The program’s broader impact goals are to create meaningful professional development opportunities for science teachers by bringing cutting-edge research linked to real-world problems into the classroom through collaborations with Lamont scientists. Over 300 teachers and 80 Lamont scientists have participated in these workshops since its inception in 1998. The program addresses important challenges in Earth Science education and provides support to local teachers with the adoption of Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and Next Generation Standards (NGSS), networking with other local science teachers, opportunities to hear directly from scientists, and access to field experiences and links to professional society resources.
 
Examples of elements that might work into a broader impacts plan include:
 
  • Funding for Mike Passow to integrate research from your proposal by running a 1-day Earth2Class workshop for teachers at the middle and high school levels. Passow will work with principal investigators to provide background information to on the science content, teaching strategies for specific learning outcomes, and sample hands-on activities related to your work. The research generated from your proposals will be integrated into these tailored workshops. The workshops will be used to disseminate information and resources to teachers in an accessible and effective way that allows them to apply what they’ve learned into their classrooms to meet common core state standards in science.
     
  • Funding for Mike Passow to make the research accessible and understandable to teachers at the middle and high school levels by developing online educational resources for the Earth2Class website. This would result in wide dissemination for students and teachers. The website steadily receives about 150,000 hits per month
 
 
The Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory is committed to advancing scientific discovery and integrating research and education through the development of multi-generational programming at the Core Repository. The Observatory’s Core Repository is able to effectively integrate research, data, and education in geosciences through its outreach activities that combines learning with the excitement of discovery and understanding. Communicating geosciences and supporting student learning as they make important connections between historic samples and present day physical environments is central to the mission of the Core Repository and the Observatory.
 
The Core Repository contains one of the world’s most important collections of scientific samples from the deep sea, with over 20,000 sediment cores, from every major ocean and sea. In addition to the physical samples, a database of the Lamont core collection has been maintained for over 50 years and contains information on the geographic location of each collection site, core length, mineralogy, paleontology, lithology, and structure.
 
The Repository is dedicated to learning outside of the classroom and providing students with opportunities to apply their scientific knowledge and skills to their environment and surroundings. In an effort to enhance science education for students and the public, the Core Repository hosts one-day events for science exploration that are easily adaptable for different audiences. The Repository has welcomed middle and high school students, cub scouts, journalists, and even an astronaut in the last year, to tour its facilities and historic sediment core collections. The tours introduce teachers, students, and other guests to the important role that sediment collections play in understanding Earth processes such as climate change, ocean acidification, and tectonics. The Repository’s knowledgeable curator delivers hands-on activities at interactive exhibits for visitors and its programming has made a significant impact on visitors and their learning as well as the development of research-based educational materials for science education.
 
Examples of elements that might work into a broader impacts plan include:
 
  • Support for the Lab to integrate your research into educational materials and demonstrations for educators and school groups that visit. The materials developed will be based on cutting-edge science focused on scientific inquiry, which engages students in the STEM fields. The activities and materials will also be available for teachers and students to bring back to schools and incorporate it into other aspects of science education.
 
Polar and Climate Educational Activities
 
The Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory is committed to integrating research and education at the K-12 levels through the creation of research-based educational materials and contributions to curriculum development that strengthen the teaching of STEM fields. This involves training and supporting teachers in developing effective pedagogic approaches to science teaching and facilitating student learning by integrating research activities into classrooms. The Observatory is dedicated to extending the impact of its climate change research beyond academia through workshops and community events. Our researchers believe that connecting their research to the general public is an important piece of the Observatory’s science education mission and this communication will be key for building future capacity in STEM careers.
 
The Observatory and the Marine Geology and Geophysics team are collaborators in a comprehensive partnership to develop educational materials and activities for the teaching of climate change in the Polar Regions throughout local middle and high schools. One of the activities is Polar I.C.E. (Interaction Climate Education), where the focus is on using background scientific information, graphics from research publications, and actual field data collected by principal investigators at the Observatory, to introduce students to a variety of scientific concepts and research findings. Another activity is the Polar Weekends Project in partnership with the American Museum of Natural History, Barnard College, Columbia University, the Explorers Club, and Wings WorldQuest, which brings students from middle and high schools together for a weekend of interactive science through a series of hands-on activities on polar topics from Sea Ice, Sea level Rise, and Ice Cores.
 
Examples of elements that might work into a broader impacts plan include:
 
  • Funding support for Margie Turrin to promote the teaching of climate change concepts through the creation of engaging resources using new research and datasets generated by the Marine Geology and Geophysics team.
     
  • Funding support for Margie Turrin to run professional development workshops to assist teachers with integrating new resources into their classroom teaching that are in line with Common Core State Standards and Next Generation Science Standards. This will allow teachers to disseminate Lamont’s datasets and research into their Earth Science curriculum.
 
A Day in the Life of the Hudson River
 
The Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory is committed to citizen science education that extends the impact of the Observatory’s research, advances discovery, and promotes teacher training and learning through our Day in the Life of the Hudson program.
 
This program enhances data infrastructure for research and education in schools and allows educators to integrate student research into the teaching of science, math, and engineering at all educational levels. Fostering public participation in scientific research and communicating findings is an essential component of the Observatory’s educational programming and mission. In partnership with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the Observatory has worked with researchers and educators to sample, learn, and engage with the Hudson River through hands-on experiments for the past 11 years.
 
The interactive program has seen over 23,000 participants, including students and educators, to collect data along different sites by the river regarding currents, salinity levels, and vegetation. After analyzing and compiling their samples, students are able to construct a comprehensive picture of the dynamics along the Hudson River estuary. This growing program gives students the opportunity to interact with the project and their local environment, which not only encourages them to be active participants in their own learning but also allows them to contribute to scientific research.
 
The data collected is shared with all participants through an electronic data library and discussion is encouraged throughout the year across different grade levels, students, and schools. In addition to the data collection by students, researchers at the Observatory also use the data for teachers in professional development workshops who are developing curriculum pieces and learning activities for classroom use.
 
Examples of elements that might work in a broader impacts plan include:
 
  • Funding support for Margie Turrin to work with educators to prepare content for the day to facilitate data collection and experiments. Turrin will tailor programming for the day’s events to components of your research and will work with researchers to create appropriate support activities and interactive learning stations that are directly related to a specific theme. Age-appropriate lessons will be prepared and Turrin will ensure that the information collected and disseminated will be communicated effectively to the public via online resources.
     
  •  Funding support for Margie Turrin to work with developers to create open source tools and websites that would allow students and teachers access to the data to use at their convenience in the classrooms. A website with these datasets would also allow educators who may not have participated in the actual events access to rich data that is relevant and important to use in their classrooms when studying topics related to monitoring changes in local environments
 
 
The Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory is committed to supporting the development of resources for innovative K-12 education activities. The Observatory’s research scientists are dedicated to developing research-informed educational materials and databases that are instrumental to improving the teaching of STEM subjects. The Observatory is also involved in partnerships with educators to develop effective means of incorporating research into existing science education programs in schools.
 
In collaboration with the Liberty Science Center, Observatory scientists have worked with master teachers to create activities in which students interpret carefully selected snippets of authentic science data to extract insights about the workings of the Earth and environment. The puzzles are carefully tested in middle and high school classrooms prior to its implementation and have promoted an innovative approach to helping educators identify student misconceptions and stumbling blocks.
 
Currently, a suite of 6 puzzles have been developed that allow students to experience the “aha moment” at the heart of scientific discovery while strengthening quantitative reasoning and knowledge integration skills. Scientists and teachers can continue to collaborate on creating a library of digital datasets that facilitate the teaching of science concepts in middle and high schools with new research throughout the school year. Building an inventory of puzzles will incorporate scientific inquiry with technology literacy to create an enhanced classroom learning experience where students can apply their knowledge and skills to real world data in order to address problems.
 
Examples of elements that might work into a broader impacts plan include:
 
  • Funding support for Data Puzzles PI to work with middle and high school teachers to use your research, data, and models to develop new lessons and datasets, incorporate new technologies and tools, and introduce new learning modules into the classroom. The resources would align with curriculum standards in information systems, interconnected and interdisciplinary problem solving, and key ideas in systems thinking, connections, and patterns of change.
 
Broader Impacts Area 4: Broad dissemination to enhance scientific and technological understanding
 
 
The Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory is committed to the integration of research and education through the encouragement of open scientific communication to the public. The Observatory has a long history of public education through its daylong Open House events featuring free lectures, demonstrations, and workshops. Every year, the Observatory, in partnership with its research scientists, the Department of Earth and Environmental Science, and various research centers within the Earth institute at Columbia University, develop an innovative program to extend and share important research findings beyond the academic community.
 
Through hands-on exhibits, demonstrations, and presentations, Lamont researchers demonstrate their commitment to enhance learning outside of the classroom by sharing actual research data, inspiring curiosity among children, and creating connections with the community. Audiences of all ages are introduced to concepts in Earth Science and have an opportunity to explore the interdisciplinary projects that the Observatory’s scientists are engaged in. Demonstrations have included learning about efforts to make a bicycle made of bamboo as a sustainable mode of transportation in Africa; rocks and minerals from around the world; and a tour of the rock mechanics lab to see high-pressure rigs that are used in experiments that demonstrate important earthquake concepts. This annual one-day event draws over 3,000 visitors with its programming
 
The Observatory works with its research staff to develop age-appropriate and interactive demonstrations and presentations for this event. Observatory staff work with various departments to create hands-on educational activities that foster science literacy and integrate cross-disciplinary techniques for meaningful communication with the public. The Communications and Development teams manage all logistical details, including advertising and marketing, set-up and follow-up.
 
Examples of elements that might work into a broader impacts plan include:
 
  • Funding support for school groups in the local area to visit the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory for a field trip to see a selection of activities from Open House. Students will have the opportunity to hear from researchers about their current work, our state-of-the-art labs, and have access to interactive demonstrations and presentations. Your specific research can be incorporated into their visit through a visit to your lab or through hands-on activities that are of an interdisciplinary nature.
     
  • Funding support for researchers to develop hands-on/interactive exhibits specifically for Open House based on research findings from proposals.