The Los Alamos Space Weather Summer School: Career and Research Benefits to Students and Mentors

Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Misa Cowee, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM, United States
This last summer we held the 4th Los Alamos Space Weather Summer School. This 8-week long program is designed for mid-career graduate students in related fields to come to LANL, receive lectures on space physics and space environment topics, and carry out a research project under the mentorship of LANL staff members. On average we have accepted ~10 students per year to the program, with a strong applicant pool to choose from. This type of summer school program is relatively unique in the space physics community—there are several other summer schools but they are of shorter duration and do not include the mentor-research project aspect which builds a strong one-on-one connection between the summer student and his/her LANL mentor(s). From the LANL perspective, this program was intended to have several benefits including building collaborations between LANL staff and universities and recruitment of potential postdocs. From the student perspective, this program is not only an educational opportunity but a strong networking opportunity and a chance to enhance their professional skills and publication record. Students are permitted to work on projects directly related to their thesis or on projects in areas that are completely new to them. At the end of the summer school, the students also develop their presentation skills by preparing and giving 20 min presentations on their research projects to the research group. Over the past four years the summer school has increased in popularity, and the feedback from the student participants has been very positive. Alumni of the program have continued collaborations with their mentors, resulting in publications and conference presentations, and one postdoc hire to date.