The main outreach activity was an Open House at the Salt Lake City airport on Friday 22 March. We had approximately 60 visitors at this event. This included faculty, as well as undergraduate and graduate students from the Department of Atmospheric Science at the University of Utah. Several faculty and students brought their families to the open house, which included many K-12 students. We also hosted the Honors Chemistry students and the AP Environmental Science classes from the Salt Lake Center for Science Education High School. This free charter high school (http://slcse.weebly.com) focuses on providing exceptional STEM education to a socio-economically diverse student body. This school has a unique model, as a partnership between the Salt Lake City School District and the University of Utah. This open house provided an excellent opportunity for these students to further engage with the Department of Atmospheric Science at the University of Utah, while learning more about airborne atmospheric and environmental science possibilities with a research aircraft such as University of Wyoming King Air. Some images of this lively event are in Fig. 2.
Additional educational impacts
There are several tangential impacts resulting from the TECPEC campaign:
- The Ute Weather Center (https://www.atmos.utah.edu/ute-weather/), an undergraduate student-run and student-led operational forecast center at the University of Utah, provided several weather forecasts that were used for daily flight planning each week of TECPEC. This was a very valuable experience for these students, as they do plan on careers in operational forecasting after graduation. The chief meteorologist of the Ute Weather Center, Eric McNamee, was able to fly aboard the King Air also.
- Finally, there was a group of ~8 students from Texas A&M (in Dr. Sarah Brooks’ class) that participated peripherally with one flight (RF03) over Storm Peak Lab. The storm sampled was an exceptionally intense one (the High Plains “bomb”) and studying it from Storm Peak Lab on top of a mountain stirred much excitement amongst the students.
Fig. 2: Images from the Open House (top two rows) and from balloon launches (bottom row) at the UU campus (left) and at the foot of the Wasatch range (right).