I am delighted to announce that Kadidia Thiero has been chosen to lead UCAR's SOARS Program (Significant Opportunities in Atmospheric Research and Science), following a nationwide search. She will begin her UCAR role in mid-February.
Kadidia comes to UCAR from Howard University, where she has been the outreach administrator for the NOAA Center for Atmospheric Sciences (NCAS). This included managing and executing their undergraduate summer internship program, which recruits diverse students from across the U.S. to work on atmospheric science projects with science professionals and faculty at NOAA and NCAS partner institutions. She also managed and supported NCAS K-12 programs, external science activities, and community science demonstrations at DC-area secondary schools.
In anticipation of this announcement, UCAR Community Programs Director Bill Kuo said, "Kadidia's many years' experience in education and outreach, particularly in working with underrepresented groups, and her outstanding management and people skills will bring significant benefits to our organization and the scientific community we serve. I fully expect Kadidia to lead SOARS to the next level of success."
After graduating with a B.A., cum laude, in Spanish language and literature at Howard University, Kadidia earned an M.A. in Latin American studies from Georgetown University, and a certificate in Spanish history and culture from the University of Salamanca, Spain. Her work prior to NCAS includes articulating and implementing a parental and community engagement strategy for The Education Trust, a national organization based in Washington, DC, consulting with the DC Association of Chartered Public Schools in partnership with the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and teaching at the University of the District of Columbia Community College.
My thanks to the members of the search committee: Rebecca Haacker (NCAR E&O director and past SOARS director), Aaron Pina (SOARS alumnus and staff scientist with Aeris), Keith Maull (NCAR Library and SOARS staff member), Kristen Luna Aponte (UCAR Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion), and Scott Landolt (RAL). I would also like to thank SOARS Program Administrator Laura Duggan and the staff of SOARS and SciEd for their contributions to the hiring process. And special thanks to Rebecca, along with Thomas Windham (SOARS Senior Advisor and Inaugural Director), and SOARS alumna Waleska Rivera-Shon, who served as Interim SOARS Lead. Each has stepped in to assist in valuable ways in the interim period after Bec Batchelor stepped down from SOARS leadership in 2018.
"We are very excited that Kadidia is joining us as the new SOARS Program Lead. She is a well-respected member of the REU community of NSF-funded internship programs and brings a wealth of experience as the coordinator of the CAREERS Weather Camps and the USIP undergraduate internship at NCAS/Howard University," says Rebecca. "She is a great new colleague for SOARS and UCAR and will be a key partner in continuing the efforts to make the Earth system sciences a more inclusive and diverse field. I am looking forward to her leadership of SOARS and can't wait to work with her!"
Since its founding in 1996, SOARS has focused on broadening participation by students from underrepresented groups in atmospheric and related Earth system science. During that time, SOARS alumni have earned 183 Bachelor degrees, 112 master's degrees and 43 Ph.D.s Kadidia's vision for building on past successes and strengthening alumni engagement will serve the program and our community well going into the future.