Professional Development

Preparing for a career in atmospheric or oceanic sciences is an investment in your future. If research experience is what you seek, please check ATOC's Undergraduate Research Opportunities page for updated research and funding opportunities. 

The University of Colorado Office of Career Services also has a plethora of information aimed to help students develop professionally and find employment once finished with their studies. 

Professional Development Course

ATOC offers a 1-credit seminar for ATOC majors and minors on professional development. This course was developed by Prof. Katja Friedrich and is now regularly offered by Prof. Jennifer Kay. The course provides students the experience of being part of a cohort of scholars with similar interests and a common focus. It includes faculty and student presentations of research opportunities and activities within the department, fellowship and internship opportunities; discussion on practical skills necessary for academic and professional life career-building activities such as discussions with outside speakers and alumni from academia and industry; and field trips to local laboratories and businesses. The course is also designed to find at least one friend on the faculty or students in ATOC to whom they can go for advice outside of the normal academic advising channels. Even though it is not a required course, we strongly encourage students to enroll.

Pursuing a Graduate Degree

For undergraduates interested in attending graduate school in atmospheric and/or oceanic sciences, be sure to check out the current rankings of top graduate schools in atmospheric and oceanic sciences before deciding on where to apply. For students interested in applying to ATOC to continue their graduate work, please navigate to our page for prospective graduate students in ATOC

Developing Teaching Skills

Undergraduates interesting in teaching can become Learning Assistants (LAs) for ATOC courses. LAs are undergraduate students who, through the guidance of weekly preparation sessions and a pedagogy course, facilitate discussions among groups of students in a variety of classroom settings that encourage active engagement. In ATOC, LAs facilitate learning in ATOC 1050 Introduction to Weather and the Atmosphere and ATOC 1060 Our Changing Environment. LAs contribute to these classes by leading active learning activities in lecture and by offering small group learning sessions that incorporate hands-on learning outside of lecture.

LA Graph

In addition to enhancing student learning (above graph), the LA Program provides opportunities for LAs to gain additional knowledge of the course content and experience leading small groups of students. ATOC LAs have reported that the experience of being an LAs has “given them the opportunity to deepen their understanding of material in ATOC 1050”, “taught them public speaking, and a new sense of confidence relaying information to a larger group of people”, and “pushed them to learn more and presented unique views on education.”

For more ATOC-specific LA information please see this article or contact ATOC's LA coordinator, Dr. Melissa Nigro

ATOC Industry Night

In Spring 2019, ATOC hosted our first Industry Night where ATOC undergraduate and graduate students met with industry representatives from NOAA, NCAR, NREL, Google, Ball Aerospace, WeatherNation, and Jupiter Intelligence in the SEEC Café. Attendees discussed potential internships and employment opportunities, and in addition learned which professional attributes were most sought after in each industrial arena. Prior to Industry Night, students were offered a Industry Night Workshop to help them hone their resumes/CVs and elevator pitches, as well as to help them develop questions they could ask industry representatives. Feedback on the event and associated workshop was unanimously positive and thus another Industry Night will run during AY 2019-2020. Please monitor your CU email for updates on these upcoming events. 

ATOC Industry Night in Spring 2019