This page offers guidance for students wishing to participate in undergraduate research within ATOC and beyond. Participating in research during your undergraduate career can enhance your overall education and career outlook in many ways:

  • Discover, and differentiate between, potential career pathways
  • Apply materials and methods you've learned in class to current research problems
  • Acquire marketable skills for future research or employment opportunities
  • Build valuable relationships with faculty and other research professionals
  • Discern whether graduate school is your next best step

Finding a research group 

Research opportunities are often found by talking to your professors or by contacting local research groups and laboratories.  Researchers frequently promote opportunities to undergraduate ATOC students via email so be sure to check your inbox! Make sure to peruse the faculty profiles and their associate research sites to get an idea of what opportunities exist for you. Faculty and other research professionals are passionate about potential projects with undergraduates, yet mentoring an undergraduate research project is an appreciable commitment. As such, please consider the following when preparing for a meeting with a potential mentor so that both parties can accurately and efficiently assess the alignment of goals, interests, timing, and relevant skills:

  • Make your first contact far in advance of your desired starting date
  • Indicate a general area of research that you are most interested in
  • List the optimal number of hours per week you'd like to dedicate to research
  • State whether you are interested in working during the school year or over the summer (or both!)
  • Voice whether you will apply for funding or instead will seek to earn independent study or honor's credit
  • Outline your relevant coursework
  • Provide your Curriculum Vitae with class year, GPA, and references on your research potential if possible. 

Current Research Opportunities in ATOC

The following posts represent groups that are actively seeking undergraduate research or professional help for an ongoing or imminent project. These posts do not represent the only research opportunities within the department at this time, so feel free to contact any ATOC faculty group to inquire about research potential.

  • Climate Dynamics Group with Dr. Jennifer Kay
    • 1-2 undergraduate research positions will be available in Summer 2019
    •  Students interested in research that aims to differentiate climate change from natural climate variabilty are encouraged to apply 
    • Using analysis of climate model simulations from the CESM Large Ensemble Community Project as their primary tool, students will identify specific research projects based on personal interest
    • Expected hours per week will depend on each student's availabilty, required credit hours, and project needs or scope
    • Programming, climate modeling, and data analysis (e.g., working with netcdf files) experience through ATOC 4500 Climate Modeling  or ATOC 4500 Scientific Programming and Data Visualization coursework is preferred 
    • Funding is available for this work, and results will be presented at either the CESM Workshop in Colorado in June, or at a national meeting (e.g., AGU, AMS)
    • Contact Dr. Jennifer Kay for more information


  • Skywatch Observatory Student Internship Summer 2019
    • The Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences at the University of Colorado is seeking a currently enrolled student to assist with environmental instrumentation and website improvement for the Skywatch Atmospheric Observatory located on the CU Boulder campus. We seek an individual, familiar with Python, IDL, and Labview programming. Basic knowledge of data acquisition systems and environmental monitoring instrumentation is also desired. Internship activities will focus on improving observatory data quality, data access, web site functionality, instrument electronics development. This is a summer, part-time position (15-20 hours per week) with the pay rate depending on experience level. 

    • Responsibilities

      • Develop microcontroller based data acquisition electronics and software for environmental sensors.

      • Improve web site functionality and data access.

      • Create web based interactive plot routines

    • Desired qualifications

      • Proficiency in Labview, IDL, and Python programming

      • Experience with Windows OS

      • Superior communication skills

      • Microcontroller hardware and software development experience

      • HTML and PHP coding

    • Contact Scott Kittelman for more information 

Research Opportunities Outside of ATOC

For guidance on external funding and internship opportunities, navigate here.