Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research to Welcome 31 Lapenta Interns this Summer

  • 20 April 2021

The William M. Lapenta NOAA Student Internship Program is pleased to announce the selection of an excellent class of 54 interns across Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR) , the National Weather Service (NWS), and the National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS) for summer 2021. OAR will welcome 31 of the interns. The program addresses NOAA's goal of a diverse and highly trained workforce as well as OAR's specific skill needs. CPO coordinates the Lapenta Internship for OAR and manages the process by which OAR students are provided with stipends, travel and housing when applicable through its cooperative agreement with the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR).

The program will run from June 7 to August 13. Almost 300 strong applications were received, making the decision process challenging. The Lapenta program initially screens applicants for overall qualifications, skills, and alignment with NOAA and Line Office missions, but the selections are made by the hosts themselves.

The group is one of the most diverse cohorts to date for the program, which began in 2017 as the NCEP Student Internship. Of those who provided demographic information on their application (only 3 declined to answer), four identified as Black and eight as Hispanic/Latinx, groups traditionally underrepresented in STEM generally and in the NOAA mission fields in particular. Five identified as Asian and approximately ⅔ of the class are women. Achieving these results was a team effort, which involved strategizing with diversity and inclusion staff as well as targeted outreach to a wide array of diverse professional organizations, universities, and student groups. The program hopes to improve upon this benchmark in 2022.

In OAR, the call for mentors led to the submission of more than 45 projects, submitted by staff from ESRL,  Pacific Marine Environmental Lab (PMEL), Atlantic Oceanographic & Meteorological Lab (AOML), Great Lakes Environmental Research Lab (GLERL), Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Lab (GFDL), Air Resources Lab (ARL), Weather Program Office (WPO), Ocean Exploration and Research (OER), Global Ocean Monitoring and Observing (GOMO), and  Ocean Acidification Program (OAP). The program anticipated supporting 20 interns in OAR. However, in light of the ongoing pandemic, the program was forced to offer the internship remotely this summer, allowing the acceptance of 31 interns across the labs and programs with the additional students supported by unused housing funds.

Lapenta intern projects are strongly oriented toward physical sciences, including weather and climate prediction and atmospheric and oceanic processes. But they also include social science, decision support, and education and outreach. Past interns have described the experience as life-changing and several have been hired at NOAA following completion of their degree. The program looks forward to introducing this year’s interns to NOAA staff in June.





DEIA Working Group

The Climate Program Office (CPO) seeks to advance scientific understanding, monitoring, and prediction of climate and its impacts to enable effective decisions. It is our vision that CPO reflects and leverages the talent and diversity of its employees to ensure people, businesses, and the environment continue to thrive in the face of climate impacts.

CPO’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) Working Group was formed in the summer of 2020 in response to civil rights movements across the country. CPO leadership recognized the importance of acknowledging the pain of the nation (and staff members) and of taking action to improve DEIA initiatives and direction within the Climate Program Office. The CPO DEIA Working Group was subsequently formed. The DEIA Working Group developed a 4-year, 20-page, strategic plan to address issues within the office as well as improve outreach, targeted recruitment, and DEIA training opportunities across CPO.

Read the CPO DEIA Strategic Plan »



Outreach and Volunteer Efforts

CPO continues to look for opportunities to give back and contribute to our local area. Past examples of our efforts include:

CPO ‘Giveback’ Drives

    Winter 2020: CPO staff donated over 100 food and hygiene bags to the Bowie Interfaith Works Food Shelter as well as a $200 money order for the DC Central Kitchen soup kitchen and shelter.

    Summer 2021: CPO staff donated approximately $700 to Covenant House DC.

Earth Day Clean Up

CPO staff donated their time to clean up the Anacostia Watershed, a wetland area within an urban park that feeds into the Northwest branch of the Anacostia.

CPO staff holding food and hygiene bags

CPO Staff prepared and delivered 100+ food and hygiene bags to Bowie Interfaith Works Food Shelter




NOAA & NOAA Research Resources

CPO is a part of the NOAA Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR). OAR’s unique role in NOAA’s mission of science, service and stewardship demands a diverse workforce to reflect, understand, and respond to the varied communities and stakeholders we serve. Equally important is an equitable and inclusive work environment that enhances organizational performance. OAR’s sustained commitment to strengthen diversity and equity, and nurture a culture of inclusion, is critical to the success of the preeminent research required to support weather and climate forecasting, understand and predict Earth systems, promote sustainable economic uses of America’s oceans, Great Lakes and coasts, and support communities and ecosystems so they are resilient to inevitable change.

If you'd like to learn more about NOAA and OAR efforts to increase and improve knowledge and understanding of diversity, equity, and inclusion issues, please follow these links for additional information:




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Americans’ health, security and economic wellbeing are tied to climate and weather. Every day, we see communities grappling with environmental challenges due to unusual or extreme events related to climate and weather.