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The department is home to a number of activities that foster a sense of community and celebrate and support our students, research staff and faculty.

Community Space. Completed in early 2020, the community space is exactly as it sounds – a comfortable place where department members can gather to collaborate or socialize.

Community space open house

Department members celebrate the new community space with an open house.

New Student Welcome Picnic. Each fall, our department spends an afternoon at a local park to get to know our new students, postdoctoral fellows, research staff and faculty. A catered lunch, live music and games follow.

Band plays at picnic

Department and CIRA members perform at the New Student Welcome Picnic in 2017.

School is Cool Weekly Summer Barbecues. Our local AMS student chapter, FORTCAST, hosts weekly summer cookouts to raise funds to fill backpacks with school supplies for local elementary students. In addition to supporting our community, the cookouts strengthen personal connections among students, staff and faculty across our department.

students at barbecue

Cultural Jamboree. Our inaugural Cultural Jamboree was held in September 2020 and featured presentations by several of our international and U.S.-based students. Students discussed topics ranging from formative experiences that led them to study atmospheric science to descriptions of foods and communication styles unique to their home cultures.

Annual Awards Celebration. This event begins with a formal presentation recognizing faculty and staff for society awards and years of service, and students for their awards and fellowships. The celebration continues at a local pub, where members of the department enjoy a meal, socializing and playing games.

People gathered in Coopersmith's game room

Department Head Jeff Collett and Rick Schulte announce awards in Coopersmith’s game room.

ATS International Student and Scholar Association (ATSISSA). ATSISSA serves as a support network that helps incoming international students and scholars adjust to the new environment and aims to increase cultural diversity and cross-cultural communication in the department. The association was established in January 2021. ATSISSA will help with the transition to life in Fort Collins from the start by picking up new students from Denver International Airport as soon as they arrive! The association provides a platform for building a community among international students. We welcome all international students and scholars to join us.

If you need any help or more information, feel free to reach out to our board members by email:

Student Mentoring. Students in the department developed a mentoring initiative, the ATS Mentoring Program (AMP), in summer 2021. AMP establishes a mentorship “pod” consisting of a more-senior student, a research staff member and a faculty member for all interested students to complement mentoring from their research adviser(s). Mentor training also is provided to potential mentors. Future expansions planned for AMP include a mentoring initiative for students transitioning from the M.S. to Ph.D. program, as well as for students close to finishing their degree who are looking to network with alumni and other professionals on career paths similar to those they are interested in pursuing.

Interested in mentoring incoming students? Fill out the form here.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI)-Themed Seminars. Each semester, we invite a seminar speaker to give a DEI-themed presentation to help guide our ongoing efforts to be better stewards of DEI within our department, university, and scientific and local communities.