LEAP’s education programs foster convergence of climate science and data science, and vertical integration of research and education, forging a learning community including K-12 teachers, undergraduate, graduate, postdoc, faculty and other stakeholders, promoting a shared mission of societal impact, a collaborative culture, peer learning and mentoring, and the responsible/ ethical use of data.

Our curriculum is tightly connected with our research and provides multiple entryways into Climate Data Science to both undergraduate and graduates students from climate and data science backgrounds. LEAP offers immersive and inclusive research experience programs to undergraduates and K-12 teachers. Jointly with LEAP’s DEI efforts, our education programs strive to broaden and diversify the talent pipelines into Climate Science and Data Science.

LEAP’s education and outreach programs allow LEAP researchers to amplify their research’s societal impact by engaging in activities such as mentoring, communication, translation, human-centered design, curriculum development, and evaluation and assessment.


Through the Design Studio, LEAP will integrate course-based research experiences into existing curriculum in climate science and data science across LEAP’s institutions. In addition, LEAP will develop three new transdisciplinary courses that will train a next generation of Climate Data Scientists.

Climate Prediction Challenges. Through a sequence of mini-project “challenges”, this course provides students a deeper understanding on using machine learning for climate Predictions. It provides training on a broad set of practical skills for climate data science research (e.g., handling geoscience big data formats (netCDF, HDF, Zarr), data curation, cleaning and transformation, building ML workflow, and collaboration using Git and GitHub). It will also offer discussions on the opportunities and challenges of using climate projections when designing social policy.

LEAP Research Seminars: LEAP-Sem-1 and LEAP-Sem-2. These research seminars will be designed and led by LEAP’s Convergence Committee. It exposes climate science students to cutting-edge machine learning methodologies, and data science students to open climate and ESM parameterization open problems. Students from both disciplines will collaborate in research discussion and projects. A strong emphasis is placed on reproducibility and ethics.

Certificate and Fellowship Program

LEAP will launch a Certificate in Climate Data Science program. The certificate requires four courses, with Climate and Big Data (or equivalent core literacies in climate and data sciences) as prerequisites:

  • a cross-disciplinary elective
    • a data science elective for a climate science student; e.g., Humans and the Carbon Cycle (DEES GU4020).
    • a climate science elective for a data science student; e.g., Statistical Machine Learning (STAT GR5241).
  • Climate Prediction Challenges (under development; see LEAP Curriculum for description.)
  • LEAP Seminars: LEAP-Sem1 and LEAP-Sem2 (under development; see LEAP Curriculum for description.)

A limited number of LEAP fellowships (summer or year-long) will be available for students who will participate in the certificate program.

Summer 2022: Call for LEAP Momentum Summer Fellows

Research Experiences for Undergraduates

LEAP will offer research experiences for undergraduate students as summer research internships as part of the Summer at SEAS program, which supports summer undergraduate researchers with enrichment learning and networking opportunities. Details are available here.

Lab to School Summer Institute for K-12 teachers

LEAP will engage New York City K-12 teachers through a Summer Institute on Climate Data Science, spearheaded by Teachers College’s Center for Sustainable Futures, which facilitates research on educational practices and translation of research into action through dissemination to educators, parents, and the public. The Summer Institute will be a five-day professional development workshop introducing teachers to climate data science for prototyping teaching units aligned with New York State science standards. All teaching units and related materials will be posted online and disseminated through a webinar series; these materials will each be translated into Spanish, broadening potential participation from historically underserved communities.

Design Studio: Research-Education Integration

The Design Studio develops case studies and formal curricula for all LEAP education programs, while training graduate interns in curriculum development. Receiving course credit, interns will learn human-centered design, acquire experience with raw geoscience datasets, and develop metacognitive skills that advance their climate data science skills. The Design Studio will also organize an annual “train the trainer” two-day workshop.

Broadening Participation

LEAP will partner with Columbia’s Bridge-to-PhD in STEM program and the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR)’s Significant Opportunities in Atmospheric Research and Science (SOARS) program to increase the participation of students from underrepresented groups in STEM doctoral programs.

Partnering with the National Society of Black Engineers and the New York City Office of the Mayor, LEAP will organize hackathons for climate data science, hosted by the Trust for Governors Island. LEAP will also partner with museums and STEM programs to broaden participation.​

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