Tech Student Soars into Research Program, May 3, 2001

Michael Ray Johnson SOCORRO, N.M., May 3, 2001 -- Michael Ray Johnson, a senior majoring in computer science at New Mexico Tech, recently was named one of about 40 students nationwide who have been accepted as participants, or "protégés," in the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research's (UCAR) Significant Opportunities in Atmospheric Science and Research (SOARS) Program.

Established in 1996, SOARS is an intensive mentoring and research internship program which is designed to increase the number of African American, American Indian, and Hispanic students enrolled in master's and doctoral degree programs in atmospheric sciences and related fields.

Johnson, a native of Paguate, N. M., and a member of the Laguna Tribe, is the son of Audrey M. Johnson and the late Bernard W. Johnson.

As a SOARS protégé, Johnson will spend the first summer of the four-year program on a paid internship at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) or UCAR facilities in Boulder, Colo., and will spend subsequent summers actively participating in ongoing research projects at NCAR, UCAR, or one of several DOE, NASA, or National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) national laboratories.

Johnson, a graduate of both West Mesa High School and Southwest Indian Polytechnic Institute (SIPI) in Albuquerque, worked for a year at Intel Corporation in Rio Rancho before he began pursuing his bachelor of science degree at New Mexico Tech.

He currently attends the state-supported research university on a New Mexico Tech Transfer Excel Scholarship and an Alliance for Minority Participation Scholarship.

While at SIPI, Johnson was a member of the American Indian Society of Engineers and Scientists (AISES) and Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society of two-year colleges.

Recently, he served as a judge for a science competition held in conjunction with the annual New Mexico Mathematics, Engineering, and Science Achievement (MESA) Jamboree.

"New Mexico Tech is a very challenging school," Johnson says, "but I'm glad to be enrolled at one of the best engineering schools in the nation."