Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences

CIRES Early-Career Assembly (CECA)

CECA connects and creates a supportive environment for graduate students and postdocs who come from various academic units to do research in CIRES

Two students wearing gloves study and manipulate an apple tree branch
CIRES PhD student Deidre Jaeger (left) prepares to inoculate an apple tree leaf with Fire Blight for an undergraduate class she taught in 2019. The students then studied the outcome.
- Katie Weeman/CIRES

For graduate students and postdocs, the CIRES Early-Career Assembly (originally: Graduate Association) was created in the fall of 2008 to provide connection and support for early-career researchers who come from various academic units to do research in CIRES. Initally for graduate students only, the CIRES Early-Career Assembly expanded in 2013 to include postdoctoral researchers, better integrating them into the CIRES community, and facilitating a mentoring environment. All graduate and postdoctoral researchers who are advised or hosted by a CIRES fellow or researcher, or who serve as a research assistant for one of the CIRES research units, are welcome into the CECA. The Assembly sponsors a range of activities from academic to social, focusing on building collaboration among early-career researchers, fostering interdisciplinary discourse, and honing science communication skills. The CECA also supports the CIRES Travel Award, the Graduate Student Research Award Program, maintains a Career Opportunities Board, and hosts a series of events to support the development of ancillary career skills.

Are you a graduate student or postdoc with plans to present your work at a conference? Apply for a CIRES CECA Travel Award! You may receive reimbursements up to $750 for domestic travel and $1500 for international travel. Please refer to the information below for further details and the application link.


For CIRES graduate students who are advised by a CIRES Fellow or CIRES Center Faculty member, or working as a CIRES Graduate Research Assistant, or on fellowship through CIRES or the CU Boulder Graduate School.  

For CIRES postdocs with supervisors or science advisors who are either a CIRES Fellow or CIRES Center Faculty member, or on fellowship through CIRES.

Only currently enrolled CIRES graduate students in good academic standing or currently employed postdocs may apply.

Only those who are presenting their research at a conference are eligible (posters included).

In light of COVID-19, we are accepting applications to cover costs associated with presenting at virtual events.

Application Criteria:

Students must seek financing from their advisors (or supervisors) first, and apply for the CECA award only if funding is not currently available through their advisors (or supervisors). Special consideration will be given to those who have not had ample opportunities to attend conferences due to lack of funding.

The travel award supports graduate students and postdocs presenting their work at meetings that have yet to occur by the announcement date of each application (please review the dates below). Applications for travel to complete fieldwork or other research will not be funded.

Please be aware that receiving a CIRES CECA Travel Award may disqualify you from eligibility for other travel awards. Please carefully check the terms and conditions for any of the travel awards for which you are applying. You are responsible for determining your eligibility for other awards that you may receive. The good news is that receiving travel assistance from another organization will NOT disqualify you from competing for the CECA Travel Award.

Application Location with Important Dates:

Spring 2024 Application Link
Open - February 1st
Deadline - February 22nd by 11:59 p.m.
Award Announcements - February 29th

*Expenses must occur between March 1st and June 30th.

We will open the applications for Fall 2024 in June 2024.

Post Award:
If selected, you will receive instructions for how to receive reimbursement by the CIRES post-award team. Successful applicants may be asked to provide proof of attendance (PDF poster, or other reference) within 10 days of completion of travel.

We look forward to assisting you with your travel arrangements!

CECA Co-Chairs

Last Updated: 09/26/2023

The CIRES Early-Career Assembly (CECA) co-chairs act as a community resource for the graduate students and postdocs of CIRES. As a co-chair, you will work as a team with CECA Advisor, currently Christine Wiedinmyer, to develop and implement events for CIRES graduate students and postdocs.

These events are meant to assist CECA members in their professional development as scientists, science communicators, and leaders in science. CECA co-chairs assist in the administration of the annual CIRES Graduate Travel Award. The CECA chairs also act to communicate opportunities within CIRES to CECA members. In the past, events that the CECA has hosted have included, but are not limited to, the CIRES Perks, professional development lunches, CECA academic and non-academic career events, graduate student lunches with the CIRES Distinguished Lecture Series speakers, and AGU practice events. This position comes with a modest monthly stipend.

Position requirements:

  • Postdoc or grad student advised or hosted by a CIRES Fellow or researcher, or serving as a research assistant for one of the CIRES research units.


  • Planning of CECA professional development events: Lead for two of four events per semester in Fall and Spring
  • Update CECA website with events
  • Administrator for CECA mailing list and emails
  • Oversee CIRES Graduate Travel Award
  • Time commitment: Variable, but approximately 5 hours per month

If you have any questions about the role please feel free to reach out to the current chairs.