This award is funded in whole or in part under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (Public Law 117-2).
Undergraduate geoscience education in the United States lags behind other Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields when it comes to racial and ethnic diversity. This deficit is particularly notable for students who come from communities that have been historically excluded in STEM fields and translates to a larger gap in the workforce and at the graduate level. Notably, there has been no improvement in the racial and ethnic diversity of students earning doctoral degrees in the geosciences over the past 40 years. Research has shown that diversity has demonstrated benefits for scientific advancement, including that diverse perspectives provide unique approaches to problem solving; these perspectives are necessary to meet the challenges and to solve the complex problems of the geosciences. To address this gap, the PIs have designed a field program: 'Geophysics of the Near-Surface: an Outdoor Motivational Experience for Students' This project aims to inspire students to major in the geoscience and help these students develop some of the workplace skills necessary to succeed in geoscience careers.
The project will provide an engaging outdoor field experience for the student participants that will influence their choice of major, provide mentorship opportunities for upper-level undergraduates, create positive and lasting student-student and student-faculty mentor relationships, provide meaningful research experiences for the students, and create a strong cohort of students across multiple institutions. The goals of the program are: (1) Recruit a diverse cohort of undergraduate students; (2) Support student learning in critical zone science and geophysics; (3) Increase students' science communication, problem solving, teamwork, and leadership skills; (4) Enhance psychosocial factors that are linked to retention in STEM fields; (5) Increase participation in geoscience research; (6) Increase positive attitudes towards geoscience careers and research; (7) Increase mentors' leadership and professional skills. By attaining these goals, the PIs propose to build a geoscience learning community of students across the participating institutions and within the broader scientific community and will increase recruitment and retention of these students in geoscience degrees and careers.
This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.
|Effective start/end date||9/1/21 → 8/31/24|
- National Science Foundation: $30,711.00