Through the IUSE:GEOPAths project, the Chesapeake Research Consortium, Inc. (CRC) and its partners aim to evolve and strengthen a leadership pathway that attracts and retains a diverse community of both undergraduate mentees and mentors so that the necessary diversity of perspectives is applied to the understanding of complex human-impacted ecosystems. The project is intended to strengthen and further develop, improve, and evaluate the CRC's recently created and unique program, Chesapeake-Student Recruitment, Early Advisement, and Mentoring (C-StREAM). In its current form, C-StREAM develops and trains a diverse population of future leaders in environmental research, restoration, and protection by engaging them over multiple years in mentored engagement experiences. While this initial pipeline construction has been successful, there are structural elements that can be strengthened so that it can be filled to capacity. The PIs intend to do this by individually tailoring the arc of the entire student engagement experience, over multiple years, and by deeply integrating the students within the full intellectual ecosystem of the Chesapeake Bay restoration effort, which is a partnership of students, senior researchers across a variety of institutional settings, managers, and policy-makers working to develop and apply scientific understanding of the Chesapeake Bay regional ecosystem.
In order to strengthen the existing pathway model (a multi-year experience associated with a large ecosystem restoration effort), the PIs specifically will focus on building the confidence and competency of participants (Fellows) toward continued study in their field of interest and an eventual career of contribution to environment-related careers by: a) providing access to a summer internship program that allows them to explore both sides of actionable science (i.e., science and its application in management and policy) by offering opportunities from multiple on-going, impactful internship programs at two different federal agencies and multiple (currently seven) CRC member or partnering institutions; b) employing a common language of leadership competencies that can be developed by the student through the program, so that specific experiences can be woven together in a cohesive arc and tailored to the individual needs of the student; c) building a strong sense of belonging by providing the Fellows of any given annual cohort (of roughly a dozen students) multiple and substantive opportunities to create community, enhance communication skills, and have shared professional development experiences; d) creating a community of practice composed of well-respected and professionally well-connected summer mentors who are not only highly skilled in areas of direct intellectual interest to the student, but also trained to be culturally aware, articulate in leadership competencies, and responsive to the student's needs so that the program experience can be leveraged to its fullest potential; e) incentivizing each Fellow to continue to pursue interests that they've developed (from the summer experience or otherwise) during the academic year and in collaboration with home institution advisors and mentors, to bridge the summer experiences to create a thoughtful and individually-tailored arc of engagement; and f) connecting Fellows (via access during common activities and encouragement by mentors) with more than one professional mentor, including individuals both within and outside their home institution.
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||10/1/20 → 9/30/23|
- National Science Foundation: $298,299.00