GP-IN: Promoting and Sustaining geoscience and related disciplines with PSU EnvironMentors for underserved and underrepresented minority NY, NJ, and PA Communities (GEOENV)

Project: Research project

Project Details


Diversity in STEM continues to be a critical issue in postsecondary and workforce realms. In the disciplines of Earth, Oceanic, and Atmospheric Sciences, the problem is amplified with very limited success for attracting, retaining, and graduating students from historically underrepresented groups at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Several factors inhibit STEM engagement for these individuals including content exposure, mentoring, experiential learning, and math and science preparation. To counteract the impact of these limiting factors, a focused geoscience component, designated GEOENV, will be added to the Penn State EnvironMentors program, which provides high school students a research experience throughout the academic year through group mentorship from faculty, postdocs, graduate, and undergraduate students. GEOENV will provide additional opportunities for STEM engagement for high school students, with the aim of steering students toward college/university Geoscience majors/disciplines and careers/jobs.

GEOENV will recruit 16 freshman, sophomore, and junior year high school students per year from 4 locations located in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania, representing varied demographic and socioeconomic status. Initiating recruitment prior to declaring majors or accepting enrollment at a university/college is a strategic time to introduce participants to geoscience content and related activities. High school student participants are assigned to a research team and develop a research project as part of the EnvironMentors program and focus on a geoscience discipline in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences at Penn State University. From yearlong work on a research project, high school student participants present a research poster and papers as final products. GEOENV will also include seminars with cross-cutting themes during the academic year to increase exposure of participants to geoscience disciplines. High school teachers will also participate to deepen their knowledge of education of STEM education and research activities in geoscience disciplines.

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 date9/1/218/31/24


  • National Science Foundation: $349,908.00


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