Track 1: Using a Field Course in Africa to Enhance Diversity in Geophysics

Project: Research project

Project Details


This project introduces African American physics, engineering, and math undergraduate students to the field of geophysics during a summer field experience in Africa. The participating students are then encouraged to pursue graduate degrees in geophysics. The target audience is African American sophomore- and junior-level undergraduate students. Many undergraduate students who enter graduate programs in geophysics earn undergraduate degrees in physics, math, or engineering. By exposing African American physics, engineering, and math majors to geophysics prior to graduation, the project aims to increase the diversity of the geophysics graduate student population and future workforce. Students that participate in the project are made aware of career opportunities in geophysics, so that they know jobs are available to them once they complete a graduate degree. Five students are recruited from HBCUs to participate in the 3-week geophysics field course. The course is run by Penn State and the University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa) in conjunction with the ongoing AfricaArray project. Students have the opportunity to continue working with AfricaArray on African problems at the graduate level if they choose to do so. Participating students complete two weeks of instruction at Penn State prior to going to South Africa, and one week of instruction at Penn State after the field experience. The Summer Research Opportunities Program (SROP) for minority students at Penn State is collaborating with the PIs throughout the project.

Effective start/end date7/1/059/30/07


  • National Science Foundation: $96,628.00


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