Academic journal article Journal of Geoscience Education

The Minorities Striving and Pursuing Higher Degrees of Success (MS PHD'S)® in Earth System Science Professional Development Initiative: Enhancing Intellectual Merit and Broader Impact of Diversity through Alignment of Vision, Goals and Objectives, and Measurement

Academic journal article Journal of Geoscience Education

The Minorities Striving and Pursuing Higher Degrees of Success (MS PHD'S)® in Earth System Science Professional Development Initiative: Enhancing Intellectual Merit and Broader Impact of Diversity through Alignment of Vision, Goals and Objectives, and Measurement

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

The MS PHD'S Program facilitates the involvement of minority undergraduate and graduate Earth system science students in a series of activities designed to: (1) increase exposure to and engagement in the Earth system science community, via participation in scientific conferences, mentoring relationships, virtual activities, and field trips; (2) enhance professional skills, grantsmanship, oral and written communication; (3) provide funding, education and career opportunity resources; (4) facilitate networking opportunities with established researchers and educators; (5) and sustain on-going interaction, communication and support via membership within a virtual community comprised of peers, junior/senior-level researchers, and educators actively involved in facilitating full participation of minorities in the Earth system sciences.

These activities, conducted in three phases, occur during professional society meetings, field trips, and a 'capstone' event at the National Academies. At the conclusion of the five-year MS PHD'S in Earth System Science Initiative's Professional Development Program, it is anticipated that a minimum of 100 Earth system science undergraduate, graduate and recent minority graduates will be better prepared to achieve their academic and professional goals. It is also expected that because of mentor-mentee partnerships, science exposure, and networking activities, MS PHD'S participants will remain actively engaged in their fields of specialization and respective professional societies.

INTRODUCTION

The Minorities Striving and Pursuing Higher Degrees of Success in Earth System Science (MS PHD'S in Earth System Science) ® Initiative was established to facilitate preparation and advancement of underrepresented minorities (African Americans, Hispanics and Native Americans, hereafter referred to as minorities) within the Earth system science community. Due to historically low numbers of minorities participating in Earth system science academic programs, societies, institutions, organizations, etc., minority students pursuing Earth system science-related degrees often reel a sense of isolation, alienation, lack of community support and limited dispersion of academic and professional information. The MS PHD'S initiative was designed to create a sense of community among minority students and professionals committed to pursuing Earth system science-related careers.

The 2003 MS PHD'S in Ocean Sciences Program pilot project was implemented during the Final Joint Global Ocean Flux Study QGOFS) Program Open Science Meeting, May 5-8,2003. During the program's weeklong series of activities, Cohort I of twenty-five (25) minority undergraduate and graduate students participated in a supportive face-to-face community of peers and near peers. MS PHD'S programming included oral and written presentation skill development; mentee partnerships with minority and non-minority scientists as mentors; networking experiences with professionals within academia, industry, federal government and professional organizations; in-depth exposure to leading-edge research and interaction with scientists responsible for these advancements. Evaluation findings of this NASA-sponsored pilot project substantiated the scientific community's need and support for broadening future MS PHD'S initiatives from ocean sciences to encompass Earth system sciences. Outcomes and evaluation findings are posted on the MS PHD'S web site (www.msphds.usf.edu/documents/2003FormativeEval uationSummary.pdf).

MS PHD'S in Earth System Science Initiative's Professional Development Program (MS PHD'S PDP) represents an incorporation of community input, evaluation findings, and insight gained from the 2003 Ocean Sciences Program pilot project and research from other efforts designed to engage minority students in the Earth system sciences (Windham et al., 2004; Bingham et al., 2003; Cuker, 2001; Gilligan, 1996). This strategic approach is informed by quality feedback, assessment, thoughtful development, additional support (community and federal agency) and leveraged resources. …

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