Academic journal article Journal of Geoscience Education

An Effective Model for Enhancing Underrepresented Minority Participation and Success in Geoscience Undergraduate Research

Academic journal article Journal of Geoscience Education

An Effective Model for Enhancing Underrepresented Minority Participation and Success in Geoscience Undergraduate Research

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

Geoscience research is a fundamental portal through which geoscience knowledge may be acquired and disseminated. A viable model to introduce, stimulate, and prolong geoscience education has been designed and implemented at the New York City College of Technology through a National Science Foundation (NSF) Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program in satellite and ground-based remote sensing that targets underrepresented minority students. The program is composed of three primary components: Structured Learning Environments: Preparation and Mentorship, Student Support and Safety Nets, and Vision and Impetus for Advancement. The first component, Structured Learning Environments: Preparation and Mentorship, places REU scholars within a research team and provides them with the skill sets necessary for proficiency in satellite and ground-based remote sensing research. The second component, Student Support and Safety Nets, provides a structured and holistic learning environment that supports the undergraduates in becoming successful researchers and scholars. The last component, Vision and Impetus for Advancement, exposes the REU scholars to geoscience in a wider context and inspires them to envision themselves as the geoscientists and the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) workforce professionals of the 21st century. Since the inception of this NSF REU program in 2008, 47 undergraduate students-39 (83.0%) of whom are underrepresented minorities in STEM (including women)-have completed geoscience research or are engaged in geoscience or STEM careers. © 2013 National Association of Geoscience Teachers. [DOI: 10.5408/12-417.1]

Key words: research experiences for undergraduates (REU); underrepresented minorities; science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM); academic support; program design

INTRODUCTION

The United States remains in grave danger of losing its global competitive edge in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Recent concerns were elevated into the national spotlight with the American Competitiveness Initiative of the Bush Administration (Domestic Policy Council, 2006) and the Rising Above the Gathering Storm: Energizing and Employing America for a Brighter Economic Future (Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Science, and National Academy of Engineering, 2007) report of the National Research Council. The Obama Administration has continued to address the STEM crisis by way of two national initiatives: the Educate to Innovate initiative (Obama, 2009) and the $100 million government and private-industry initiative to train 10,000 STEM teachers and graduate 1 million additional STEM students over the next decade (Obama, 2012). In its February 2012 report to President Obama, the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology made the following five key recommendations to help in addressing the nation's STEM plight: (1) catalyze widespread adoption of empirically validated teaching practices, (2) advocate and provide support for replacing standard laboratory courses with discovery-based research courses, (3) launch a national experiment in postsecondary mathematics education to address the mathematics-preparation gap, (4) encourage partnerships among stakeholders to diversify pathways to STEM careers, and (5) create a Presidential Council on STEM Education with leadership from the academic and business communities to provide strategic leadership for transformative and sustainable change in STEM undergraduate education. Yet these concerns are not new. In 1980, Congress first mandated the National Science Foundation (NSF) through the Science and Engineering Equal Opportunities Act to diligently seek to develop the STEM talents of the country's citizenry irrespective of gender, ethnicity, race, and economic background. This 30-year-plus battle to combat poor STEM performance among students and to diversify and increase the STEM workforce began last century, and it rages on today. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.