NSF INCLUDES: Engaging Local Communities in Geoscience Pathways
Part I - At the same time communities all over the US are struggling to deal with climate change, resilience, and environmental justice, the nation faces a shortage of geoscientists who can work on these issues. This shortage is especially acute for marginalized and underserved communities. Gaps in the pathways to careers in geoscience begin as early as middle school?the last time many students encounter Earth science content in the classroom. To address these challenges, this project will create opportunities for students in three diverse communities (Atlanta, GA; San Bernardino, CA; and Oklahoma) to develop their scientific skills and knowledge while working on authentic, local problems as they progress from middle school to college and beyond, into the workforce.
Part II - The project design is informed by research findings that students are more engaged and invested in learning science when it is connected to issues of concern to their local community and that use of authentic, mentored, real world research experiences increase retention and persistence. Bringing together partners who have led relevant, successful national efforts with partners in the three regions the project team will design and begin implementation of inclusive pathways that lead from an early interest in Earth to careers that require geoscience skills and knowledge. Each pathway will include multiple opportunities for students to 1) learn geoscience in the context of compelling local issues, 2) use geoscience to address local challenges, and 3) explore geoscience career pathways. Experience gained by initial program partners and regional pilots will be used to create national support structures for developing integrated geoscience pathways and a collective action framework for expanded partnerships.
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