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Dissemination Report - Bridging the Gap: The Effects of a School-to-Career Approach on Promoting Wildlife Science Careers Among Diverse Audiences

April 1, 2016 | Public Programs
To address the lack of diversity that exists within the fields of wildlife and conservation science, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) developed "Bridging the Gap," a three-year youth development initiative for New York City high school students. Over the course of three cohorts, "Bridging the Gap" served 150 students from communities underrepresented in the sciences. The project aimed to help participants see the relevance of science study to their own lives and support them in pursuing a career in wildlife conservation or another science. Participants engaged in activities including zoo and aquarium internships, college readiness seminars, mentoring, and career planning workshops. In tandem with the youth development program, WCS and external partner Hezel Associates carried out an evaluation research study to investigate how a school-to-career program model could be used to help minority students achieve the affective, cognitive, and behavioral outcomes necessary to pursue zoo and other science careers. Highlights from the findings include: 1) "Bridging the Gap" fostered students interest in STEM careers; 2) data suggest that "Bridging the Gap" influenced participating students' decisions to continue their education and helped them feel more confident and prepared to do so; 3) data suggest that program improved participants' knowledge about zoo-related topics and wildlife science careers. The report also shares lessons that may be valuable to zoo, aquarium, and other informal science educators working to increase STEM participation in communities traditionally underrepresented in the sciences.


  • Karen Tingley
    Principal Investigator
    Wildlife Conservation Society
  • 2015 07 06 Brian Johnson headshot
    Project Staff
    Wildlife Conservation Society
  • Emily Stoeth
    Project Staff
    Wildlife Conservation Society
  • Courtney Wiggins
    Project Staff
    Wildlife Conservation Society
  • Citation


    Funding Program: ITEST
    Award Number: 1138685
    Resource Type: Reference Materials
    Discipline: Ecology, forestry, and agriculture | Life science
    Audience: Youth/Teen (up to 17) | Museum/ISE Professionals | Evaluators
    Environment Type: Public Programs | Afterschool Programs | Aquarium and Zoo Programs

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