Paper No. 8
Presentation Time: 10:15 AM
MENTORING UNDERGRADUATE GEOSCIENCE MAJORS BY FIELD GEOLOGISTS FROM STATE GEOLOGICAL SURVEYS
The Association of American State Geologists coordinates a program for undergraduate geoscience majors to gain field experience while conducting research with mentors from state geological surveys. The objectives of the program are to train students in scientific field techniques (particularly geologic mapping) and to excite and encourage students to pursue careers in geoscience. Financial assistance comes from the National Science Foundation, U.S. Geological Survey, individual state geological surveys, and some local sections of the American Institute of Professional Geologists. This program enables these students to work side by side with experienced geologic mappers, field geologists, and geophysicists in the field. The mentors serve as not only teachers and mentors but also as scientific collaborators. State geological surveys in all 50 states and Puerto Rico are eligible to hire students through this program. Students use AASG's Web site (http://www.stategeologists.org/) for information and contact state geological surveys directly to inquire about this and other mentoring and intern programs. Most student projects run during summer months, but some include field activities during other parts of the year. The success of the program is assessed by interviewing students and their mentors and by tracking the students' careers. Individual state surveys select students from geoscience departments and summer field-camp programs nationwide and from the summer field-training program administered by the National Association of Geoscience Teachers. Most field projects are linked to funded research through the National Cooperative Geologic Mapping Program (in cooperation with the U.S. Geological Survey) or other federal, state, local government or private sector programs. Currently in its fourth year, the program is a resounding success, as indicated by the overwhelmingly positive feedback from students (a total of 126 in four years) and mentors from 32 states.