Paper No. 11
Presentation Time: 10:45 AM
TURNING OBSTACLES INTO OPPORTUNITY: THE SUCCESS OF THE ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES TEACHING PROGRAM
The Environmental Sciences Teaching Program (ESTP) is made up of a group of University of California, Berkeley undergraduates. ESTP allows this dedicated group of undergraduates to participate in environmental science based teaching programs and to also experience hands-on field research. ESTP members and advisors face the challenges of a growing program as ESTP strives to become more efficient and productive. Some of the obstacles that are tackled are recruiting, scheduling, funding, site usage, and transportation. A collaborative approach is taken to overcome these hurdles. All group members discuss how to solve problems and evaluate options to better the program. Undergraduates make ESTP their own by being active decision makers. Recruiting prospective undergraduates is done with the Undergraduate Research Apprentice Program (URAP); the umbrella organization that ESTP is associated with. The selection process involves group interviews with existing members as teamwork and compatibility are essential. Lack of funding hinders the productivity of ESTP so the program applies for various grants, takes out contracts with schools, and is affiliated with school/university partnerships and corporate sponsors to gain needed funds. These affiliates have boosted the efficiency of ESTP, providing valuable materials and sites to improve the activities the undergraduates are involved in. Transportation problems to sites are solved using public transportation and carpooling. Overcoming these obstacles and others has benefited the undergraduate experience as ESTP members learn to solve and manage problems. ESTP has succeeded to improve the teaching and research opportunities provided for the undergraduates that extend to the high school and middle school students that participate in the provided programs.