2005 Salt Lake City Annual Meeting (October 16–19, 2005)

Paper No. 8
Presentation Time: 3:30 PM


HICKS III, Joseph Michael1, FERRELL, Ray E.2 and WRENN, John H.1, (1)Geology and Geophysics, Louisiana State University, E235 Howe/Russell, Baton Rouge, LA 70803, (2)Department of Geology & Geophysics, Louisiana State Univ, Baton Rouge, LA 70803, josephhicks3@msn.com

Traditionally the classroom is often considered the best place to instruct students. The classroom allows for a safe and open environment where information can be absorbed and ideas developed. The Geoscience Alliance to Enhance Minority Participation (GAEMP) at LSU goes beyond this by seamlessly combining classroom ideas and physical applications into one package. The GAEMP program is a six-week, eight-semester credit hour course dedicated to increasing ethnic diversity in the geosciences by building awareness of subject matter content and career opportunities. Students are given experience in various areas of the geosciences including paleontology, seismology, hydrology, sedimentology and geophysics. Professors in these fields come in and instruct the participants in the program using both classical techniques and in-field exercises to reinforce points made and further the comprehension of lessons in ways the classroom cannot. Through this technique students gain a deeper, more lasting understanding of the geosciences. In one case, the students were taught about coastal erosion, then specifically erosion in Louisiana. They learned that due to a lack of new sediment and compaction, coastal Louisiana is being washed away at an alarming rate. One of the exercises was to analyze habitat maps from coastal Louisiana at ten-year intervals to determine changes in the percentage of open water. Results were used to project that the area occupied by open water will be greater than 75% in just 10 years. Then to drive home this point the students were taken to Cocodrie, Louisiana. This is a place that will one day disappear due to erosion and subsidence processes. An excursion to Trinity Island beach on Isles Dernieries was taken to provide further evidence of basic concepts. Students saw first hand the processes talked about in class and also saw the direct application of this knowledge. Experiences like this make the GAEMP program an ideal model for the enrichment of geologic education and the recruitment of minority students.

GAEMP is supported by NSF-OEDG award 0303138.