Paper No. 1
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM
A PRE-FRESHMAN SUMMER RESEARCH EXPERIENCE: A RECRUITMENT AND RETENTION AID
The Geosciences Department at the University of Tulsa operates a structured summer research program for undergraduate majors in the Geosciences. Perhaps unique is the statistic that the program is largely populated by pre-freshmen; in fact, the program has become our major recruiting tool. In overview: 1. We fund the program without "grant" support - it is suggested that this may be the best mechanism for a long-term life for such programs. 2. The program has one overriding "project" that all students contribute to, either through field or laboratory work - in turn the students can actively coauthor the end-session abstract, and are published before they begin their freshman year. 3. Follow-up to the summer work is carried out through presentation of the abstract at a regional or national meeting, generally within a few months of the summer session - this emphasizes to the students the need and value of presenting research as it is carried out. 4. The program has been key in the competition by our students for national scholarships - given that many such scholarships are pursued in the sophomore year, there is an obvious advantage to applying with research in hand. 5. We use the summer students in our coming year recruitment efforts - here, the summer students meet with the coming year visiting high-school seniors and parents to provide word-of-mouth accounting that is invaluable. Thus the program encompasses student recruitment, retention and scientific achievement, with focus mainly then on the all-important freshman year. An important aside is that freshman year learning is "already" in an applied context.