Paper No. 2
Presentation Time: 8:15 AM
GEOSCOPE: A PROJECT TO ENGAGE UNDERGRADUATES IN THE GEOSCIENCES
GeoSCOPE (Exploring Geoscience Career Opportunities) is a three-year summer project run by the Earth Sciences Department at Florida International University (FIU) with the goal of increasing the interest and involvement of undergraduates in the geosciences. GeoSCOPE is funded by NSF's Opportunities for Enhancing Diversity in the Geosciences (OEDG) program, and has two main parts: a research internship program for undergraduate students, and a summer workshop for high school teachers. The purpose of the internship program is to attract science-oriented freshman and sophomores into the geosciences. Interns are recruited from lower division science courses, and most plan to major in a science other than geoscience. We train approximately 20 student interns with short geoscience courses in the first half of summer, and then engage them in ongoing faculty research projects during the last six weeks, culminating in a research symposium at which they present the objectives, methods and findings of their work. Results of GeoSCOPE, gathered through surveys and tracking of students, indicate that interns develop a new appreciation and better understanding of the geosciences. A small proportion of interns change their major to geoscience from their initial choice, and a large proportion express interest in graduate study and/or a professional career in the geosciences. The latter result is borne out this year by our first cohort of graduating former GeoSCOPE interns.
During the one-week workshop for high school teachers, we provide information and resources that teachers can use to inform their students about the different fields within the geosciences and geoscience careers. Results, based on surveys and group discussion, indicate that the workshop approach works best when topics are readily portable to the high school classroom. Teachers suggest that recruiting strategies such as presentations by geoscientists at high schools and research internships for advanced high school students would be most successful.