2008 Joint Meeting of The Geological Society of America, Soil Science Society of America, American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies with the Gulf Coast Section of SEPM

Paper No. 7
Presentation Time: 10:05 AM

A ‘Pipeline' for Native American Students' In Geosciences at the University of Oklahoma

ELMORE, R. Douglas1, PALMER, Mark H.1, WATSON, Mary Jo2 and KLOESEL, Kevin3, (1)School of Geology and Geophysics, Univ Oklahoma, 100 E Boyd St, SEC 810, Norman, OK 73019-1009, (2)School of Art and Art History, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK 73019, (3)College of Atmospheric and Geographic Sciences, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK 73019, delmore@ou.edu

Few Native American students pursue degrees in the geosciences at the undergraduate or graduate level. To address this issue several units (Geology and Geophysics, Meteorology, Geography, and Art and Art History) at the University of Oklahoma are implementing a geoscience ‘pipeline' program designed to increase the number of Native American students entering geoscience disciplines. The “pipeline” has three components: 1) An education and research enrichment program for 7-12th grade Native American students which integrates indigenous knowledge into the geosciences as well as a research experience for teachers who work in schools with a high percentage of Native American students, 2) An introductory undergraduate Earth Systems Science course which integrates indigenous knowledge into the geosciences and uses Native American Art as a vehicle of learning, and 3) A program to provide research internship opportunities in the geosciences for Native American students. The outreach program includes two summer camps which includes over 60 students/summer, several one-day workshops students and teachers, a science fair, talks to schools which have reached over 5800 students and teachers, and a research experience for teachers. Native American enrollment in geosciences units at OU has increased from 13 in 2005 to 19 in 2006 to 39 in 2007. Assessment of the outreach programs suggests the students are improving their knowledge of geoscience content and that they enjoy the integration of indigenous knowledge into the geosciences. In the Earth Systems course the evidence from pre and post-surveys suggests that students are learning geoscience concepts and processes when coupled with Native American stories, metaphors, and images. Four students have participated in the summer research experiences and have been recruited as geoscience majors. The key factor in recruiting and retaining these students was personal contact between a faculty and the student.