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. 4
Presentation Time: 2:25 PM

Marathon Geoscience Diversity Enrichment Program (GeoDE): A Corporate/Academic Partnership In Achieving a Strong and Diverse Workforce

ANDERSON, Laurie, Dept. Geology & Geophysics, Louisiana State University, E235 Howe-Russell Geoscience Complex, Baton Rouge, LA 70803, glande@lsu.edu

As major stakeholders and strategic partners, industry and academia are collaborating to create novel approaches to diversifying the geoscience workforce. The newly established Marathon Geoscience Diversity Enrichment Program (GeoDE), a partnership between Marathon Oil Corporation and the Department of Geology & Geophysics at Louisiana State University, is an example of such a collaboration. The goal of Marathon GeoDE is to enhance diversity in the geoscience work force by supporting high-achieving students in a program emphasizing scholarship, research, service, and mentoring. This strategy builds on best practices from other LSU departments, such as the Department of Chemistry, a program that leads the nation in the annual production of African-American chemistry doctorates.

Marathon GeoDE is faculty led and supports competitive Ph.D. stipends and undergraduate scholarships, funded research opportunities, faculty advising, and mentoring for and by participants at all levels. Undergraduate and Ph.D. programs are foci because (1) these students are typically in residence for at least four years and thus give back to the program significantly through mentoring more junior students; (2) building diverse graduate population and workforce nationally depends on attracting more academically strong students to undergraduate geoscience programs, and (3) diverse and high-quality Ph.D. programs promote increased diversity as well as academic and research achievement in M.S. and B.S. degree programs, as doctoral students are significant role models and informal mentors to their junior peers.

The Marathon GeoDE program is intended to create an inclusive, respectful, and intellectually challenging climate that embraces individual diversity. The selection process, therefore, includes a written application and an on-campus visit and interview with a selection committee, which will engage in a holistic review, giving consideration to all academic and non-academic strengths and achievements of a nominee, as well as the ways a nominee might contribute to a diverse educational environment.