GEODES: Increasing Diversity of Geoscience Students through Museum-Based High School Programs
The program was developed in collaboration with the urban New Haven Public School system. Eighty high school students come to the Museum each week throughout the academic year for seminars from practicing scientists, career research, fieldwork, college field trips, laboratory visits and behind-the-scenes collection tours. Twenty students take part in paid internships undertaking research with Yale faculty. The culminating event is the production of a multi-media museum exhibition that goes on display in the Museum public galleries. The program is designed to address factors that particularly influence college and career choices of underrepresented groups including peer pressure, the need for representative role-models, the perceived lack of interesting career pathways, and the importance of family involvement. Among other things, independent evaluation has demonstrated that the program increases students' interest and knowledge of the geosciences and geoscience careers, and that the program's combination of learning and social opportunities impacted students' attitudes to and visions of science. The strength of this program is in providing meaningful geoscience learning experiences within an established museum-based college and career-focused after school program.