THE COOPERATIVE DEVELOPMENTAL ENERGY PROGRAM: UNDERREPRESENTED MINORITIES' ACCESS TO CAREERS IN GEOLOGY AND GEOPHYSICS
CDEP was established at FVSU in 1983 with the mission of increasing the number of minorities and women to pursue careers in the energy industry. Geology and geophysics disciplines are germane to certain segments of the energy industry. To meet this mission, CDEP established 3+2 dual degrees in geosciences with the University of Oklahoma, Penn State University, University of Arkansas, and the University of Texas at Austin. The graduates of the dual degree programs earn BS degrees in chemistry or math from FVSU and a BS or MS in geology or geophysics from one of the partnering university.
In 1993, CDEP established a pre-college program called the Math, Science, and Engineering Academy (M-SEA). M-SEA is an early outreach program that identifies academically talented minority students as rising 9th graders and introduces them to geology and geophysics during summer academies. The selected students continue in the program through the 10th, 11th, and 12th grades. When M-SEA students enter the pipeline at the 9thgrade level, they must remain in the pipeline for nine years to obtain a BS degree in geology or geophysics. M-SEA students who meet the academic requirements receive scholarships to pursue dual degrees in geology and geophysics. Scholarships are funded by partnering corporations and governmental agencies. The Jackson School of Geosciences at the University of Texas at Austin replicated the M-SEA model to form its GeoFORCE program.
CDEP provides students with two access points to careers in geology and geophysics: (1) through the Pre-college M-SEA program or (2) recruited as high school seniors directly into the dual degree programs. Via CDEP and its partnering universities, the program has graduated 31 minority geoscientists. Currently, there are 101 students in M-SEA and 71 in the dual degree CDEP pipeline.