Rocky Mountain Section - 65th Annual Meeting (15-17 May 2013)

Paper No. 2
Presentation Time: 1:25 PM


HERNANDEZ, Elysse Nicole, Geosciences Department, University of Arizona, 1040 E 4 St, Tucson, AZ 85721, STOKES, Philip J., Department of Geosciences, University of Arizona, Gould-Simpson Building #77, 1040 E. 4th St, Tucson, AZ 85721 and FLESSA, Karl W., Department of Geosciences, University of Arizona, 1040 E. 4th St, Room 208, Tucson, AZ 85721,

Saturday Science Academy (SSA) is an academic outreach event held each year at the University of Arizona. With a variety of hands-on educational activities and demonstrations, SSA has attracted hundreds of participants over the past two years. The target audience of SSA is local middle and high school students from underrepresented minority groups who attend schools that do not emphasize geosciences in their curriculum. Hispanic and Native American students typically comprise the majority of participants in SSA. SSA is supported by the Department of Geosciences at the University of Arizona, The Arizona Mathematics Engineering Science Achievement (MESA), and The Southern Arizona Geosciences Union for Academics, Research and Outreach (SAGUARO).

To better understand the effect of SSA on local students, evaluation surveys were administered to participants at the 2009, 2010 and 2011 SSA events. Fossils and other prizes were used as incentives to encourage students to complete the surveys. In 2011, 112 surveys were collected from participants both before and after SSA. Program effectiveness was assessed through comparisons of participant’s pre-and post-SSA responses. Preliminary results suggest that SSA is effective in improving the perception of geosciences amongst both white and minority student groups yet there are differences in SSA’s effectiveness in reaching each group. Such differences can be seen through the responses to the statement ‘Geosciences are interesting’ where Hispanic students largely agree with the statement, while Native American students largely disagree with it.

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