2014 GSA Annual Meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia (19–22 October 2014)

Paper No. 244-8
Presentation Time: 3:15 PM


BECK, Mary A., Science, Valencia College, 1800 S. Kirkman Rd, Mail-code 4-3, Orlando, FL 32811

Typically, field-based research projects are limited to geology majors in the last year of their undergraduate program. For students at 2-year colleges, these opportunities are rare even though research experiences are highly valued by students, are an important gateway for students into STEM majors, and half of undergraduates start out in 2-year colleges. At Valencia College, in order to provide 2-year college, non-majors students with a geology field research experience, a 10-day summer field course in the Mount Rogers region of Virginia was developed for students who had completed a physical geology course.

The field course included 3 pre-field classroom sessions where students were oriented to the field region. During these sessions, students read several papers and were guided in selecting an area of interest they wished to research. As pre-field preparation, each student became the “local expert” on a paper and a specific suite of rocks related to their interests.

In the first few field days, during an overview of the region, students completed rock descriptions, with the “local expert” for each location guiding other students in rock or facies identification. During this time, students were guided in choosing, researching, and constructing their field projects. The subsequent days were spent completing field projects. At their project location, each student was responsible for presenting an introduction to the location and geology and for producing a video of the methodology they were using to collect their data. The introduction and methodology information were subsequently used in a poster each student created about their project.