Paper No. 38-1
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM
INVOLVEMENT OF K12-16 STUDENTS IN GEOLOGICAL RESEARCH: A TEN-YEAR LONGITUDINAL TRACKING SHOWING POSITIVE OUTCOME
The current meeting marks authors decade-long collaboration with the Geological Society of America (GSA) in proposing and conducting topical sessions highlighting the importance of undergraduate research involving basic geology and ‘now-a-days’ hot environmental topics since 2004. Topical sessions conducted from 2004-Present, were primarily aimed at opening the door to K12-16 students to sharing their basic geology-and-environmental research as part of experiential learning, comprehension and acquiring critical thinking skills. Through these sessions, well-over 275 students have had the opportunity to present their research at the GSA meetings in the past. Many of the presenters, mostly K9-12 students, either graduated or are now graduating from college have expressed their deep appreciation for having this opportunity made available to them. The current topical session is aligned with GSA’s central thrust of providing training and preparing the next generation's much needed STEM and geoscience workforce in order to meet future challenges of natural resource exploration, management and sustainable environmental planning. It is well-known that undergraduate research experience is vital to geology students and an early involvement in geological research really allows students to measure their strengths and their academic preparation compared to their peers at other institutions at an international convention of such magnitude. From the standpoint of recruitment and retention of geoscience students, such an early experience is also known to work as a catalyst and bring success to many academic institutions. The majority of graduates chose to major in the geosciences at some point during their undergraduate education and this also highlights the importance of undergraduate geoscience courses, particularly stimulating entry level courses, outdoor field and faculty-supported research experience to the recruitment of majors and future graduates. Students who did research and presented at the GSA annual meetings since 2004 reported that such academic experience was deemed to be very useful by their employer since their current job responsibilities require critical thinking skills and in-depth field analyses of geologic data on a regular basis.