2015 GSA Annual Meeting in Baltimore, Maryland, USA (1-4 November 2015)

Paper No. 187-7
Presentation Time: 9:30 AM


MILLER, Gretchen L.1, LEINBACH, Adrianne A.1 and ROLLINS, Stephanie L.2, (1)Natural Sciences, Wake Technical Community College, 9101 Fayetteville Road, Raleigh, NC 27603, (2)Natural Sciences, Wake Technical Community College, 6600 Louisburg Road, Raleigh, NC 27616, glmiller@waketech.edu

Wake Technical Community College (Wake Tech) is the largest two-year college in North Carolina and has a highly diverse student body. Most of the ~700 students who take our geology courses each semester are completing a natural science credit for their Associate in Arts (AA) or Associate in Science (AS) degree. North Carolina has a Comprehensive Articulation Agreement (CAA), which governs the transfer of students between institutions in the North Carolina Community College and University of North Carolina Systems.

While the Wake Tech geoscience faculty has grown from one to eight full-time instructors over the past 15 years, the number of geoscience majors in our program was not increasing at the same rate. To generate more interest in geoscience and form a transfer pathway for our diverse students, a collaboration was begun in 2012 with the geoscience faculty at North Carolina State University (NC State). Wake Tech geoscience faculty identify students who display an interest and aptitude in our introductory geology courses and provide the students with individual mentoring on education and career opportunities in the geosciences. Some of these students are selected to participate in paid summer research internships at NC State, culminating in a poster symposium at the end of the summer. Students who choose to continue their studies at NC State are given additional opportunities for research and mentoring after transferring.

Interest in this program has grown tremendously since 2012, and the first research students have begun to graduate with geoscience Bachelor’s degrees. Additional positive outcomes have arisen at Wake Tech as a result of this collaboration. Students who return to Wake Tech after completing research projects have formed a community to support one another and promote the program. Furthermore, some of the students have organized the first 2YC student chapter of the Association of Environmental and Engineering Geologists (AEG) as a way to connect to the professional geoscience community and leave a lasting legacy at Wake Tech.