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

Paper No. 11-11
Presentation Time: 10:30 AM


GUTIERREZ, Benjamin T., Woods Hole Coastal & Marine Science Center, U.S. Geological Survey, 384 Woods Hole Road, Woods Hole, MA 02543, JEARLD, Ambrose, NOAA, Northeast Fisheries Science Center, 166 Water Street, Woods HOle, MA 02543, LILES, George, NOAA Northeast Fisheries Science Center, 166 Water Street, Woods Hole, MA 02543 and SCOTT, Onjale, NOAA, Northeast Fisheries Science Center, 166 Water Street, Woods Hole, MA 02543, bgutierrez@usgs.gov

A lack of diversity has been a longstanding problem in science and engineering disciplines. With all minority groups combined expected to outnumber non-minority groups in the U.S. by 2050, it is important to diversify our scientific workforce to reflect the demographics of our Nation. To address this challenge, a consortium of public and private institutions created the Woods Hole Partnership Education Program (PEP). This collaboration includes financial and in-kind contributions from the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL), Northeast Fisheries Science Center of NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries), Sea Education Association (SEA), U.S. Geological Survey Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center (USGS), Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), the Woods Hole Research Center (WHRC), and the academic partner, the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES).

PEP targets college juniors and seniors who are focused in the marine and/or environmental sciences. The program is comprised of a four-week science course focused on global climate change and oceanography, and a six-to-eight-week individual research experience. Over the past seven years, 107 students have participated in PEP. During this time, scientists from all six Woods Hole science institutions served as course instructors and research mentors. Former PEP students have pursued a range of opportunities in the sciences and in science policy. In addition, PEP has served as an entry point for some students to their graduate education as well as other science-mentoring programs.

PEP is modeled on the collected experience of previous diversity programs and input from research scientists in the Woods Hole scientific community. PEP organizers strive to implement several elements that are common to successful diversity programs: a critical mass of students, proactive mentoring, and professional development. Like many other initiatives, PEP faced challenges common to student programs in Woods Hole: securing funding, attracting applicants, and finding housing in a seaside resort community. Here we describe the evolution of PEP, including longitudinal data on participants, and share insights about developing an inter-institutional program and how it can be structured for success.