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

Paper No. 187-3
Presentation Time: 8:30 AM


STOKES, Philip J., Department of Geosciences, University of Arizona, Gould-Simpson Building #77, 1040 E. 4th St, Tucson, AZ 85721, FLESSA, Karl W., Department of Geosciences, University of Arizona, 1040 E. 4th St, Room 208, Tucson, AZ 85721, FAY, Noah P., Science, Pima Community College, Northwest Campus, 7600 North Shannon Road, Tucson, AZ 85709 and SCHMIDT, Nancy, Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math Department, Pima Community College-West Campus, 2205 W. Anklam Rd., Tucson, AZ 85709, pjstokes@arizona.edu

University of Arizona’s (UA) GeoPathways will establish a community-based internship program for geoscience majors transferring from Pima Community College (PCC) and other two-year colleges (2YCs) in Arizona. The UA Department of Geosciences currently enrolls 230 B.S. majors; about 50 are transfers from PCC and other 2YCs. Each year, approximately 20 2YC students transfer into Geosciences at UA. Pima Community College -- the source of this pipeline -- has a greater proportion of under-represented minorities, veterans, and nontraditional students than the UA. Despite course alignment and shared faculty, transfer students are often lacking academic skills necessary for them to be successful in a college setting, unsure of UA degree requirements, uncertain about job prospects, and concerned about financial support. Transfer students are also less likely to have occupational mobility after receiving their undergraduate degree because of their family commitments.

These challenges will be addressed by establishing a recruiting, mentoring and internship program for transfer students. UA students will reach out to prospective geoscience transfer students by leading field trips and by participating in PCC classroom activities. New transfer students will participate in two new workshops on professional and academic skills in their first year at UA: "Success Strategies in STEM" and "Research Readiness". These workshops and their coursework will prepare students for paid internships with local businesses in the mining industry and hydrologic and environmental consulting, with federal, state and local agencies, and with environmental NGOs. The first-year’s cohort will serve as peer mentors during later years of the program and will make presentations at PCC or other 2YCs on their internship experiences. The new UA strategic plan, "Never Settle", calls for the engagement of every undergraduate student with professional or community service during their degree program. This UA-wide effort will help sustain the program beyond its initial NSF support.