Paper No. 208-1
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-6:30 PM
HOW CAN WE ENGAGE K9-16 STUDENTS TO CHOOSE THE GEOSCIENCES AS A CAREER OPTION?
Creating an opportunity for the K9-16 students to present their research outcomes in a high-profile national convention such as the GSA’s annual meeting has proven to be quite successful from a recruitment and retention point of view. This is particularly important for urban students from environments such as New York City where numerous K9-12 students taking earth science seem to miss the connection between the role of earth science and societal needs. Many even do not consider earth science as a career option. Traditional earth science curricula are not adequate to demonstrate the practical aspects and relevance of earth science to society due to limited available resources, lack of funding to conduct field excursions, initiating research or exposure to high-profile national or international gatherings. From our experience since 2004, students presenting in these peer-reviewed GSA conference sessions were able to obtain the best possible training and educational opportunity to become future scientists and professionals for a number of reasons: 1) the sessions provide a nationally recognized forum for high school/undergraduate research that generate a strong sense of ownership and achievement for young researchers; 2) they allow visibility, networking, and professional feedback that simply cannot be replicated in typical undergraduate-level activities; 3) they require, and hence develop, real-time thinking and professional presentation skills when presenting scientific results and conclusions to professional scientists; 4) they represent a valuable avenue for minorities, women, and underrepresented students to participate in a broad range of scientific programs at the national level; and 5) perhaps most importantly, they allow undergraduates to begin to critically evaluate the contributions of other professionals and truly understand the value of their own work. The value of encouraging K9-16 students to undertake short-term research investigation in a broad range of geoscientific work is improvement of the educational situation and allowing increased student-directed research work and appreciation of the science of geology. Future shortcomings in geoscience education pipeline, as predicted by the American Geosciences Institute (AGI), can be addressed through this initiative.