ESTABLISHING A K-18 GEOSCIENCES PIPELINE FOR AFRICAN AMERICANS AND OTHER URMS: THE COOPERATIVE DEVELOPMENTAL ENERGY PROGRAM
In 1992, the Cooperative Developmental Energy Program (CDEP) of Fort Valley State University, an HBCU institution, addressed the scarcity of African American students’ exposure to careers in the geosciences by developing and implementing dual degree programs in geology and geophysics with the University of Oklahoma. The program has since expanded to include other universities as partners for the geology and geophysics dual degree programs, namely, the University of Texas at Austin, Pennsylvania State University, University of Arkansas, and the University of Nevada at Las Vegas. CDEP and the aforementioned partnering universities, have graduated 33 URMs in geology and geophysics.
In 1993, to enhance early exposure of African American students to the geosciences, CDEP added a pre-college feeder program as a component of the K-18 pipeline. The program is called the Mathematics, Science, and Engineering Academy (M-SEA). M-SEA is a summer STEM program that focuses on recruiting academically talented 9th through 12th grade students with high acumen in mathematics and science. The program introduces students to careers in engineering, geology, geophysics, and health physics.
Although CDEP has recruited a significant number of African American geosciences graduates, equally as important is that it has established a K-18 geoscience pipeline for URMs. The pipeline begins in the 9th grade and continues through two universities at the bachelor’s level (dual degrees) with additional access to graduate degrees in geology and geophysics. Further, it serves as a collaborative model for other minority and majority institutions.