Paper No. 133-8
Presentation Time: 3:35 PM
RESEARCH EXPERIENCE FOR COMMUNITY COLLEGE STUDENTS IN COLORADO: INSIGHTS ON IMPROVING THE PIPELINE OF 2YC STUDENTS INTO THE GEOSCIENCES
The NSF-funded Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program typically serves upper-classmen, who are already committed to careers in science. To spark student interest in the geosciences early in their college career, we have developed the NSF-funded Research Experience for Community College Students in Critical Zone Science (RECCS) site for Colorado residents. Community college (2YC) students are often non-traditional students who may be older, come from rural or low-income communities, or be veterans or have minority status. The goal of RECCS is to give these students an authentic research experience and training that allows them to explore environmental or geosciences and gain the confidence to transition to a four-year program in the STEM disciplines. With a pilot program and two years under our belt of a funded program, that has included extensive evaluation, we will provide important insights into how best to support these students during the summer and encourage them to continue on with their studies at a four-year institution and beyond. In this presentation we will highlight some of our most successful program elements, including team building, field work, career professional development, Excel training and scientific communication, and will also share some of our “lessons learned”. To date some of the outcomes of our student researchers include roughly 60% successfully transitioning to a four-year program (the rest still at their 2YC), with several aiming for graduate school, ten giving poster presentations at scientific conferences and one publication in a peer-reviewed journal.