GEOPATHWAYS - A UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA – PIMA COMMUNITY COLLEGE PARTNERSHIP FOR TRANSFER STUDENTS: YEAR 1
NSF support has allowed us to establish GeoPathways: a recruiting, mentoring and internship program for transfer students. In our first year, ten students participated in a College of Science workshop on academic skills in the first semester; eight GeoPathways students took part in a second semester Geosciences workshop on job-hunting skills. GeoPathways students returned to PCC to present classroom activities and lead field trips to a nearby mountain and to a UA-operated mine. Geology content was attractive to PCC students and faculty: the biggest bonus was the peer-mentoring about course recommendations, major requirements and campus life. Recruiting and retention in GeoPathways remains a challenge because the program adds to, rather than replaces, other demands on the students’ time.
Local agencies, businesses and NGOs offered 14 internships for six eligible students. NSF funds provided $5K for eight weeks during summer at USGS, MetroWater, SRK Consulting, GeoDecor, Montgomery and Associates and Clear Creek Associates. We addressed concerns regarding liability for students by enrolling some in a for-credit summer internship course at UA, thus protecting the hosts, but costing more money. Interns will report on their experiences.
GeoPathways provides mentoring, academic and professional skills, recruiting, closer ties with PCC, job experience and financial support. Year 1 was a good start for the program and for the students.