GSA Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado, USA - 2016

Paper No. 187-13
Presentation Time: 11:25 AM


THOMSON, Karen B., Independent Consultant, 171 Clermont Ave, #3C, Brooklyn, NY 11205, LEWIS, Jonathan, Geoscience, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Indiana, PA 15705 and COOPER, Sharon, Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University, 61 Route 9W, Palisades, NY 10964,

We approached recruiting during our 1-year proof-concept STEMSEAS project with the goals of the NSF GEOPATHS solicitation in mind: by emphasizing potential for impact, diversity and students making educational transitions. In this first year, we sought more diversity than is currently represented in the geosciences, and students making the transition from community college. To recruit them, we reached out to faculty and administrators in STEM and related departments at diverse colleges and universities during the proposal-writing and planning stages, tapped into existing networks, and made additional new connections in a short but intense period of four months as the students’ application deadline approached. We used a multi-faceted approach, spreading word of the STEMSEAS opportunity through printed material, email blasts to different academic communities, and direct calls and in-person communication with HBCUs, HSIs, tribal colleges, urban campuses, and minority organizations in higher education and STEM fields. We also initiated a “campus champion” model wherein we identified faculty members on diverse campuses who are willing to help with recruiting and foster the success of their student participants. The result has been extremely successful: nearly 900 applications for approximately 30 spots. Of these, 32 percent were from minority groups traditionally underrepresented in the geosciences, and 20% of the applicants attend community colleges. Thirty-eight applicants attend HBCUs, and 217 attend tribal colleges and universities, HSI, or other MSI’s. We have also built a blogging and social media framework so our cohorts can share their experiences and generate new interest.