GSA Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado, USA - 2016

Paper No. 187-14
Presentation Time: 11:40 AM


COOPER, Sharon, Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University, 61 Route 9W, Palisades, NY 10964, LEWIS, Jonathan, Geoscience, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Indiana, PA 15705, THOMSON, Karen B., Independent Consultant, 171 Clermont Ave, #3C, Brooklyn, NY 11205, RABIN, Beth, Independent Consultant, Los Angeles, CA 90039, LECKIE, Mark, Dept. of Geosciences, Univ of Massachusetts, 611 North Pleasant Street, Amherst, MA 01003, ST. JOHN, Kristen, Department of Geology and Environmental Science, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA 22807, PEKAR, Stephen F., Queens College, 65-30 Kissena Blvd, Flushing, NY 11367 and VAN DER HOEVEN KRAFT, Katrien J., Science, Whatcom Community College, 237 W. Kellogg Road, Bellingham, WA 98226,

The Science Technology Engineering and Math Student Experiences Aboard Ships (STEMSEAS) program was created as a response to NSF’s call for improving undergraduate STEM education and enhancing diversity in the geosciences. It takes advantage of unused berths on UNOLS ships during transits between expeditions. During its pilot year -- which consisted of three transits on three different research vessels in different parts of the country, each with a slightly different focus -- the program has gained significant insights into how best to create and structure these opportunities and create impact on individual students. Initial results indicate that these kinds of relatively short but intense experiences can indeed achieve significant impacts in students’ perception of the geosciences, in their understanding of STEM career opportunities, their desire to work in a geoscience lab setting, and to incorporate geosciences into non-STEM careers. The program successfully recruited diverse cohorts of underrepresented minorities in STEM including race/ethnicity, women, socioeconomic status, veterans, community college students, and students with disabilities. Insights were also gained into the successful makeup of mentor/leader groups, factors to consider in student selection, necessary pre- and post-cruise logistics management, follow-up activities, structure of activities during daily life at sea, increasing student networks and access to mentorships, and leveraging of pre-existing resources and ship-based opportunities. Additionally, lessons learned by working with multiple UNOLS ship operators can be applied to the growth of the program over time.