GSA Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, USA - 2019

Paper No. 189-2
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-6:30 PM


MACDONALD, R. Heather, Department of Geology, College of William & Mary, Williamsburg, VA 23187-8795

Geoscience educators and departments can help guide the career pathways of undergraduate students at both two-year and four-year colleges and universities. An intentional focus on careers and career pathways can benefit students at different career stages: those taking their first geoscience course; those completing a geoscience major; those preparing for the next stage of their academic career (e.g., transferring to a 4-year institution or entering a graduate program); and those moving into the professional workforce. Career advising and mentoring can take place via informal and formal experiences including individual advising sessions, mentoring relationships, courses, and departmental activities. As educators, we can (1) share information about jobs and careers, (2) provide experiences in courses and other venues that develop relevant knowledge, skills, and attitudes, (3) encourage exploration of a range of career options in and beyond the geosciences, and (4) support students as they transition to their next career stage. In entry-level and majors courses, we can provide information about jobs and careers in and beyond the geosciences, giving examples of diverse geoscientists and their work, illustrating practical applications of course content, and working to build students’ science identity. We can sponsor career panels and in-person or virtual guest lecturers who talk about careers. Courses throughout the curriculum as well as research experiences, internships, and summer jobs can develop workforce skills, leadership skills, and professional dispositions; we can help make the connection to careers explicit. Exploration of options could include informational interviews, research and teaching experiences, and internships. We can help students navigate the transition to the next career stage through individual mentoring, sessi atons on transfer or graduate school, networking opportunities, resume sessions, connecting students and alumni, and publicizing internship and job announcements. Many national programs (e.g., SAGE 2YC) and professional organizations have resources to help educators support all students in their professional pathways. As mentors and advisors, we can help students explore career options, develop relevant skills, and make strategic career decisions.