BUILDING 2YC STUDENTS’ SCIENCE IDENTITIES THROUGH DIGITAL MEDIA TO BROADEN PARTICIPATION IN THE GEOSCIENCES
Participating in this SAGE 2YC project introduced me to the concept of science identity. Identity broadly refers to how individuals see themselves fitting into a specific role in a given situation. Studies have shown that students with an improved science identity are more likely to pursue a STEM career field. Even if they do not choose to become a professional scientist, their science identity can influence future decisions regarding their career, public policy, and more.
To enhance students' perception of their own science identities, I developed curricula based upon digital education tools, namely the Common Descent podcast and Time Scavengers blog series. Both of these platforms are designed to increase public (including student) literacy regarding paleontology, climate change, and evolutionary theory. In addition, each platform showcases the diversity of scientists that work in STEM fields. Representation has a strong power to influence a sense of belonging. Many of the scientists highlighted on these platforms attended a 2YC at some point along their educational path. Seeing a reflection of themselves, these scientists cultivate a sense of “Just Like Me” with my students.