GSA Connects 2021 in Portland, Oregon

Paper No. 183-8
Presentation Time: 3:30 PM


MCKAY, Jessica, Department of Geology and Geophysics, Texas A&M University, 3115 TAMU, College Station, TX 77843, RIGGS, Eric M., Department of Geology & Geophysics, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843, FAIRCHILD, Ennea, Department of Sociology, University of Northern Colorado, Candelaria Hall, Campus Box 142, Greeley, CO 80639, HINERMAN, Krystal, College of Education and Human Development, Lamar University, Education Building, Room 205, Beaumont, TX 77710, NEWMAN, Harmony, Sociology and Gender Studies, University of Northern Colorado, Campus Box 154, Greeley, CO 80639 and SEXTON, Julie M., Environmental Studies, University of Colorado Boulder, 397 UCB, 4001 Discovery Drive, Boulder, CO 80309

Field education has long played a central role in undergraduate geoscience curriculum, typically involving multiple segments of field experiences for most students. These include field trips within courses, independent research, and an immersive capstone course or field camp. Engagement in fieldwork can have positive outcomes on undergraduate students' cognitive and affective development. Additionally, engagement in fieldwork experiences can help develop students' science identity, sense of belonging, sense of place, and enjoyment of field science disciplines. Although fieldwork can have many positive outcomes, negative experiences occurring during fieldwork may drive students away from further study in geology. Transformative Experience (TE) is a body of theory and empirical research describing the profound changes in interest and identity that happen due to specific educational experiences. It is defined in terms of three characteristics: motivated use of new knowledge, expansion of perception due to an experience and the personal experiential value of an educational event. This research investigates the factors that affect a student undergoing a transformative experience within a geological field setting. Through a mixed-methods approach we have discovered and are refining concepts from qualitative interview data with the goal of developing and expanding quantitative instruments to measuring transformative experience in this setting. By deconstructing the nature of TE, we can create environments that foster positive experiences, further assisting in the recruitment and retention of students in geology programs.