GSA Connects 2021 in Portland, Oregon

Paper No. 23-10
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-1:00 PM


AHERN, Shannon T.1, BLACKBURN, Evan B.1, CRAPO, Tristanna1, FISCHER, Emily L.1, FOKAR, Lamya A.2, GIFFORD, Stacy1, PERKINS, Katie2, RODRIGUEZ, Tristan2, HETHERINGTON, Callum1, MARTINEZ, TJ2 and ARIF, Rauf2, (1)Department of Geosciences, Texas Tech University, Box 41053, Lubbock, TX 79409-1053, (2)Journalism and Creative Media Industries, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX 79409

Communities that sense marginalization by STEM fields are not always identity-based. Student participants in a Geosciences-Creative Media Industries International Research Experience for Students (IRES) describe a lessened sense of acceptance by their peers when they chose to change majors out of a STEM field. They also report peers in STEM fields (sub)-consciously projecting superiority of their subject field. It is proposed that STEM-students may improve integration and acceptance amongst peers by improving their story-telling and strategic communication skills. This may promote increased and improved outcomes for the exchange of information and ideas between scientists and their peer groups beyond the STEM fields.

Texas Tech University students from the Geosciences and Creative Media Industries participated in a NSF-IRES program on strategic metal and mineral resources in the eastern Bushveld Complex, South Africa. The students documented their experiences through the production of content for dissemination via social media platforms. The media-products describe and demonstrate the scientific method, how knowledge and understanding in science evolves through time, and communicate information about strategic metals, their importance to society, and the consequences of mining operations on marginalized communities. The media products were evaluated on a rubric by an independent panel for videography, lighting and sound, and editing. The dispersion of the media products was measured using social media analytics, and their impact on how science and research are perceived was qualitatively evaluated. The results demonstrate that when STEM fields integrate creative industries and strategic communication strategies into their workflow they better meet the goal of communicating their science and increase the exchange of ideas and knowledge between peers. Peer mentoring was also a valued process of increasing trust and respect between the IRES participants. Effective story-telling should be integrated into recruitment and diversification initiatives.