Recruitment and retention in Geosciences through integrated professional and academic experiences

Authors: Heidi J. L. Lannon*, Santa Fe College, B. Lanman, Orlando Science Center, Corene Matyas, University of Florida, Kathryn Stofer, University of Florida, Jasmeet Judge, University of Florida
Topics: Geography Education, Higher Education
Keywords: Experiential learning, Underrepresented students,
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/10/2018
Start / End Time: 2:40 PM / 4:20 PM
Room: Napoleon A1, Sheraton, 3rd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

The Geoscience Engagement and Outreach program (GEO), funded by the National Science Foundation, supports annual cohorts of students in Geosciences. Opportunities for high impact professional and academic experiences are essential tools for recruitment into Geography. Two cohorts of students who have participated in summer applied work experience at the Orlando Science Center are evaluated to determine the impacts of experiential learning.

In recognition of Geography as a found major Santa Fe College, the University of Florida and Orlando Science Center collaborated to create the GEO Program. The objective is to recruit, retain and mentor students from underrepresented groups, who are nonscience oriented, from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds and age groups, and are first generation college attendees. Recruitment and retention of students is achieved through funded applied work experience, job skill development, academic advising, and faculty mentored research in meteorology, soil hydrology, and STEM education.

The paid summer internship at the Orlando Science Center is integrated with classroom work at Santa Fe College and research experience with University of Florida faculty. Santa Fe College is an open-access academic environment, accepting students with a high school diploma or equivalent. While diverse in ability and backgrounds, students may lack organized affiliations, have challenging family or employment situations and be unable to participate in structured programs. This presentation will outline successes and failures of integrating experiential and professional skills for students traditionally underrepresented in sciences. This is measured against the goal to achieve transfer to a 4-year University in Geosciences or a related field.

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