Developing Career Awareness at Community Colleges to Increase Transfer to Four-Year Colleges

Authors: Patrick L. Shabram*, Front Range Community College Larimer Campus, Jamie Pawloski, Front Range Community College Larimer Campus, Max J. Miller, Front Range Community College Westminster Campus
Topics: Higher Education, Careers and professional development, Physical Geography
Keywords: Curriculum Design, Professional Development for Undergraduates, Recruiting, Diversity, Research for Undergraduates, Student Learning, Transferring to four-year colleges
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/13/2018
Start / End Time: 5:20 PM / 7:00 PM
Room: Studio 2, Marriott, 2nd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Community colleges enroll almost half of U.S. undergraduates. As community colleges often have a more diverse student body, early exposure to STEM research and career paths is one approach to increasing diversity in STEM professions. Many community college students are the first in their family to attend college and are more likely unfamiliar with the steps required to transfer to four-year colleges, often lack knowledge of the importance of internship programs or do not have awareness of such programs, and have little understanding of the variety of geoscience career opportunities available. Geo-Launchpad, a National Science Foundation supported program, was developed at Front Range Community College with the community college student in mind. This program works to expose students to internships, research, and career development to increase student interest in pursuing geoscience focused degrees. Geo-Launchpad is a collaborative program with UNAVCO, an NSF geodetic facility, utilizing a three-tiered approach to career awareness; including a seminar, curriculum development, and for a few select students, a paid summer internship at UNAVCO. Centerpieces include a new course, GEO 210: Careers/Research in the Geosciences – introducing students to current research, tools, techniques, internship opportunities, professions, and transfer programs in the Geosciences – and a faculty mentorship program for UNAVCO interns. Early results show success in completing the program’s goals, especially in building confidence in students’ abilities and career awareness.

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