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Programs Supporting Minority Students in Geoscience

There are successful efforts to attract and support diverse students learning about the Earth in many institutions around the country. The profiles in this collection can serve as models and inspiration for departments and programs that aspire to broaden participation in the geosciences.

The browse below makes use of the US Federal Government's classifications of minority-serving institutions (MSI).

MSI Classifications

The federal government classifies US 2- and 4-year degree-granting postsecondary institutions which are eligible for federal student aid programs into seven mutually exclusive categories:

  1. HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities);
  2. Black-serving non-HBCUs: institutions that are not HBCUs/TCUs but in which Black students constitute at least 25 percent of the total undergraduate enrollment, while students of all other individual minority groups each constitute less than 25 percent of the total undergraduate enrollment;
  3. Hispanic-serving: institutions that are not HBCUs/TCUs and in which Hispanic students constitute at least 25 percent of the undergraduate enrollment, while students of all other individual minority groups each constitute less than 25 percent of the total undergraduate enrollment;
  4. Asian-serving: institutions that are not HBCUs/TCUs and in which Asian/Pacific Islander students constitute at least 25 percent of the total undergraduate enrollment, while students in each of the other minority groups constitute less than 25 percent of the total undergraduate enrollment;
  5. American Indian-serving: TCUs or institutions that are not HBCUs/TCUs but in which American Indian/Alaska Native students constitute at least 25 percent of the total undergraduate enrollment, while students in each of the other minority groups constitute less than 25 percent of the total undergraduate enrollment;
  6. Other minority-serving: institutions that do not fit any of the above categories but in which minority students as a whole constitute at least 50 percent of the total undergraduate enrollment; and
  7. Non-minority-serving: institutions that do not meet any of the criteria described above.

From:
Li, Xiaojie; C. Dennis Carroll (November 2007). "Characteristics of Minority-Serving Institutions and Minority Undergraduates Enrolled in These Institutions: Postsecondary Education Descriptive Analysis Report". Institute of Education Sciences (US Department of Education).

JSU Students in the Meteorology Lab
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Students in the Meteorology Laboratory at Jackson State University.[reuse info]
Provenance: Jackson State University Department of Physics, Atmospheric Science, and Geosciences
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SOLARIS Geo-Ventures Trip
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First SOLARIS Geo-Ventures event of the 2013-14 academic year. September, 2013[creative commons]
Provenance: Joshua Villalobos, EPCC
Reuse: This item is offered under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/ You may reuse this item for non-commercial purposes as long as you provide attribution and offer any derivative works under a similar license.
SKC Hydrology Stdents
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Students at Salish Kootenai Tribal College doing hydrology activities.[reuse info]
Provenance: http://www.tribalcollegejournal.org/archives/3111
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FVSU Student
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photo of a FVSU student[reuse info]
Provenance: FVSU webpage- from this page: http://www.fvsu.edu/academics/cdep
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2008 LSAMP Scholarship class at UNM
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2008 LSAMP Scholarship class at UNM[reuse info]
Provenance: LSAMP UNM
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University of Texas at El Paso
The student population mirrors the community. About 80% of the population is Hispanic. About 90% of the student body, at the undergraduate level especially, comes from El Paso County. About 60% are the first in their family to go to college. Enrollment has increased greatly (approximately doubled) in the past 3 to 4 years, and this attributed in a large part to outreach and marketing. They have approximately 70 majors in geology and geophysics, plus another 70 students who are either environmental science majors in the geology department or concentrators in geology from the environmental science department.

Salish Kootenai Tribal College
Housed within the Natural Resources Department, this program offers Associate's and Bachelor's of Science Hydrology Degrees that combine both science and Traditional Ecological Knowledge. Since its inception the program has enrolled a total of 21 students, and 17 were still active as of fall 2012. Eighty-two percent of these students were Native American. The first graduate from the program was expected in December 2012.

Jackson State University
Jackson State University is a Historically Black University with an enrollment of around 9000 students. About 95% of their enrollment is African-American with almost all of the remainder being Caucasian. The Department of Physics, Atmospheric Science, and Geoscience offers BS degrees in Physics, Meteorology, and Earth System Science.

GateWay Community College
GateWay Community College is located in Phoenix, Arizona, and is one of 10 community colleges in the Maricopa community college district. Students tend to come from Maricopa county (the county that includes Phoenix) and graduating students tend to want to stay in Maricopa county. Just over 25% of the student body is hispanic. Many students are non-traditional students seeking re-career training. The average student age is around 35 years old. Many students do not have a previous degree, but some come in with bachelors and masters degrees. These students typically still need additional coursework to meet the certification requirements of the American Institute of Hydrology as hydrologic technicians to be hired by the USGS (or other federal or state agencies or local municipalities).

Grand Valley State University
The GVSU Advanced Geology High School Course with College Credit program has been underway for around 10 years. It began as a partnership between Steve Mattox at Grand Valley State University and one high school teacher, a Grand Valley State University graduate, Chris Bolhuis. Chris approached Steve looking for a way to allow his students to earn college credit for the course Chris was teaching. Steve developed an exam for use at the end of the school year to ensure the high school students were learning the depth and breadth of material necessary to earn the credit. This partnership then expanded to other teachers at other high schools. Steve now actively looks for other teachers who are qualified to teach this course (they must have a bachelor's degree in geology and a master's degree in science education, geology, or some other graduate degree). Steve also has expanded the partnership to include other institutions such as Michigan Technological University, Hope College and 9 other Michigan institutions. There will be 15 high schools administering the test by the time the NSF grant period ends in summer 2015 and about half of those schools will have diverse student populations.

University of New Mexico
The University of New Mexico is a Hispanic Serving Institution with 38% of it's 29,000 student body being Hispanic. It also serves relatively large population of Native American students (5.5% of the student body) and a high percentage of first generation and 2-year college transfer students. One factor that contributes to the high percentage of minority students is that the state of New Mexico provides scholarships for students to attend college through revenue from lottery ticket sales. This helps to increase the diversity of students attending the school which benefits over 5,000 students per year across the state.

Hampton University
Hampton University is a Historically Black Institution. Around 90% of the student body is African-American. The university and department are currently working to increase diversity by trying to attract more hispanic students, asian students, native american students and other minority students as well. Also, the Army Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) program is quite strong on campus so there are more students with military training entering the department as well.

Central State University
The mission of the International Center for Water Resources Management at CSU is to offer programs with multi-cultural and global perspectives with particular emphasis on African and African-American cultures; collaborate with other education institutions, business organizations, and government agencies to enrich learning experiences and educational opportunities for students; and provide quality educational programs in the scientific technical fields where minorities have been traditionally underrepresented. The Center is home to the geoscience programs available for study at CSU: Environmental Engineering, Geography, Geology, and Water Resources Management.

University of South Alabama
The University of South Alabama is a regional, comprehensive four-year institution with an enrollment of 15,000 students. Approximately 35% of students are minorities whereas the community is comprised of 55% minorities. The Department of Earth Sciences has approximately 20-25% minorities in their three programs of geography, geology, and meteorology. The combined enrollment of the three programs is approximately 260 students.

University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez
The Department of Geology at the University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez

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