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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
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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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Results 21 - 30 of 38 matches

California State University, Bakersfield
What are the demographics of your institution and do the students in the program reflect that? Of the 8,520 students matriculated at California State University, Bakersfield in fall 2012, 53% were from groups underrepresented in the sciences, engineering, and mathematics, with Hispanics at 45% the largest group, and Blacks and Native Indians making up another 8%. Fall 2012 undergraduate geology major demographics are 37% Hispanic, 2% Black, and 1% American Indian, a reasonably close reflection of the demographics of the university as a whole. How many majors? In Fall 2013, there were well over 100 undergraduate geology majors and about 45 graduate students. What degree programs are available in the department? BS Geology, BA Geology, MS Geology Is there a historical reason for the program's existence? The undergraduate program was originally a broad-based BS in Earth Science degree that was among the first programs offered when the university was founded in the 1970s. In the mid-1980s, the program was changed to a more focused, traditional BS Geology degree to better meet the needs of employers in the region. The MS Geology program was also initiated in the mid-1980s at the request of employers and professionals in the region.

Texas A & M University-Corpus Christi
According to U.S. Census data, approximately 60% of the population in Corpus Christi was Hispanic in 2010 (most current data available). In the Fall of that year, approximately 40% of the students enrolled at TAMUCC were Hispanics (about 4,000 students). Nearly 20% of the geology majors that year were declared Hispanics; 13 students). The numbers increased for 2011 (30%) as well as 2012 (30%; 24 of the 79 geology majors). Despite the increase, these numbers clearly show, that recruitment efforts geared towards this population group need to improve. Within our department, there are also over 170 declared Environmental Sciences majors. As with Geology, approximately 30% of these students are Hispanics. Overall the Geology Program at TAMUCC has seen a substantial growth over the past 6 years (40% increase in enrollment). The program currently serves 85 majors and over 500 non-science majors (yearly). Part of the growth may reflect a regional increase in interest in the geosciences because of the Eagle Ford Shale "boom".

Northern Virginia Community College
We are a large, multi-campus community college in the suburban fringe of a major metropolitan area (Washington, D.C.). We grant A.S. degrees in Science (among many other degrees), and so any student who intends to major in geology would first get an A.S. with us, then transfer to a four-year college for their B.S. degree in geology.

US State Dept, International Boundary and Water Commission
The USIBWC supports hiring individuals whose skill sets match our focus of work along the U.S.- Mexico border. We actively recruit on USAJOBS and with outreach to universities and our own staff. We hire many individuals with disabilities, veterans and minorities to keep a diverse pool of talent and cultures. We hire many Engineers for water, environmental and in house business operations and those in other critical skills. As part of this hiring I work with many students outside of work to help them in processing paperwork, education and teaching. My work is in the environmental field at the USIBWC but I also work with others at UTEP as I am developing a textbook on teaching the visually disabled geology. Our recruitment of those who are minorities, veterans and the disabled has increased over the last several years as we actively approach those with the skill sets to help in securing a Federal job.

Western Kentucky University
Western Kentucky University (WKU) is a public, comprehensive university of over 21,000 students. It is located in Bowling Green, Kentucky, and it is one of nine state-supported institutions in Kentucky's postsecondary system. The university was founded as a Normal school in 1906. Over time it evolved beyond its Teacher College roots to become, in 1966, a University with six distinct colleges. It is currently the largest four-year comprehensive university in Kentucky. The Geology program at WKU is part of the Department of Geography and Geology and WKU's Ogden College of Science and Engineering. The Department is one of the oldest at WKU with roots traceable back to WKU's early Teacher College years. The department has always had a strong connection to the cave and karst landscape of south-central, KY, including Mammoth Cave National Park; the karst resources of the region have been a major attraction and an important focus of the department's activities and its educational programs. The Department of Geography and Geology currently has 206 active majors among four programs: geography (61 majors), geology (63 majors), meteorology (70 majors) and geographic information systems (12 majors). The demographic make-up of the Department is similar to College of Science and Engineering; approximately two-thirds of the students are male and 80% of the students are white. These data differ from the University as a whole, which although predominantly white (79%), has more female undergraduate students (58%) than male students (42%).

University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
LacCore, the National Lacustrine Core Facility, and the various students with whom we work in REU (NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates), UROP (UMN Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program), and other research programs and internships. "Diverse" in our case may refer to underrepresented minority students (with a focus on Native Americans in some of our projects, including those described by Diana Dalbotten in her parallel essay), disabled, veterans, women, and nontraditional students. Our REU and other interns come from a wide variety of US institutions.

St. Anthony Falls Laboratory, University of Minnesota
The Saint Anthony Falls Laboratory (SAFL) is a research laboratory situated on Hennepin Island in the Mississippi River in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Research at SAFL includes the work of many fields, including civil engineering, hydraulic engineering, hydrology, ecology, and geology. Research at SAFL has been spurred on in the first decade of the 21st century by its status as the headquarters of the National Center for Earth-surface Dynamics (NCED). SAFL and NCED have developed and support national and regional programs related to broadening participation of underrepresented groups in STEM. The St. Anthony Falls Laboratory is part of the College of Science and Engineering at the University of Minnesota. The central theme of research at St. Anthony Falls Laboratory (SAFL) is interdisciplinary fluid mechanics. Researchers at SAFL combine field experiments with physical and computational modeling, utilizing our building's unique facilities, to address emerging societal problems in energy, environmental restoration, and human and ecosystem health. They emphasize quantitative and predictive understanding of the underlying physical processes across a broad range of spatial and temporal scales. Researchers at SAFL are primarily faculty, graduate students and post-doctoral scholars affiliated with the College of Science and Engineering (primarily Civil and Mechanical Engineering, Earth Sciences) and with the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior in the College of Food, Agriculture and Natural Resource Science.

Humboldt State University
Humboldt State University is the northernmost campus of the California State University system located on the rural north coast, ~300 miles north of San Francisco. Campus demographics are changing rapidly to better reflect that of California. As Fall 2013, HSU was eligible for recognition as an Hispanic Serving Institution. The Geology Department has ~110 majors, ~10 of which are MS students, ~85 Geology BS/BA, and ~15 Geology BA-Geosciences Option. The Geosciences Option was revamped from a Geoscience Education Option that never gained viable enrollments in part due to changes in the Education program.

Mesa Community College
Mesa Community College serves over 40,000 students a year, 21% of whom are Hispanic. We have two different geoscience pathways for students to pursue, geology (in the physical science department) and geography (in the cultural science department). Both programs serve over 600 students a year, only a handful of whom self-identify as majors. There are no geoscience degrees, so tracking the number of majors is difficult, however there is a geology club that has an active membership ranging from 10-30 members in any given year.

Purdue University-Main Campus
The majority of undergraduate students at Purdue University are from Indiana (57%) or surrounding states in the mid-west. Also, international students make up 17% of the undergraduate enrollment. The mid-western states have the lowest percentage of minority population of any region in the United States. Below are some statistics (2013-14) for undergraduate enrollment of the university. Purdue undergraduate enrollment: Male 16,843 (57.2%) Female 12,597 (42.8%) Purdue undergraduate minority enrollment: 16% of all undergraduates 19.4% of all U.S. undergraduates Purdue undergraduate underrepresented minority (URM) enrollment: 8.5% of all undergraduates 10.2% of all U.S. undergraduates Within Purdue's College of Science, there are 3319 undergraduates of which 2164 (65.2%) are male and 1155 (34.8%) are female. Demographic data for the Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences (EAPS) department are shown below: EAPS undergraduate majors (2013-14) Male 70 (60.9%) Female 45 (39.1%) International students 12 (10.4%) Minority students 13 (11.3%) There are six undergraduate major programs within EAPS: Atmospheric Science/Meteorology, Geology and Geophysics, Environmental Geoscience, Planetary Science, Earth and Space Science Education, and Interdisciplinary Science (joint with other departments in the College of Science). The EAPS department was founded in 1967 in order to increase the coverage of science programs within the College of Science, provide degree programs in Earth and atmospheric sciences, and in recognition of the significance of the geosciences to societal issues into the future. The department was originally named the Department of Geosciences. The name was subsequently changed to the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences and then to the Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences. There has been significant change in the EAPS demographics in the past 5 years. The percentage of female undergraduate students has increased from 27.2% in 2009-10 to 39.1% in 2013-14. Similarly, the percentage of international students has increased from 4.4% to 10.4%, and the percentage of minority students has increased from 5.2% to 11.3% in the same time period.