SAGE 2YC > Workforce, Transfer, and Careers > Preparing Students in Two-year Colleges for Careers > Essays > Utilizing field experiences to create student interest in the geosciences.
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Utilizing field experiences to create student interest in the geosciences.

Kelly Bringhurst, Dixie State College of Utah

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Dixie 
State
 College
 of
 Utah 
is 
located 
in
 Southern 
Utah 
at 
the 
border
 of 
the 
Colorado 
Plateau
 and
 the 
Basin
 and
 Range. We
 utilize 
this
 setting
 to
 give
 geologic 
field 
experiences
 to 
approximately 
600 
students
 a
 year.
 Field
 trips 
are 
required 
in 
all
 geology 
courses 
and 
range 
from 
local
 6‐hour
 trips 
to 
5‐day 
trips
 to
 the 
National
 Parks.
 While
 most 
students
 do
 not
 major
 in
 the 
geosciences, 
it 
is
 our
 hope 
that 
a
 field
 experience 
will 
help 
them
 appreciate 
geoscience 
concepts 
and 
entice
 some students 
to 
consider 
the 
geosciences 
for
 a 
career.
 In
 order 
to
 expand
 upon 
the
 importance 
of
 these 
field 
experiences,
 we 
recently
 developed
 the
 Colorado
 Plateau Field
 Research
 Institute.



The 
Colorado 
Plateau
 Field
 Institute 
has 
a
 mission 
to 
facilitate 
practical
 field
 experiences 
and
 research 
opportunities 
on 
the 
Colorado
 Plateau
 and 
in 
the 
Basin
 and
 Range.
 The 
target
 audience 
includes: 
undergraduate
 science 
students, 
K‐12
teachers, 
science 
education
 majors
 at
 DSC,
 graduate
 students
 from 
other
 institutions; 
and
 working 
professionals.
 Institute 
programs 
will
 also 
involve 
an 
international
 audience,
 both
 to
 provide
 broad 
access 
to 
the 
learning
 opportunities
 represented
 in
 the
 extraordinary 
outcrops 
and
 eco‐zones
 of 
the
 region
 and 
to 
engage
 North
 American 
faculty
 and 
students
 in 
research
 with
 international
 peer
 groups.


The 
focus 
on 
K‐12
 teachers
 and
 Dixie 
College
 science
 education
 majors
 is
 of
 primary 
importance.
 Having
 teachers 
well 
versed
 and
 excited 
about
 the
 geosciences 
is
 the 
best
 recruiting 
tool
 for
 future
 majors 
in
 this 
field.


Dixie College 
has
 a
 dual
 mission
 both
 as 
a
 Community
 College 
and
 a
 State 
4‐year
 college.
 While
 we
 do 
not 
offer 
a
 degree 
in
 geology,
 we
 articulate
 with 
the 
Universities
 in 
Utah
 so
 that
 our
 students 
can
 have 
a
 seamless
 transfer
 to
 geology
 programs 
throughout 
the
 state. 
Annual
 meetings
 with
 geology
 faculty
 representing 
all
 state
 supported
 colleges 
in 
Utah 
are 
held 
to 
provide 
pathways 
for 
communication 
and 
articulation.
 These 
meetings 
build
 trust 
and
 we 
find 
that 
our 
students
 are 
always 
welcomed
 at 
the 
other 
institutions.


I
 am 
looking 
forward 
to 
discussion 
on 
career 
opportunities 
and 
placement 
potential 
to 
help 
advise
 students 
towards 
a 
career 
in
 the 
geosciences.
 We
 are 
also 
developing 
an 
Environmental
 Science 
B.S. 
degree
 program 
with 
an
 emphasis 
on 
geology
 and 
chemistry. 
Practical
 skills 
that
 students 
need
 for
 environmental 
monitoring 
and 
testing 
will 
be 
an 
important
 part 
of 
the 
degree 
proposal.


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