Geoscience Workforce Development Activities at UNAVCO

Thursday 1:30pm REC Center Medium Ice Overlook Room
Oral Presentation Part of Teaching For Diversity


Aisha Morris, National Science Foundation
This presentation focuses on the ongoing efforts at UNAVCO to meet the needs of students and faculty dedicated to broadening participation in the future geoscience workforce. The geosciences lag behind other STEM fields in increasing the diversity of participants, and shifting the perspectives of those both inside and outside of the field requires intentional attention to ensuring undergraduate success. UNAVCO is well-situated to both prepare undergraduate students for placement in geoscience technical positions and advanced graduate study and to provide mentoring resources for faculty engaged in supporting undergraduates from diverse backgrounds. UNAVCO is a university-governed consortium facilitating research and education in the geosciences, and operates the NSF geodetic facility. For the past decade, UNAVCO has managed Research Experiences in Solid Earth Science for Students (RESESS), an NSF-funded multiyear geoscience research internship, community support, and professional development program. The primary goal of the RESESS program is to increase the number of historically underrepresented students entering the geosciences, whether continuing academic studies or moving into the workforce.

In 2015, UNAVCO broadened its internship portfolio, adding Geo-LAUNCHPAD, an NSF-funded pilot REU Site aimed at involving two-year college students and lower-division undergraduates in projects that prepare them for independent research opportunities. Geo-LAUNCHPAD will assist early-academic career students in understanding and developing the skills necessary to transition to undergraduate research programs or to prepare for positions in the geotechnical workforce.

Developing confident, capable geoscientists from diverse backgrounds requires, among many variables, the development of confident, capable mentors to help guide and support students along the path to professional positions. In order to ensure a continued student support structure, UNAVCO and IRIS will co-host a one-day workshop at the 2015 EarthScope National Meeting. The Faculty Institute for Research Mentoring Excellence (FIRME) will develop participants' mentoring acumen, with particular focus on supporting students from non-traditional backgrounds.

Presentation Media