Programs that Broaden Participation in the Geosciences in the El Paso Region

Wednesday 4:30pm-5:45pm Student Union: Ballroom B
Poster Session Part of Wednesday Session


Annette Veilleux, University of Texas at El Paso
Tina Carrick, El Paso Community College
Diane Doser, University of Texas at El Paso
Laura Serpa, University of Texas at El Paso
The Geological Sciences Department at the University of Texas at El Paso has always aimed to broaden the participation of all grades levels (K – 12 to undergraduates) in the geosciences. Increased awareness may ultimately lead to better recruitment and retention within the geosciences. Whether through interactive outreach activities or outreach programs that follow the progression of students throughout their stages of education, the goals have remained consistent.
This poster describes the programs/activities sponsored by the department that have been active over the last 10 – 15 years. Some programs are still active while others have ended. These programs have or had the benefit of broadening the participation in the geosciences. In a recent outreach program, for example, 5th and 8th grade students in the Tornillo ISD were given learning opportunities through the unique perspective of geology graduate students and visited the UTEP campus twice in the spring semester. The exposure to potential career paths for youth in Tornillo ISD will help prepare students who may have never considered college an option due to economic disadvantages. The benefit to the community will be to build UTEP connections to a school district that is located on the farthest eastern boundary of the El Paso region and encompasses an area where basic water, sewer and infrastructure is lacking (a colonia) where water issues are ever important. For next year, questionnaires have been prepared to assess the student's experience. At the present time results are qualitative in nature.
By providing opportunities for students to participate in such programs, STEM initiatives and goals have been achieved and demonstrated in various programs. Exposing students, at all levels, to geosciences content, presenting future career opportunities within the geosciences, and participation in geoscience research has the benefit of broadening participation and strengthening UTEP community relations and connections.