Improving Geoscience Career Awareness for Urban Undergraduates

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


Stefany Sit, University of Illinois at Chicago
Ben Alsip, University of Illinois at Chicago
Danielle Petkunas, University of Illinois at Chicago
Jenny Bueno, University of Illinois at Chicago
Kathryn Nagy, University of Illinois at Chicago
As the demand for talented geoscientists continues to grow, there is a pressing need to attract talented young scientists from all ethnic, cultural, and racial backgrounds. Urban centers can potentially serve as a rich source of diverse students, however more efforts are needed to introduce and explain the variety of possible geoscience careers relevant to their communities and worldview.

Through the InTeGrate Implementation Program, we focused on engaging students at the University of Illinois at Chicago with materials that highlighted career opportunities and featured departmental alumni. We assembled a team of undergraduate and graduate students to help advise and produce materials. First, we designed a geoscience career poster to help increase awareness of job opportunities, future workforce demand, and salary potential within our field. We partnered with our university's Office of Career Services who came into our classrooms to discuss career exploration and worked with faculty to develop a discipline specific resume writing assignment in which students were exposed to scholarship, internship, and job opportunities. We also connected with departmental alumni to feature their unique academic and career paths. By the end of our 1.5 year program, we created 10 alumni informational profiles, 4 YouTube interview videos, and hosted 6 alumni on campus. Our group of alumni included individuals from typically underrepresented groups, international backgrounds, those who started their degrees at 2-year colleges, and those who transitioned into the discipline later in their career. Finally, we developed a departmental website on our course management system, Blackboard, to disseminate our newly developed career materials and provide students with extra resources like sample resumes and interview advice. Faculty and students alike have responded well to these efforts and materials with a renewed sense of pride for the department and enthusiasm for the geosciences.