Improving Undergraduate STEM Education: Pathways into Geoscience (IUSE:GEOPATHS)

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

Authors

Brandon Jones, National Science Foundation
Lina Patino, National Science Foundation
Elizabeth Rom, National Science Foundation
Manda Adams, National Science Foundation
Preparation of the geoscience workforce includes increasing numbers as well as providing adequate education, exposure and training for undergraduates once they enter geoscience pathways. It is important to consider potential career trajectories for geoscience students, as these inform the types of education and skill-learning required. Recent reports have highlighted that critical thinking and problem-solving skills, spatial and temporal abilities, strong quantitative skills, and the ability to work in teams are among the priorities for many geoscience work environments.

The increasing focus of geoscience work on societal issues opens the door to engaging a diverse population of students. In light of this, one challenge is to find effective strategies for "opening the world of possibilities" in the geosciences for these students and supporting them at the critical junctures where they might choose an alternative pathway to geosciences or otherwise leave altogether.

To address these and related matters, The National Science Foundation's (NSF) Directorate for Geosciences (GEO) supports IUSE: GEOPATHS, to create and support innovative and inclusive projects to build the future geoscience workforce. This program is one component in NSF's Improving Undergraduate STEM Education (IUSE) initiative, which is a comprehensive, Foundation-wide effort to accelerate the quality and effectiveness of the education of undergraduates in all of the STEM fields. The two tracks of IUSE: GEOPATHS (EXTRA and IMPACT) seek to broaden and strengthen connections and activities that will engage and retain undergraduate students in geoscience education and career pathways, and help prepare them for a variety of careers. The long-term goal of this program is to dramatically increase the number and diversity of students earning undergraduate degrees or enrolling in graduate programs in geoscience fields, as well as ensure that they have the necessary skills and competencies to succeed as next generation professionals in a variety of employment sectors.