Initial Publication Date: July 18, 2018

Notes from the breakout group table discussions:

Bridge programs:

Bridge program small group discussion notes

  1. How can we get "scared of science" students into classrooms in the first year(s) of college?
    • Gen ed requirements
    • Open house/college days/preview of course offerings
    • Explore job opportunities during orientation and/or counseling
  • Teach a relevant local problem in a course
  • Field trips! Especially ones that are open to the community and/or highschool
  • Reach out to local highschool
  • Participate at local elementary school career days
  • Place-based learning (Steve Semken's work is useful); potentially rebrand "title" of course, even though it's still Geology 101
  • Find out what convinced the CURRENT science majors to be science majors, then try to emulate those things with new students or with the community.
  • STEM club with free food or parties
  • Virtual field trips
  • Know that change takes time
  • UNAVCO video series on career paths of current scientists of diverse backgrounds
  • Solicit local industry partners who might hire our grads; explore work experiences for students

  • What are some ideas for Bridge Program activities, programs, and funding sources?
    • Students are invited because of their interest in STEM
    • No cost to participants
    • Keep institutional costs low by using existing resources
    • Build upon other successful Bridge Programs; don't be afraid to communicate what works and what doesn't work
    • Tailor what you/your institution does to the students that you wish to serve
  • What are some things that have worked well in Bridge Programs?
    • "Early" experiences for students
    • A challenge is that students and parents are aware of the fact that they are in a demographic not usually successful in STEM; therefore, it is a sticky subject and can be hard to address without making students uncomfortable
    • Foster a community/cohort of students prior to the beginning of their freshman year; consider housing students in the same hall/dorm
    • Use care when creating groups in class so as not to separate/isolate students who might already be feeling like an outsider in the class

Mentoring/Student connections:

Mentoring discussion from EER

Thinking about how to make the bigger university have a smaller community to receive the transfer students.

Have students take a class at the 2YC before transfer and then a new class with them after transfer. Make sure they know someone when they transfer.

Sovereignty Center at OSU (and coming at OU) so there is a director that is receiving the transfer students. There is a safe space and a single place (with a person) they can go to when they are becoming part of the institutions.

The transition to the Graduate program is challenging because you don't typically have housing with other students. Some programs have solutions to get people together on a regular basis. This is a challenge especially for people transitioning to the workforce where there are no designated people to help with the finding your community, friends, housing, childcare etc.

Finding a group of people who share an identity – maybe outside of your own discipline – can help this.

Not helpful is being welcomed into a group that has an identity you don't share (as if you were part of that group)

Sharing someone ahead of a student in the same pathway who share their identity can help.

Mentoring tiering system (high school students with graduate students overseen by a faculty member). Making sure there is good communication across tiers and that there is consistent messaging that is accurate is important to making this successful. Poor preparation of the mentors can actually make this more difficult and frustrating for the younger tier participants.

Student groups don't all use the same type of communication (e-mail) and communication norms that are different between generations can cause breakdown in a the mentoring system. Need everyone to buy into the same communication system, and use the same medium, and understand the necessary norms for the setting. (private messaging apps that allow a faculty member or peer to send messages without knowing each others phone numbers etc.). These systems can feel burdensome when mentors are bearing the responsibility for participating that should be on the younger participant.

Showing a younger person the end point of a career path (being a professor or scientist in the field or whatever it is) is not sufficient because they can't visualize the intermediate steps that would get them from being a kid to being an (oooooold) grown up. The middle stages needed to be highlighted also.

Middle age people (high school students, undergraduates) need to be empowered to feel like they can act as mentors. This can be a mentoring 'up' situation where a younger person like a HS student who has been in a situation for more than one cycle (semester, year etc.) can mentor a new advisor coming into the program.

Considering how to make near peer mentoring situations to encourage positive interactions in addition to help seeking behavior. Traditions of celebrating birthdays, celebrating successes, giving reinforcement for things that are going well.

Creating sets of mentors that support students (writing, academic advice, math, peer etc.) . And also make sure the mentors are not taking up more of the students time than is helpful for the student. Consider how to make the advising roles complimentary.

There can be issues of students not being willing to open up about challenges to mentors/advisors, especially when that person is in a position to evaluate them on any level and they are interested in being impressive.

Preparation for the workforce:

How do you get students to explore careers?

· Class assignment options:

o Students to research careers, think about interview questions, make a poster about a job. Could use AGI wheel as a starting point for students to pick a career

o Students do an informational interview

o Students pick a way to explore a career—have choice (meet with specialist, have a virtual interview, etc.)

o Even in intro class of non-majors could be value in students knowing what geoscientists in their community do

· Geoscientist spotlights—could be profiles, videos:

o Make it easy for instructors to incorporate into their classes

o Could make it an assignment for student to find a geoscientist to spotlight—learn about them and present what you find

· Share pathway stories—visiting speakers, faculty, etc.

· Think about what is of interest to students:

o What job entails

o Salary

o Other benefits

· Invite alumni who are recent graduates:

o Tips for interviewing

o What is your job like?

o What did your resume look like?

· Students can tend to pigeon-hole themselves and not see other options or opportunities

o Early mention of career options can help students persist in major

o Make options and pathways visible to students

Other discussion items:

· Institutions should think about students' work experience and how that is considered with respect to degree requirements (especially for students in graduate degree programs or non-traditional students coming to school)

· Help students create resumes that highlight their skills—tailor to the job they are looking for. Students should look for job advertisements and try to revise their resume so that the skills required for the job are easy to spot in the resume. Make sure words match in case company uses an electronic search of your resume.

· Could ask alumni to look at students' resumes

· Institution may be able to help with data about where students have trouble, which students are successful, etc.

· Curriculum mapping can help program to identify if/where students are meeting outcomes and gaining skills

· Think about career paths and what classes/skills are needed

Transition from Graduate School to the Workforce

· For students to do not want a PhD-- professional science master's degree—blend of science content and other skills—financial, communication, organization; capstone project that is job-focused

· Book—To Boldly Go by Peter Fisk (may have a different title now—Put Your Science to Work)—how do you think about conveying your skills for jobs that aren't the jobs that you immediately think of for that degree/discipline