Earth Education Forum - Moving from Learning Opportunities to Learning Pathways: Guiding students toward geoscience careers

Monday 4:30pm-5:45pm Burge Union Forum C/D

Session Chairs

Cathy Manduca, Carleton College
Donna Charlevoix, EarthScope Consortium

Share your experience and ideas!

We invite you to join us for this Earth Education Forum, where participants will bring together their experiences to contribute to a discussion of strengthening learning pathways to careers in the geosciences.

From the point of view of a student, education looks like a series of learning opportunities that cross educational levels, and add up to their education and job preparation. Successful individuals find their interests, persist across transitions, prepare effectively for the work that they would like to do, and enter into the workforce. How do we make these pathway more visible and accessible to students of all types? In this forum, we will brainstorm the opportunities we have to strengthen learning pathways that connect from elementary and middle school through to the workforce. We will uncover the role of mentoring and the value in explicit signposting for students. In our roles as educators at different levels and in different venues, how can we collectively improve students ability to see the geoscience path ahead and persist to the workforce.

The importance of continuity - learn more about the Jolly model

forum slides (PowerPoint 2007 (.pptx) 2.7MB Jul16 18)


How can we

  • Make pathways more visible to students?
  • Better connect one pathway element to another?
  • Support students travel along pathways?


Finding the Trailhead

  • point source - an individual who turned onto field- how do make these for everyone?
  • how do we connect to hot show
  • social media
  • make accessible to all (transportation)
  • look for existing programs that lack geoscience and 'enrich' - science outreach events,
  • geology club as a mechanism for bringing geoscience into schools with no geoscience
  • earthscience missing from 4H - build volunteers capacity for geoscience in clubs
  • girl scouts - who have a robust geoscience badge
  • working with grandparents in retirement homes
  • working with churches

Signposting/Recognizing the Path

  • empowering students to deal with conflicting information
  • building relationships with teachers (ngss provides new opportunities for project based learning)
  • geology clubs as a mechanism for building bridges between high school/university
  • afterschool club - science communications - kids making videos that can be shared with classes, other years' participants on careers, difficult concepts
  • working with summer camps (USGS mapping example) - high school students doing mapping/research with professionals
  • partnering with non-profit to give students research experience within community -promoted through teachers
  • leveraging existing programs engaging youth in the community - building on their interest in the environment
  • look for existing summer opportunities (nature camp) to enfuse geoscience activities to introduce to subject
  • summer week for teachers on how to talk about and teach geology
  • tours for teachers, building understanding of what is going on at university (research experience for teachers)
  • canned lessons for local teachers complete with resources, assessment, lesson itself. Teachers love a break from lesson planning and would like something different- relevant and locally based; aligned with NGSS . -RESPONSE : Our community has done a lot of work putting together lessons/resources aligned with NGSS/state standards. Must be that the challenge is letting K-12 community know about these, support their implementation. More focus on partnering with teachers. More strategies for bringing resources to teachers. -- not only do the students need to be able to see connections but their needs to be more coherence in the geoscience education community across levels. How do we scale up successful university/research facility/k-12 partnerships/adoptions.
  • small communities sharing across levels will increase our ability to guide students between levels.
  • role of teacher education/teacher educators in making connections between k-12
  • Envisioning the Endpoint/Destination

    • no one has a straight path - make this clear to students
    • invite students in intro courses into career panels/talks -- starting career advising early

    • professional development for students - creating a vision of the end of the path, guest speakers talking about jobs, showing the different
    • getting the information we have on career paths and their relationship to learning opportunities (of all kinds) to student
    • capitalize on the career advising capacity in k-12 system (opportunity to for teacher educators to work with those who are going through the advising track) (and to infiltrate the existing career advising within the district)
    • better understand the breadth of endpoints, both locally and nationally - what are geoscientists doing with their knowledge in the workforce

    More Robust Trail Networks

    • building connections and opportunities and cross over between disciplines - pathways across disciplines and majors

    Making this system work better

    • more robust connections between k-12 teachers, undergraduate faculty, scientists including research experiences for teachers

    • role of undergraduate experience in creating networks between future teachers, scientists, undergraduate faculties

    Earth Education Forum - Moving from Learning Opportunities to Learning Pathways: Guiding students toward geoscience careers -- Discussion  

    Thank you all for a lively discussion. If you have additional ideas that were either not captured, or came to you later, please add them to this discussion thread:

    How do we make
    Make pathways more visible to students?
    Better connect one pathway element to another?
    Support students travel along pathways?

    Cathy Manduca


    Share edittextuser=3 post_id=38925 initial_post_id=0 thread_id=13455

    Pathway models - some professional societies are coordinating specific pathway one-pagers to show how a student can prepare to be a policy analyst, oceanographer, etc. The data in these models is using professional society programs, things that a student can do while they are in school, engagement opportunities with federal agencies or other entities. This work is in the pilot stage of development.


    Share edittextuser=190 post_id=39066 initial_post_id=0 thread_id=13455

    Re: how to connect one pathway element to another: There are many models out there today that show the benefit of near-peer mentoring, e.g. a recent graduate talking/working/mentoring with freshman students, or a high school student talking/working/mentoring with 7th graders, etc. I think there is a ripe opportunity for near peers to guide and inspire younger students along the pathway and help bridge gaps between grades.


    Share edittextuser=86316 post_id=39069 initial_post_id=0 thread_id=13455

    Re: Making pathways more visible to students: use the social media outlets that they commonly use (even to post job opportunities, internships, etc.)


    Share edittextuser=86316 post_id=39072 initial_post_id=0 thread_id=13455

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