Increasing Representation of Diverse Geoscientists with Geoscientist Spotlights in Introductory Courses

Monday 1:30pm-4:00pm Science Village 2
Afternoon Mini Workshop


Katherine Ryker, University of South Carolina-Columbia
Peyton Smalls, University of South Carolina-Columbia
Meryssa Piper, University of South Carolina-Columbia
Connor Chilton, University of South Carolina-Columbia

Geoscientist Spotlights, modeled off of Scientist Spotlights, offer an opportunity for more students to see themselves as geoscientists. These short, reflective writing assignments can be used across a wide range of student ages. We will share how we have incorporated them in a large, introductory college geology course, as well as what we've learned about their impact on students. Working in small groups, participants will identify opportunities to incorporate these assignments into their course and to expand the current Geoscientist Spotlight collection.


By the end of this workshop, participants will:

  • Explore challenges and opportunities of implementing geoscientist spotlights into diverse classroom settings
  • Create an action plan for improving either the quality/quantity of geoscientist spotlights or the assignments around their implementation
  • Access and use resources geoscientist spotlight implementation
  • Become part of a network of educators interested in working with geoscientist spotlights.


1:30pm Welcome Icebreaker

1:45 Introduce geoscience spotlights

1:55 Small-group work time creating outlines for additional spotlights

2:25 Break

2:40 Instructor lead experiences with spotlight implementation

2:50 Ideas for incorporating spotlights via student centered assessments

3:00 Breakout-groups based on building spotlights, constructing student centered assessments, and constructing plug and chug assessments utilizing spotlights already available

3:35 Share out

3:45 Wrap-up and workshop evaluation

4pm Adjourn


Private Workspace

The Science Spotlight Initiative:

*note* workshop leaders are not affiliated with this initiative however this initiative sparked the idea and is a valuable resource for science spotlights in all fields.