Geoscience career-readiness seminars, featuring geoscience and related professionals, enhance student's career skills, guide their coursework and career-planning decisions, and increase their potential for success beyond graduation

Monday 4:30pm-6:00pm SERC Building - Atrium | Poster #12
Poster Session Part of Monday Poster Session


Robert Graziano, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Dyanna Czeck, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Career-readiness seminars have been developed in the Department of Geosciences at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) through a NSF-sponsored program, LET'S GEO (Learning Ecosystem for Training Student Geoscientists for Employment Opportunities). The primary goals of this workforce training program are fourfold: 1) to provide current geosciences students with marketable career-oriented skillsets, 2) to strengthen existing partnerships between the UWM Department of Geosciences and environmental and geotechnical employers in southeastern Wisconsin, 3) to recruit more students into geosciences majors through clear articulation and examples of pathways from geoscience education to employment, and 4) to provide geosciences faculty who have largely academic work experience with an industry-applicable knowledge base.

A primary component of the program was development of 5-week seminars that focus on skills that the department's professional geoscientist partners and alumni listed as most important for successful entry into the workforce. The seminars included: 1) practice and application of professional communications, 2) review of the regulatory framework that guides geoscience work, 3) review of geoscientist's role in technical projects and problem solving, and 4) survey of geoscience and related careers. All seminars featured professional scientist presenters weekly that offered career advice, skills training, and in some cases, sample lesson plans highlighting typical problems or case histories related to their field. These seminars have enhanced student's career-readiness, guided their career-planning decisions, and provided students with exceptional networking opportunities. In addition, the Department of Geosciences is realizing enhanced partnerships with employers, as they are keenly interested to be involved in the program, and to interact with students enrolled in these seminars. Ongoing feedback from partnering employers, invited speakers, current students and recent graduates, combined with assessment data, are used to make curriculum adjustments to modify the seminars' future offerings and evaluate their impact on retention and recruitment into the geosciences program.