Monday Poster Session

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

The Monday poster session is scheduled to take place from 4:30-6:00pm, on Monday, and presenters are asked to hang their posters by 1:00pm.

Curriculum Design

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

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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.
Effects of role playing as an active learning strategy on student sense of classroom community and STEM Identity
Alexa Tomlinson, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Wayana Dolan, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Bryant Hutson, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Megan Plenge, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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Fostering a sense of classroom community in introductory geoscience classes can support students' sense of belonging, help students feel like part of the broader scientific community, and help them build a sense of identity as a geoscientist. This study examines the effect of incorporating a 2-week, collaborative role-playing activity on students' sense of classroom community and STEM-identity in an introductory hydrology classroom. Students assumed roles of residents, medical center representatives, government employees, and environmental activists to learn about flooding through an environmental justice lens, focusing on flooding that occurred in Brays Bayou (Harris County, Texas) during Tropical Storm Allison. We hypothesized that students' sense of classroom belonging and STEM identity would increase because of the activity. Pre-post surveys were given immediately before and after the learning module to evaluate students' sense of classroom community and STEM-identity using 6- and 7-point Likert scales. Qualitative analysis of one short-answer survey question, which asks students to define "hydrologist," is included to provide context to STEM-identity Likert data. Comparison of paired pre- and post- survey data on classroom community shows increase in mean agreement. This increase was significant for four statements, for which effect sizes were medium to large as compared to paired STEM-identity data, which show small effect size and no significant change. Preliminary results suggest a ceiling effect as most participants showed a developed sense of STEM-identity before intervention. This suggests that positive changes to classroom community were not due to changes in STEM-identity, and the social aspects of the role-playing activity did not significantly alter student conceptions of what hydrologists do. The significant increase in classroom community alone has important implications of utilizing role playing as an active learning strategy to enhance student learning experience by creating a positive classroom climate, which may help draw more students to the geosciences.
Guiding students to use evidence to support their scientific reasoning: Research Results
Kathy Browne, Rider University
Gabriela Smalley, Rider University
Andrea Drewes, Rider University
Sage Lichtenwalner, Rutgers University-New Brunswick

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Scientific reasoning is complex and many of us have experienced our students struggling to excel in this skill. With NSF funding, we have been testing a strategy built into general education introductory oceanography courses that help students connect data literacy and reasoning skills to compose evidence-based scientific explanations. Through several exercises, students were guided to use interactive data visualizations and an instructional framework ("DCER") to describe data thoroughly (D), make a claim about the data and relevant phenomena (C), and support those claims with evidence (E) and scientific reasoning (R). Over six semesters, we compared sections of the introductory oceanography course where this framework was used (intervention group) to sections where it was not (comparison group). We assessed students' ability to compose evidence-based scientific explanations and conducted pre/post surveys measuring ocean content knowledge, data literacy, and scientific reasoning skills. Results show that students in intervention classes scored significantly higher on exam essay questions, most notably on their data description and scientific reasoning work when compared to students not exposed to the framework (t-tests, p<.001). In addition, intervention students also had a significantly larger increase in their ocean concept knowledge than those in the comparison group (2-way mixed ANOVA for effect of interaction between group and time, p=.017). Our work indicates that incorporation of targeted activities that center around data literacy and scientific reasoning skills can lead to significant gains not just in these targeted skills, but also in ocean content knowledge retention overall. While the topics and data in our exercises are related to ocean sciences, the approach would be relevant for any science topic and any level student group with adaptations made by participants for their student populations.
Training about FAIR principles to support undergraduate students' research about water and energy
Silvia Jessica Mostacedo Marasovic, The University of Texas at Arlington
Cory Forbes, The University of Texas at Arlington
Junaid Ahmad, The University of Texas at Arlington
Upendranath Chakravarthy, The University of Texas at Arlington
Steven Tanner McCullough, The University of Texas at Arlington
June Young Park, The University of Texas at Arlington
Jessica Eisma, The University of Texas at Arlington

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Research experiences for undergraduate students (REUs) in the fields of water and energy not only enhance student learning but also bolster their self-efficacy to conduct independent research, provide valuable networking opportunities, and guide career pathways, especially for students from underrepresented groups. Data management skills are crucial in this context, as students need to navigate and analyze large volumes of data efficiently. The FAIR principles – Findability, Accessibility, Interoperability, and Reusability – provide a framework for promoting good data management practices and maximizing the value and impact of digital assets across various domains. While the FAIR principles are gaining relevance across STEM fields, research about teaching and learning processes that facilitate the adoption of these principles remains limited. To address this gap, the Justice in Data Bootcamp, was launched in the Summer of 2023 at the University of Texas at Arlington. This innovative one-week online program introduced undergraduate students to Python programming, FAIR data principles, and machine learning. The curriculum was designed to be interactive, incorporating hands-on activities, mentoring experience, and a symposium where students presented their research projects. This study evaluated the bootcamp's impact on students' FAIR-related skills. We used paired t-tests to examine changes in pre- and post- familiarity, confidence, and conceptual knowledge, alongside workshop evaluations using descriptive statistics for a cohort of n = 13 students. Preliminary findings showed statistically significant gains in students' familiarity and confidence. However, students' conceptual scores were statistically significantly lower by the end of the bootcamp. This may have resulted from the structure of the questions. Overall, the bootcamp received positive feedback from participants. Further qualitative analysis of student presentations will continue to inform these results.
Evaluating the Course Curriculum for a Graduate Course Focused on Teaching and Learning in Informal Spaces
Emma Betz, University of British Columbia
Laura Lukes, University of British Columbia
Frederick Beeby Maglaque, University of British Columbia
Kirsten Hodge, University of British Columbia

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The SCI-LEnS (Student-Curated Informal Learning and Engagement Spaces) Project at the University of British Columbia (UBC) seeks to create a new graduate course that develops graduate students' science communication skills in informal settings (e.g., museums, media). Students, faculty, and local partners (a science center, technology studio, and several collections-based science museums) helped shape the course goals, objectives, and curriculum. As part of the iterative design process, course materials were evaluated to ensure learning support activities (e.g., assignments) and assessments aligned with desired course outcomes. Evaluation was done by gathering SCI-LENS partner feedback, conducting student focus groups, and refining then applying established syllabus (Palmer et al. 2014) and course materials (InTegRate) rubrics to the SCI-LEnS materials. Partner feedback suggests the course design achieved the original broad project goals. However, partners identified several areas to improve, including a need to be more concise and to outline overall and weekly expectations for assignments and activities. Partners also suggested several useful case studies from their lines of work for weekly modules. The student focus group helped determine if students would register for a course like this, what activities and aspects of the course they liked, and what they felt was missing or would change about the course. Finally, applying refined rubrics to the syllabus and course content identified areas that could be improved (i.e., reframing how the objectives and assessments are outlined, making some language more inclusive and measurable). Overall, scores from rubrics indicated the course falls within the range of a learning-focused course. By utilizing several methods to review the course materials, areas for improvement were identified and student needs could be better anticipated prior to the course being offered. Future work includes revising the course based on evaluation data and running the course in 2025 at UBC.
Geology, Society, and Justice: An undergraduate and graduate level place-based geoscience class to recenter land justice in geoscience education
Cameron Reed, University of New Mexico-Main Campus
Lindsay Worthington, University of New Mexico-Main Campus
Steven Semken, Arizona State University at the Tempe Campus
Jennifer Richter, Arizona State University at the Tempe Campus

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Geoscience education has long been guided by formulaic objective truth-seeking and methodologies inherited from centuries of practice rooted in the Western worldview that continues to permeate and shape the role of geoscience. Overdue efforts to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in higher education are welcome and necessary. However, they fall short of addressing entrenched social and environmental injustices if they fail to challenge traditional disciplinary pedagogies and training in one of the least diverse STEM fields. Geoscience permeates every aspect of place-making and is central in concerns in large geopolitical questions. As Indigenous and Western geographies both hold, the peoples and their human networks are as much a part of the landscape as the rocks, biota, and water that form and define it. Rooting learning in sense of place or querencia improves engagement with geosciences within the storied landscapes we study and teach about. Fundamentally, people are inseparable from landscapes and memories of place are recorded across human, other than human, and geologic dimensions. In this interdisciplinary course, we employ place-based education that draws from a broad swath of disciplines and worldviews. We seek to create a space where students from different disciplines and backgrounds co-create new knowledge and perspectives to face complex issues of injustices head-on. Open to undergraduate and graduate students in and beyond geosciences, "Geology, Society, and Justice" bridges the gap between faculty-led BAJEDI programs and student experiences in classroom settings by challenging the traditional roles of geoscientists and land. We recenter relations between land and people within discussions of geoscientific issues and highlight the un-generalizable perspectives, research, and experiences of historically excluded voices. To enact change, we must challenge the geoscientific paradigm and work to decolonize the classroom and minds of future geoscientists as an act of ongoing praxis of land justice.
Designing field-learning experiences with the end in mind: a reflection and planning tool
Laura Lukes, University of British Columbia
Silvia Mazabel, University of British Columbia
Sarah Sherman, University of British Columbia
Shandin Pete, University of British Columbia

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In effective curriculum design efforts, it is important to design with the end in mind, starting with clear learning objectives and aligning learning support and assessment activities with those objectives (Wiggens & McTighe, 2005). This poster showcases a science curriculum development tool collaboratively produced in a facilitated community of practice of instructors, who are actively reimagining and redesigning their science courses that involve learning in field settings at a research-intensive university in Canada. This work is part of the Earth Science Experiential and Indigenous Learning (EaSEIL) initiative, a three-year faculty and curriculum development initiative at the University of British Columbia (Vancouver, Canada). The curriculum development tool presented here is designed to support field course instructors in identifying and articulating relevant learning objectives for their courses, as well as foster their reflection on how explicit they are in communicating those objectives to students. The tool consists of a compiled thematic list of learning objectives built on prior collective geoscience community efforts at developing a common set of learning goals for learning in field settings (Rademacher & Burmeister, 2020) and objectives from existing UBC courses (that have been reviewed by and expanded upon by EaSEIL community members), as well as two reflection activities. These reflection activities can be utilized in individual reflection, 1-1 pedagogical coaching, or to foster group discussions about what instructors want their students to be able to do by the end of their course(s). As part of the ongoing iterative design process of this tool, attendees are encouraged to interact with our poster and add their perspectives, feedback, and questions. While designed for supporting field course instructors, this tool's reflection activity centered on discerning explicit and implicit learning objectives is useful to instructors engaged in the design or redesign of any type of course, whether field-based or not.
Used a Teach the Earth Teaching Activity? Share your experiences through the new Community Contribution Tool
Sean Fox, Carleton College
Rachel Teasdale, California State University-Chico
Ellen Iverson, Carleton College
Beth Pratt-Sitaula, Earthscope Consortium
Sandrine Matiasek, California State University-Chico

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Over the last 20 years the Earth education community has collectively and openly shared over 5000 teaching activities through SERC-hosted websites, as highlighted in the NAGT-managed Teach the Earth portal. These activities are an important resource for the community and have been widely adapted for use in classrooms across the country. As part of a new NSF-funded effort we have enhanced the Serckit platform on which these activities are hosted to allow educators who have used one of these activities to share back their experiences, modifications, data updates and enhancements. This new functionality, the Community Contribution Tool (CCT), presents a simple form through which educators can describe their adaptations and upload supporting files such as revised handouts or updated datasets. Their contribution will then be visible within the original activity; attributed to them and alongside similar contributions from their peers. We hope this new functionality will catalyze a virtuous cycle where hard-won classroom experiences on effective use of the activities are shared back, made visible and inspire further evolution of the original activities to extend their lifespan. Our grant funded work focuses specifically on using the CCT to support updating existing InTeGrate (Interdisciplinary Teaching about Earth for a Sustainable Future) and GETSI (GEodesy Tools for Societal Issues) modules. This effort, anchored by a workshop at this year's Earth Educators' Rendezvous, has a particular focus on updating the datasets that are critical to these collections. But the CCT is available to all Earth educators and we encourage you to visit activity pages that you've drawn from in the past, look for the CCT link, and share your experiences with your peers.
Redesign of the Structural Geology Course Using Structural Analyses for Student Learning
Daniel Lao-Davila, Oklahoma State University-Main Campus
Frances Alvarado-Albertorio, Oklahoma State University-Main Campus

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The Structural Geology course is a core course in many geology programs. However, available textbooks can seem overwhelming, as they cover a wide range of content. The course was first designed following forward design principles and taught linearly, with topics presented in the order shown on the contents page of Fossen's (2016) Structural Geology textbook. That order began with difficult topics such as "Deformation, Strain, and Stress". The course was redesigned using backward design to focus on applied learning objectives based on Bloom's taxonomy and to improve student learning. The redesign was inspired by Peacock and Sanderson's (2018) "Structural analyses and fracture network characterisation: Seven pillars of wisdom". The new course design is focused on conducting structural geology analyses. The course now follows the seven pillars of Peacock and Sanderson (2018), which consist of steps to conduct a structural analysis. These steps are Basic Geologic Descriptions, Geometric Analysis, Analysis of Age Relationships, Kinematic Analysis, Tectonic Analysis, Mechanical Analysis, and Fluid Flow Analysis. Although the same topics in Fossen (2016) are covered, they are distributed differently. For example, deformation and strain are now part of the Kinematic Analysis pillar, whereas stress is now part of the Mechanical Analysis pillar. The course now covers, advanced topics such as fluid flow and fractures. Learning activities include frequent structural geology analyses related to the field trips, laboratory work, and the final project. First impressions suggest that the new design gives context and meaning to the topics learned, scaffolds student learning from basic principles to advanced concepts, and encourages collaborative learning and reflection. However, the course will undergo research to investigate the effectiveness of the new course design on student learning.
The Wisdom of the Crowd: Supporting a Highly Collaborative Classroom Environment in Atmospheric Dynamics to Enhance Student Understanding
Casey Davenport, University of North Carolina at Charlotte

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The atmospheric dynamics course sequence represents a substantial hurdle for many undergraduate students majoring in meteorology due to the necessarily application of physics and complex mathematical theory towards understanding atmospheric motions and processes. Furthermore, the course is traditionally taught in an instructor-centric way, focusing on a series of equation derivations that emphasize the mathematical and physical theory of a concept before exploring the real-world applications. This passive reception of complex information often forces students to memorize steps in a derivation, rather than deeply understanding the processes outlined in each equation.Extensive prior research demonstrates that students should take an active role in the learning process to support deep and long-lasting understanding. This presentation will describe efforts undertaken by the author over the past several years to create an increasingly collaborative learning environment in the atmospheric dynamics course sequence. Highlights discussed include worked examples, interactive whiteboard reviews, and collaborative quizzes and exams.
Enhancing Student Learning of Earth Science Concepts Through Funds of Knowledge
Guang Zeng, Texas A & M University-Corpus Christi
Liang Zeng, The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

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Previous research has established the pedagogical approach of funds of knowledge (FK) to be effective in engaging minority students in learning. However, there is a lack of studies connecting FK to the teaching of Earth science concepts (e.g., heat island effects, global warming) to introductory college physical science classes. By using examples from regional Mexican-American lived experiences at an Hispanic-serving institution located along the recently politicized U.S.-Mexico border, this paper provides evidence to show how physical science educators can use FK to engage students in learning introductory Earth science concepts.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

USC Young Researchers Program: Underrepresented High Schoolers Conduct Independent Research Projects with PhD Student Mentors
Ryley Tibbetts, University of Southern California
Layla Vasquez, University of Southern California
Rebecca Stark, University of Southern California

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Founded in 2009, the University of Southern California's (USC) Young Researchers Program (YRP) is a graduate student-run program that recruits motivated rising high school seniors from local Title 1 schools in Central Los Angeles for a six-week mentored summer research experience at USC. Our mission is to increase interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields among students traditionally underrepresented in STEM, as well as encourage college preparedness and awareness for science careers. Students are matched with a PhD student mentor to conduct independent, hands-on scientific research projects in a discipline of their choice (e.g., Earth sciences, neuroscience, marine biology, physics, computer science, and others) for 15-20 hours per week. Graduate student mentors design each project and teach their mentees any relevant background information and necessary laboratory and/or field techniques. Students attend weekly college prep seminars, a college application writing workshop, a scientific career panel, and field trips to two active research institutions: NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California and the USC Wrigley Institute for Environment and Sustainability on Santa Catalina Island, California. After six weeks, YRP students gather to present their research findings in a summative poster symposium, open to their families, friends, teachers, mentors, funding agencies, and the entire USC community. Here, we detail our program design, recruitment strategies, organizational structure, and operational budget (~,000 annually) to inspire and provide a framework for the implementation of similar programs at other universities.
Incorporation of Indigenous Knowledges into Higher Education Earth Science Courses
Stephanie Erickson, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
Amanda Patsis, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities

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This poster highlights Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) work occurring at the University of Minnesota's Department of Earth and Environmental Science (ESCI). Using the framework for Inclusive Teaching at a Predominantly White Institute proposed by the Center for Educational Innovation at the University of Minnesota, the ESCI department modified our instructional practices through a lens of inclusive teaching and learning (Inclusive Teaching at a Predominantly White Institution, 2022). The framework considers three dimensions of inclusion: Pedagogy, Climate, and Content. Although these three dimensions overlap, here we focus on our recent efforts to consider and implement the content aspect of this framework and center Indigenous knowledges in Earth Science curriculum. Graduate students and faculty from the department DEIB committee and confronting colonization subcommittee worked together to implement changes to course content across the curriculum, including non-major, major, and graduate coursework. Our work has primarily focused on Indigenous knowledges given our commitment to confronting colonization in research and instruction (Tuck & Yang, 2021). This work highlights the importance of partnering with Indigenous knowledge holders and elders in research, providing examples of how Indigenous knowledge provided insights into historical and contemporary Earth science processes and recognizing and reconciling past harms Earth science research has had on Indigenous communities. Changes to the curriculum include using a place-based approach in our introductory level, non-major geology course and incorporating Dakhóta knowledge into local geology labs (Gruenewald, 2003). In our major courses, we also emphasize research partnerships and the legacy of harm perpetrated by geologic research. While the prospect of incorporating Indigenous knowledges into Earth Science curriculum felt daunting, resources providing case studies and examples were readily available. They afforded many opportunities for inclusion across our courses. ReferencesGruenewald, D. A. (2003). The Best of Both Worlds: A Critical Pedagogy of Place. Educational Researcher, 32(4), 3–12. https://doi-org.ezp1.lib.umn.edu/10.3102/0013189X032004003Inclusive Teaching at a Predominantly White Institution. (2022). Center for Educational Innovation, University of Minnesota. https://cei.umn.edu/inclusive-teaching-predominantly-whiteTuck, E., & Yang, K. W. (2021). Decolonization is not a metaphor. Tabula Rasa, 38, 61–111.
Faculty perceptions of inclusivity, belonging and SoTL after FLC participation
Meghan Cook, Purdue University-Calumet Campus
Emily Hixon, Purdue University-Calumet Campus

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At Purdue University Northwest, the Center for Faculty Excellence facilitated two concurrent Faculty Learning Communities (FLCs) on inclusive teaching in STEM during the 2022 calendar year. To understand the impact of the FLCs on participants, a research study was conducted to measure perception changes on inclusive pedagogical practices, engagement with SoTL, and their sense of belonging to their institution. In this session, we will discuss the intentional choices made for both the structure of the FLC and the research study, and offer insights that can be used to inform others that wish to conduct FLCs intended on changing faculty perspectives towards inclusive pedagogical practices.
Enhancing computational geoscience participation and training with the MTMOD project
Dana Thomas, The University of Texas at Austin
Dunyu Liu, The University of Texas at Austin
Thorsten W Becker, The University of Texas at Austin
Alice Gabriel, University of California-San Diego
Shuoshuo Han, The University of Texas at Austin
Kaj Johnson, Indiana University-Bloomington
Luc Lavier, The University of Texas at Austin
Dave May, University of California-San Diego
Demian Saffer, Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus
Daniel Trugman, The University of Texas at Austin
Laura Wallace, The University of Texas at Austin

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The Megathrust Modeling Framework (MTMOD) project is an NSF-supported Frontier Research in Earth Sciences (FRES) project connecting domain scientists, education leads, and research support staff, and a number of international collaborators and students at academic institutions and geological surveys. MTMOD focuses on how to improve and connect structural and dynamic models of megathrust earthquake occurrence in light of improving physics based modeling toward seismic hazard assessment. Educational initiatives embedded in the project are intended to 1) create pathways for geoscience and other STEM students to enter the field of computational geoscience and correspondingly enrich the wider geoscience community, 2) increase the capacity of current graduate students to use advanced computational methods for earthquake science, and 3) foster active, "real-time" collaboration amongst PIs to model and cultivate interdisciplinary research. Since 2022, the major activities to accomplish these goals have been involving STEM undergraduates in mentored summer research projects, training undergraduates in basic computing and putting on project-based "summer schools," in which groups of graduate students and undergraduate students spend a week conducting research on MTMOD-related problems. This presentation will provide an overview of the elements needed to design and deliver the related programming, including personnel, funding, collaborations with other student-facing programs and institutions, recruiting strategy, educational design and cohort-building activities. Tracking of student outcomes is ongoing, and we will present results to date. We welcome ideas from and discussion with geoscience education researchers for investigations to pursue surrounding teamwork, problem-based learning and impact of activities on sense of belonging and persistence in geoscience. We hope for this conversation to contribute to related, broader discussions from how to broaden participation and representation in increasingly more quantitative undergraduate geoscience programs to providing sustained cohort training in multidisciplinary research at the graduate level.
Evaluating a custom Lab Notebook for an online soil science course
Megan Mobley, Oregon State University
Elisabeth McBrien, Oregon State University

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Asynchronous online courses expand access to a university education for non-traditional students who might otherwise be unable to pursue a degree program due to work commitments, caregiving responsibilities, or other constraints. In the realm of online university science education, student submission of diverse data types for laboratory assignments within learning management systems (LMS) is a challenge. To address student and instructor struggles with time-consuming and frustrating Word document submissions to the Canvas LMS, we developed an in-house custom Lab Notebook platform for an online, general education Soil Science laboratory course. We aimed to create an intuitive, secure, and free tool, tailored to student needs, that improves accessibility and ease of use for instructors and students. Via surveys, interviews, and data analysis, this study compares the custom Notebook to the conventional submission. In Spring 2024, one section of the Soil Science course used the custom Notebook; another simultaneous section used the conventional submission. All students received the same instruction and completed the same assignments regardless of Notebook form and/or participation in the research. Research participants in both sections completed identical surveys about their technological proficiency, demographic factors, and their perception of the usability of the Lab Notebook and about their learning in the lab assignment. We gathered course data on lab submission rates and grades for those who consented to participate in the research. By gauging student experiences and instructor perspectives, this research aims to identify the benefits and drawbacks of developing and using this Lab Notebook tool. The outcomes will not only inform improvements to the current Notebook but also serve as a foundation for developing and testing similar custom tools for online science courses. This study aims to inform user-centered, just design of online learning tools for science education.
Initial Findings on the Accessibility and Inclusion of Geoscience Laboratories
Mandy Abel-Zurstadt, Central Washington University

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d/Disabled geoscience students can encounter various barriers to fieldwork and laboratory research, and thus completion of a degree. Fortunately, these barriers are beginning to be addressed. For example, field camps have been researched and redesigned to increase accessibility to those with a wide range of disabilities. However, geoscience-specific laboratories have not been targeted in a similar fashion. This study, designed as a capstone project for Central Washington University's Accessibility Studies Program, will collect data over the summer of 2024 from online student surveys and virtual laboratory audits. Audits will assess physical spaces for compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and for Universal Design elements. A survey was created to ask geoscience students who have disabilities about their experiences with laboratory accessibility. Findings will help illustrate the current quality of disability-based inclusion within the geoscience laboratory. Further, accessibility blind spots commonly found and/or experienced across the study group may be revealed. Addressing these general or specific access problems would go a long way to improve d/Disabled students' laboratory experiences and ensure more equitable opportunities in the geosciences.
Understanding Undergraduate Atmospheric Science Students' Sense of Belonging
Haylie Nicole Mikulak, Auburn University Main Campus
karen mcneal, Auburn University Main Campus

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​Sense of belonging is defined as an individual's feelings on how they fit in with a group, community, or organization including a person's undergraduate program. These personal and internal feelings can play a significant role in retention across STEM disciplines. The field of meteorology and atmospheric science is continuing to look for ways to improve the culture and climate of the field in order to have more diverse representation. One step to help achieve this goal is by increasing undergraduates' sense of belonging during their studies. This study utilized semi-structured interviews with current atmospheric science undergraduates, graduate students, faculty, and non-academic career professionals in the United States and Canada. Interviews were conducted over Zoom where respondents discussed their definition of sense of belonging as well as their experiences with belonging in their undergraduate program. An important aspect of the interviews were the suggestions the interviewees provided to departments, which could be utilized to improve departmental climate and culture in the future. Deductive and inductive approaches to thematic coding were used to analyze the interviews. Additionally, to quantify the themes across the interview responses, coding frequency percentages were calculated. The results of this study serve as an opportunity to provide feedback to the larger community of undergraduate atmospheric science departments on ways to increase sense of belonging of their students. This in turn can be utilized to attract, retain, and sustain a more diverse group of atmospheric scientists in the future.
GeoGradApp Workshops: increasing self-efficacy and elucidating the graduate school application process
Malisse Lummus, University of Kansas Main Campus
Blair Schneider, University of Kansas Main Campus
Leigh Stearns, University of Kansas Main Campus

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Navigating through higher education can be tricky, and applying to graduate school is often a confusing and stressful time for people of all backgrounds. This career stage is especially challenging for first- generation, low-income, or historically excluded students who might not have the resources needed to illuminate the path to graduate school. Without financial assistance, mentorship, or guidance on application materials many people are excluded from higher degrees without a chance to show their aptitude. To combat the opacity of the application process, this project involves workshops that provide a step-by-step guide to applying to graduate school and surveys to check the effectiveness of the intervention. The workshop is based on geogradapp.com, a website with advice and resources for various steps of the application process. GeoGradApp Workshop participants were asked to complete two surveys that assess their overall feelings towards the workshop and their belief in their ability to overcome challenges. Through the workshops, we hope to boost student self-efficacy, and through the survey results we hope to inspire more interventions to aid geoscientists during this career stage. This presentation outlines the workshop's structure and the survey results from the 2023-2024 application season. Overall, students rank the workshop as "good" or "excellent," and the surveys indicate positive outcomes for participants.
Building a field course to attract diverse minds to the geosciences
Kelsey Barker, Rowan University
Lily Pfeifer, Rowan University
Aaron Barth, Rowan University

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Understanding earth's processes is broadly beneficial to an undergraduate curriculum, especially as society shifts toward a sustainable and environmentally focused future. The limited access to effective earth science curriculum in pre-college public school curriculum in the United States has become a barrier to diversity in the geoscience community, as specific interests often drive enthusiasm for a career in the geosciences. In developing pedagogy for the first year of an Adirondack Mountain Field Course (2024), we aim to test how active and place-based learning styles may inspire students from diverse backgrounds and with different levels of former experience to understand and find enthusiasm in the geosciences. The Adirondack Field Course is a five-day field experience in the Adirondack Mountains of New York, led by Rowan University's Cosmogenic Nuclide Lab (Department of Geology) in partnership with Rowan College of South Jersey (RCSJ), a two-year college with campuses in counties adjacent to Rowan University's main campus (South Jersey). Seven RCSJ students from diverse backgrounds (non-Geology majors) enrolled in the field course. This field experience is preceded by five meetings to discuss necessary geology and paleoclimate concepts designed to familiarize participants with the overarching goals and hypotheses driving our Adirondack-based paleoclimate research. In this program, we focus on providing accessible opportunities to examine glacial geology in person, with limited physical requirements and no financial responsibility. By removing some of these obstacles that make geoscience education inaccessible for many students, this program is an opportunity to engage a diverse population of students to see their potential in an Earth Science career path. We gained insight into individual students' existing knowledge and past experiences in Geology related disciplines from a brief experience questionnaire given on the first day of the course, and adapted curriculum to teach geoscience topics in the context of their responses. We integrate active learning into pre-field lectures by using physical activities and hands-on demonstrations. Students participated in voluntary and anonymous summative assessments given at the beginning and end of the course. We will discuss plans to leverage the results of assessment data from the first year of our program (i.e. quantitative data on concept retention, as well as qualitative data from the experience questionnaire) to adapt our pedagogy for subsequent years of the Adirondack Field Course.

Geoscience Education Research

Supporting teaching and learning in the Food-Energy-Water (FEW)-Nexus through a National Collaborative
Hannah Scherer, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State Univ
Nicole Sintov, Ohio State University-Main Campus
Hui-Hui Wang, Purdue University-Main Campus
Anil Kumar Chaudhary, Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus
Doug Lombardi, University of Maryland-College Park
Chelsie Romulo, University of Northern Colorado

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The Food-Energy-Water (FEW)-Nexus has emerged as a powerful framework for teaching and learning that supports systems thinking and decision making in coupled human-natural systems. The National Collaborative for Research on Food, Energy, and Water Education (NC-FEW; https://serc.carleton.edu/nc-few) was initiated in 2016 as a new transdisciplinary community to support FEW-Nexus-based education. Now a National Science Foundation-funded Research Coordination Network, NC-FEW brings together educators and education researchers engaged in FEW-Nexus-based educational programming and research/evaluation in a wide array of contexts, including K-12 and postsecondary classrooms, informal and non-formal learning environments, and in public spaces. Supporting a diverse array of educators and education researchers with backgrounds in areas such as geoscience, environmental science, ecology and agriculture, food, and natural resources, NC-FEW provides a novel and innovative space for discourse, networking, and collaboration-building around FEW-Nexus-based education. To date, NC-FEW has engaged ~250 individuals through efforts including quarterly newsletters highlighting network efforts, a quarterly virtual workshop series, and an invited conference. We have collaboratively developed a vision for FEW-Nexus-based education that (1) intentionally integrates food, energy, and water systems through interdisciplinary educational contexts, (2) centers decision making about management of natural resources, which support sustainable use and development, in a complex system, and (3) utilizes the nexus perspective, which emphasizes connections between food, energy, and water systems, in consideration of tradeoffs in potential solutions. Ongoing efforts of NC-FEW are centered on continuing to grow the network and develop ways in which we can support faculty collaboration in service of education and education research in the FEW-Nexus.
Developing and Implementing a Fluvial Landscape Board Game for an Undergraduate Introductory Geoscience Lab: Preliminary Results
Samantha Khatri, Winona State University

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In recent years, scientific research has increasingly recognized the unique characteristics of games and their potential to facilitate the learning process across various disciplines. Both digital and analog games have been studied for their effectiveness in fostering experiential learning and skill acquisition. While digital games have been extensively investigated in this regard, there is a growing interest in analog games, specifically table-top board games. Educational geoscience games have emerged as a popular tool to involve and motivate students to learn about complex subjects. Incorporating games into teaching methodologies has been shown to enhance material retention and develop problem-solving skills among students. Here, we assess the effectiveness of a geoscience board game about fluvial and landscape processes in comparison with a more traditional approach to teaching an introductory geology lab session. After playing the game, students, teaching assistants, and teachers responded to an online survey to identify knowledge and attitudes toward the learning material and board game. Preliminary results show that students, teaching assistants, and teachers believe the game helped improve retention of material by reinforcing concepts discussed in the lab and corresponding lectures. Teachers also indicated increased in-class student discussion and participation. However, teachers' and teaching assistants' responses indicate that they believe this game is most appropriate as part of a scaffolded assignment, and therefore may not be suitable to fully replace a traditional introductory geology lab session.
Developing capacity to attract diverse students to the geosciences: A public relations framework
Rachel Teasdale, California State University-Chico
Colin Ferguson, Butte College
Tom George, Pleasant Valley High School
Andrew Harp, Shasta College
Debra Johnson, California State University-Chico
Marc Kessler, Chico High School
Susan Riggins, California State University-Chico

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The decreasing number of students graduating from Earth science programs combined with the lack of diversity in the geosciences plague the strength of academic departments and the professional workforce (1,2). Knowing that the exposure to, and interest in disciplinary areas are important factors in students' selecting a major and career path (3), it is critical that messages used to attract students to the Earth sciences are modern, thorough and accurate representations of the discipline. However, many websites and other student recruitment media incorporate traditional, stereotypical archetypes to advertise their Earth Science departments and programs. Such messages are outdated and do not reveal important ways the Earth sciences can contribute to solving societal problems such as our transition to alternative energies, addressing climate change, decarbonization, and sustainability agendas. To investigate the best ways of attracting students and helping to transform the Earth Science community, we have initiated a project to create an interdisciplinary, multi-institutional team to collaboratively investigate representations of the Earth sciences that attract diverse students. Our long-term goal is to recognize best practices in attracting students
Assessing geoscience major learning objectives using a course-based undergraduate field research experience
Phil Resor, Wesleyan University
Rachael Barlow, Wesleyan University
Tim Ku, Wesleyan University
Suzanne O'Connell, Wesleyan University
Dana Royer, Wesleyan University
Kim Diver, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor

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A key question is how successful geoscience bachelor's degree programs are at building skills students require for future success. In Wesleyan University's Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences (E&ES) we created a novel course-based team-taught research capstone twenty years ago to help ensure that all students build a consistent set of skills.Our primarily undergraduate department includes 7-8 faculty and graduates ~15 BA students and 2-3 MA students annually. The capstone experience has been a requirement for the E&ES major since 2005. In this capstone, student groups develop and present original research proposals during the fall semester. They then collectively gather data for each project on a multiday January fieldtrip. Finally, they analyze their data and deliver oral and written summaries of their results in the spring semester.Since 2021 we have surveyed students and alumni to understand better student experience in the major and achievement of learning goals. Seniors (n=29) appreciated being able to do research from start to finish, hone presentation skills, and feel part of a community. However, some also noted redundancy with skills they developed in previous courses or independent research. Seniors (n=27) reported achievement in many department learning goals: conducting research (26%), understanding earth systems (19%), reading primary literature (15%), and communicating results (15%). Alumni (n=78) described the capstone course as one of the most memorable experiences of their college career: 87% indicated that it gave them skills they have used since graduation and 92% liked the course because it let them conduct research alongside classmates. Despite these positive survey results, the capstone receives lower than average student evaluations. We propose that these conflicting results might reflect student's negative perception of learning in the face of high cognitive load associated with original research tasks.

Professional Development for Undergraduate Students, Graduate Students and Faculty

Implementing Learning Communities: Findings from Year One
Kyle Fredrick, Pennsylvania Western University - California
Peter Cormas, Pennsylvania Western University - California
Kimberly Woznack, Pennsylvania Western University - California
Michelle Valkanas, Pennsylvania Western University - California
Ali Sezer, Pennsylvania Western University - California
Matthew Price, Pennsylvania Western University - California

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Our institution was awarded an NSF-IUSE grant to implement a form of professional development for higher-education science faculty known as a learning community (LC). A LC has a facilitator, resembles a focus group, and allows faculty to have conversations centered on instruction and student learning. Every instructor (n=20) at our institution committed to participate in the LC for one year. The first cohort completed the year-long effort in December '23. Findings include: (a) LC facilitators reported early faculty buy-in and high engagement during most LC sessions, but attendance was a challenge; (b) LC facilitators' responses suggest tension between the intended focus vs. the free-form structure of LCs; (c) Faculty members said that the LC provided a much-needed forum to discuss shared challenges and to get fresh perspectives; (d) Most faculty said that being in a learning community motivated them to experiment with different instructional approaches in their classes; (e) Faculty members were optimistic about their efforts and seemed to think that the strategies they implemented supported aspects of student learning, such as student engagement, collaboration, and problem solving; and (f) Most faculty members indicated that the learning community differed from their expectations. The second faculty cohort recently completed their first semester of LC meetings, which will continue through the fall '24 term.
Looking Back and Looking Forward: 10 Years of Earth Educators' Rendezvous
Monica Bruckner, Carleton College
Cathy Manduca, Carleton College
Heather Macdonald, College of William and Mary
Anne Egger, Central Washington University
Kristin O'Connell, Carleton College
Ellen Iverson, Carleton College
Mitchell Bender-Awalt, Carleton College
Cailin Huyck Orr, Carleton College
Sean Fox, Carleton College

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2024 marks the 10th year of the Earth Educators' Rendezvous. This presentation aims to highlight the history of the Rendezvous program, from its inception as part of the On the Cutting Edge and InTeGrate programs, through its evolution to NAGT's signature professional development event. We also invite input on future directions for the Rendezvous programing, format, and community. The inaugural EER was held in Boulder, CO, in 2015, attracting 300 participants. Since then, it has drawn between 223 and 433 participants from across the country, including students, K12 teachers, higher education faculty, and informal educators. The Rendezvous program is designed to provide participants the opportunity to create their own professional development experience, choosing from multi-day and half-day workshops, informal roundtable discussions, and a contributed program. Program content relies on the Earth education community - the planning committee, workshop and roundtable leaders, speakers, and participants - who come together to identify interests, needs, and emerging ideas; to share their expertise and experiences; to discuss challenges faced in the field; and to work towards solutions. The ultimate goal is to build a program that offers professional development opportunities that support teaching and learning of timely topics that are of interest to the community to improve student experiences and outcomes and thus help shape the future of Earth education. Additionally, the Rendezvous highlights current and emergent topics in Earth education through its plenary sessions, forums, town halls, and panels, and provides opportunities for participants to share their work. Further, the program is designed to maximize opportunities for participants to network and collaborate with others and to learn about what others are doing in Earth education and education research.As the Rendezvous transitions to a biennial format, we invite the community to weigh in on their perceptions of strengths of the Rendezvous as well as areas where the programming may be strengthened.
Supporting early-career researchers in today's job market - Lessons from a Career Development Retreat for Postdoctoral Fellows
Patricia Montano, NCAR/UCAR
Rebecca Haacker, NCAR/UCAR
Valerie Sloan, NCAR/UCAR
Scott Landolt, NCAR/UCAR
Scott Briggs, NCAR/UCAR
Man-Yau Chan, NCAR/UCAR
Samantha Hartke, NCAR/UCAR

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Being a postdoctoral fellow can be a rewarding, yet stressful time in the life of a researcher. The pressures of establishing a research portfolio while looking for the next career position can be challenging. Employment opportunities are often not found in academic institutions and postdocs have to branch out and consider opportunities in research labs, private industry or non-profit organizations. The COVID-19 pandemic added new challenges for postdocs including research delays, hiring freezes, less networking, and isolation. The Advanced Study Program at the National Science Foundation National Center for Atmospheric Research (NSF NCAR) has supported the career development of postdoctoral fellows for more than 60 years. To mitigate some effects of the pandemic on postdoctoral experiences, NSF NCAR has emphasized professional development and career support for postdocs. While research skills and technical writing are essential, additional skills are important for career advancement. Examples include proposal writing, data science, diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice, leadership, interpersonal skills, science communication, and project management. NSF NCAR teaches these skills in workshops and seminars developed for postdoctoral fellows and early-career researchers. A series of unique workshops focused on career development was held at a retreat for postdoctoral fellows in Breckenridge, CO in 2023. During the retreat postdocs were invited to share their experiences, learn about careers in different sectors, and do hands-on activities to define their brand, create welcoming and inclusive work environments, and build a supportive network. NSF NCAR's education and training programs are regularly evaluated and evolve to meet the changing needs of students, postdocs, and early-career scientists. This poster will share lessons learned on how to support postdocs to succeed in STEM careers in today's post-COVID job market. We will share the design, activities, and outcomes of a two-day retreat for postdocs as one way to support networking and career preparedness.
Designing Field-Learning Experiences with Accessibility and Inclusion Scenarios in Mind: A Reflection and Planning Tool
Silvia Mazabel, University of British Columbia
Laura Lukes, University of British Columbia
Brett Gilley, University of British Columbia
Shandin Pete, University of British Columbia
Sarah Sherman, University of British Columbia

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Field-based learning experiences (e.g., field trips, field-based courses, research stations) are shaped by disciplinary traditions, contextual factors, and students' and educators' identities, background, and prior experiences (Carabajal et al., 2017; O'Connell et al., 2021). Proactively designing inclusive field learning experiences can reduce educators' workload while in the field and enhance student wellbeing and academic performance (Lawrie et al., 2017). Our interactive poster showcases a faculty and curriculum development tool to increase accessibility and inclusion practices in field-based learning experiences. This tool was collaboratively produced in the context of the Earth Science Experiential and Indigenous Learning (EaSEIL) initiative seeking to (re)imagine and (re)design field-learning experiences in science courses (Lukes et al., 2022). The tool is designed to help educators teaching field-based experiences recognize and devise strategies to address potential accessibility and inclusion scenarios that may come up in field-based experiences. It lists sixteen scenarios that consider individual needs, cultural, medical, mental health, gender, and neurodiversity-related situations and invites educators to identify and record teaching practices they could use to address these scenarios prior to and during field-based teaching. This tool may be used in individual reflection, one-on-one pedagogical coaching, or in small group discussions about inclusive teaching in field-based experiences. Intentionally designed using an iterative design process, as different educators engage with the tool, the list of scenarios and teaching practices to address them expand, are refined and/or contextualized to inform teaching practice and curriculum design. As we continue to develop this tool, attendees are invited to offer their feedback on the value of the tool to design inclusive field-based learning experiences and encouraged to contribute their thoughts to expand the array of scenarios and teaching practices already included in it. Our goal is to produce an OER to share more widely with the earth educators' community.
Education and Workforce Development Support by EarthScope Consortium and NSF Geophysics Facilities
Beth Pratt-Sitaula, Earthscope Consortium
Donna Charlevoix, EarthScope Consortium
Michael Hubenthal, EarthScope
Tammy Bravo, EarthScope Consortium
Gillian B Haberli, EarthScope Consortium
Scott Johnson, EarthScope Consortium
Anika Knight, Earthscope Consortium
DeeDee Okamoto, EarthScope Consortium
Shelley E Olds, EarthScope Consortium
Kelsey Russo-Nixon, EarthScope Consortium
Justin Sweet, EarthScope Consortium

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The EarthScope Consortium operates the NSF SAGE (seismology) and NSF GAGE (geodesy) facilities and is dedicated to supporting transformative global geophysical research and education. EarthScope's Engagement group supports geophysics and geoscience workforce development and education in a wide variety of ways. The Engagement portfolio includes: (1) Free online educational resources for secondary and undergraduate level, including a range of online data tools and portals; (2) Workshops for educators on how to incorporate geophysical methods and instrumentation into courses and field experiences; (3) Access to geophysics instrumentation for educational purposes; (4) Informal outreach such as hands-on activities and museum displays; (5) Student (paid) internship programs for community college, undergraduate, and graduate students and information about career pathways into geosciences; (6) Student and researcher learning programs such as skill building workshops and technical short courses; (7) Informal learning opportunities through social media engagement; and (8) Support for Broader Impact development and execution.EarthScope Consortium formed on January 1, 2023 in a merger between IRIS Consortium and UNAVCO Inc. and is funded by U.S. National Science Foundation.
Advancing Scientific Computing Skills and Diversity in the Geosciences Through Asynchronous Learning at the Margins of Higher Education
Gillian B Haberli, EarthScope Consortium
Mike Brudzinski, Miami University-Oxford
Michael Hubenthal, EarthScope

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The Seismology Skill Building Workshop (SSBW) plays an important role in the geophysics ecosystem by enabling students to develop critical skills required for graduate studies and research, outside of the traditional academic curriculum. Since its creation in 2020, the SSBW has undergone significant instructional design enhancements to improve learning and increase learning persistence. The evolution was driven by extensive analysis of student performance data, facilitated through a Learning Management System (LMS). In addition to enabling interactive learning experiences, LMSs have accessibility features that can foster inclusion of diverse and marginalized populations, for whom geoscience education may have seemed inaccessible in the past. The LMS-based asynchronous training model could be strategically replicated to create more effective learning opportunities that reach larger audiences and help build the capacity necessary for the future geoscience workforce. However, there is no consensus regarding the essential skills required for success in the geoscience workforce, what will be covered in the traditional academic setting, and what should be the focus of training development outside the classroom. For example, the training could aid in giving geoscientists more access to data science skills, strategies for implementing FAIR data management principles, and development of complementary social science abilities. Initiatives such as EarthScope's move to the cloud, highlight how the geoscience workforce is evolving and emphasize why training outside the academic setting will shape how we do science in the future. This presentation will seek audience recommendations for what should be the focus of future supplemental training to aid in broadening participation in geoscience.

Student Learning

Field notes from the geoscience classroom by the June 2023 & January 2024 NAGT Outstanding Teaching Assistants
Sinjini Sinha, The University of Texas at Austin
Lauren Decker, University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Emma McCully, Boise State University
Amadi Afua Sefah-Twerefour, University of South Carolina-Columbia

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Teaching assistants (TAs) provide an important source of connection for undergraduate students, helping them master content, become more confident as scientists, and develop a wide array of skills. NAGT annually recognizes outstanding TAs in geoscience education with its Outstanding TA Awards. Recent recipients of the Outstanding TA awards will share their lessons learned from the classroom and their most impactful teaching tips.
The Math Your Earth Science Majors Need: Co-curricular Math and Statistics modules for Earth science majors courses
Eric Baer, Highline Community College
Rory McFadden, Carleton College
Beth Pratt-Sitaula, Earthscope Consortium
Michael Coe, Cedar Lake Research Group

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Quantitative skills are critical in Earth science and students need sustained and distributed practice to strengthen their skills. Applying quantitative approaches to Earth science questions enhances students' comprehension and prepares them for the workforce and future education. However, many faculty members face challenges incorporating quantitative skills within Earth science courses due to variation in students' preparation and comfort with math, limited in-class time for practicing math skills in Earth science contexts, and other barriers. Despite requiring advanced math courses like calculus, many Earth science departments provide limited opportunities for students to apply basic math knowledge within geoscience courses, perpetuating the misconception that quantitative skills are tangential or irrelevant to the Earth sciences. To address this issue, The Math Your Earth Science Majors Need project is developing and testing co-curricular math modules to support the development of quantitative skills specifically for Earth science majors. Thus far we have developed eight modules and plan to have 14 on both mathematical topics (e.g., vectors, exponential equations) and statistical topics (e.g., histograms, linear regression.) Each module applies the quantitative skill to real-world Earth science problems with examples from various sub-disciplines. Emphasizing the importance of these skills and helping students see how they connect across different Earth science courses may promote skill transfer, student self-efficacy, and recognition of the importance of quantitative skills.The co-curricular math modules are designed to level the playing field for all students. Providing additional asynchronous, self-paced support to students who have varying levels of quantitative background and comfort may help students confidently apply these skills in their Earth science studies and future careers, as well as facilitate the sustained and continuing application of quantitative skills in undergraduate courses that will lead to a quantitatively literate Earth Science workforce. Modules are available at https://serc.carleton.edu/mathyouneed/geomajors/index.html
Student interpretation of evidence from online sources: Is climate change making floods more extreme?
sumaiya tabassum, University of Nebraska at Lincoln
Jenny Dauer, University of Nebraska at Lincoln

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Decision making for complex issues like flooding requires critical evaluation of evidence and synthesis of scientific knowledge across disciplines, in particular determining whether flooding is increasing in terms of both frequency and intensity, as well as discerning the underlying causes. This holds significance because students represent the future leaders and decision-makers of society. An understanding and appraisal of the evidence concerning the changing pattern of flooding phenomena worldwide due to climate change will enrich perspectives and influence societal decision-making in future. Our aim was to investigate how students find, analyze, and interpret evidence pertaining to the issue of flooding from online sources. The study was conducted in a post-secondary, large-enrollment, science-literacy course that uses structured decision-making to guide students in evaluating multiple alternative solutions to an SSI (e.g., flood mitigation policies) to reach a conclusion. Students initially learned about floods and their changing pattern around the world. Following this, they were asked to express their understanding of whether flood events were becoming more extreme, evaluate evidence related to flooding, and provide reasoning in support of their ideas. Analysis indicates that 73% of students thought floods were becoming more extreme, and 47% included climate change in their explanation of 'Why?' When asked to find a source of evidence online to support their reasoning, only 13% of students found peer-reviewed sources and 90% of students correctly interpreted the evidence. Most students (82%) found agreement between their initial idea about flood and online evidence. These findings will improve understanding of how students find and integrate evidence in their reasoning about complex issues like flooding and will also inform instructors as they connect disciplinary learning to real-world issues which students care about to enhance their motivation and interest in STEM.