The EarthConnections Alliance is creating a world in which all students can travel along geoscience-rich educational pathways toward meaningful careers.
The geosciences lag behind most other STEM disciplines in diversity and are also projected to have a deficit in the workforce in the coming years. On top of that lack of diversity, there are few opportunities for geoscience students of any background to develop their scientific skills and knowledge while learning to work with communities on community issues.
The EarthConnections Alliance seeks to address these issues by supporting the development of pathways linking opportunities to learn geoscience with community involvement across grade levels. EarthConnections pathways include multiple opportunities for students to learn geoscience in the context of compelling local issues, use geoscience to address local challenges, and explore geoscience career tracks. Rooted in existing regional activities, pathways are developed using a process that engages regional stakeholders and community members. Drawing on EarthConnections program partners and resources, pathways connect, sequence, and create multiple learning opportunities that link geoscience education and community service to address one or more local geoscience issues.
These pathways strengthen and diversify the geoscience workforce and enhance the ability of communities to use science. The EarthConnections Alliance brings together community leaders, scientists, and educators to advance sustainability, resilience, and environmental justice nationally while shifting the culture of geoscience toward more inclusiveness and relevance.
View or download the EarthConnections brochure (Acrobat (PDF) 2.1MB Dec6 18).
The EarthConnections Pilot, Engaging Local Communities in Geoscience Pathways, brought together program partners who have led successful national efforts addressing components of these challenges with partners in three regions to create pathways in three regional alliances, focusing on key academic transitions in three diverse US communities—Atlanta, GA; San Bernardino, CA; and Oklahoma—and used these pathways as laboratories and catalysts for a systemic change in geoscience and geoscience education.
Earth Connections was one of 37 projects recognized for first-ever awards for the NSF INCLUDES (Inclusion across the Nation of Communities of Learners of Underrepresented Discoverers in Engineering and Science) program which aims to improve access to STEM education and career pathways at the national scale, making them more widely inclusive to underserved populations. For more information on the 37 projects visit the NSF Website.
As the pilot project drew to a close, EarthConnections joined forces with others who share our vision including three other INCLUDES pilots to scale up this vision building on the work of all. A proposal was submitted and a Community of Practice initiated.