Initial Publication Date: August 31, 2020

People and Institutions

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Becca Walker

Mt. San Antonio College (Mt. SAC)

Walker teaches geology and oceanography at Mt. SAC. She has led and co-led over 100 single and multi-day field trips in Southern and Central California; a 3.5 week Earth science and astronomy program in Hawai'i and Maui; and a 3.5 week field geology course in Idaho, Wyoming, and Utah. She is the co-author of the InTeGrate module, Climate of Change: Interactions and Feedbacks Between Water, Air, and Ice (Fadem, Shellito, and Walker, 2014) and co-PI on the GETSI (GEodesy Tools for Societal Issues--NSF-TUES and NSF-IUSE) project, which develops and disseminates teaching materials for engaging undergraduates in addressing critical societal issues using geodetic data. As a Supporting and Advancing Geoscience Education (SAGE) Faculty Agent of Change, Walker has worked with community college STEM faculty to support student success, broaden participation, and improve professional pathways at community colleges.

Sarah R. Hall

College of the Atlantic (COA)

As geoscience is a new discipline for the College, Hall has developed a number of courses with field components from which to draw potential ESTEM students including: Geology of Mt Desert Island, Climate and Weather, and Rocks and Minerals. Hall has expertise in geomorphology, paleoclimatology, and neotectonics, and experience designing and teaching field-based courses. She has conducted multiple field campaigns to locations in North and South America including undergraduate and graduate researchers. During the last ten years, Hall has been involved in multiple geoscience education initiatives (Davis Educational Foundation: Transforming Ecology Education through Interdisciplinary Landscape Level Research; GETSI (GEodesy Tools for Societal Issues) project co-author; WildAcadia (Watershed Monitoring and around Acadia National Park).

Calla Schmidt

University of San Francisco (USF)

Schmidt is responsible for teaching geoscience curriculum within the Environmental Science department. Since starting at USF in 2013, she has redesigned the first class in the major (Introduction to Environmental Science) to introduce students to broad themes in earth system science. Additionally, she teaches upper division courses in hydrology, hydrogeology, and environmental geology. Her research activities span physical hydrology and biogeochemistry, with a focus on nutrient contamination and cycling in surface water and groundwater. Schmidt has 10 years of experience conducting applied research in hydrology, collaborating with water resource managers and regulators in California as well as scientists working in government and academia.


Mt. San Antonio College

Walnut, CA

Mt. San Antonio College (Mt. SAC) is a single-campus community college in Los Angeles County with approximately 37,000 credit students and a significant percentage of historically underrepresented groups in STEM with respect to ethnicity (54.7% Hispanic/Latino; 18.6% Asian; 10.9% Caucasian; 6% decline to state; 3.6% Filipino/Pacific Islander, 3.5% African American; 3.1% Filipino; 2.5% Multi-ethnic), English language acquisition, and first-generation college students. The Earth Sciences and Astronomy Department offers over 50 sections each semester of introductory-level geology, oceanography, meteorology, and astronomy courses, including 3 field geology courses that draw STEM and non-STEM majors. Most students enroll in departmental courses to fulfill their Physical Science General Education requirement in preparation for transfer to a 4-year college or university (4YCU). Many departmental courses are part of the AA in Liberal Studies, Natural Sciences Emphasis degree, and several are part of the AA in Liberal Studies, Environmental Studies. Mt. SAC's new Geotechnician Certificate is a workforce training program for students interested in entry-level positions in the geotechnical, environmental technical, and petroleum technical sectors. Mt. SAC is an exemplary institution at which to study the effectiveness of strategies for recruiting and retaining diverse groups of students in the geoscience pipeline and preparing 2YC STEM students for transfer to 4YCU programs.

College of the Atlantic

Barn Harbor, ME

College of the Atlantic is a small, primarily undergraduate institution offering a single bachelor degree in Human Ecology. This field is interdisciplinary by nature and seeks to help students solve problems by engaging both in STEM disciplines as well as in the humanities and arts. Students are free to design their own curriculum within the Human Ecology major, which offers them an opportunity to concentrate on a discipline (Botany, Marine Science, Environmental Policy, Geology,etc.) while maintaining an interdisciplinary learning experience. With only ~350 full time undergraduates and ~10 graduate students (Master of Philosophy), COA is an intimate community-focused academic experience employing experiential and field-based teaching styles across the curriculum. However, there is no extended field program for ESTEM students. COA has a strong commitment to sustainable practices on campus and within the academic program. It has also been repeatedly recognized as one of the top "Green" colleges in the country, which has made it a popular starting point for students interested in environmental sector jobs.

University of San Francisco

San Francisco, CA

The University of San Francisco is a primarily undergraduate institution with ~7000 undergraduate students from diverse ethnic backgrounds: 26.1% of USF undergraduates identify as Asian American, 20.7% identify as Latino/Hispanic, and 4.5% identify as African American. USF does not have a geology department or major. USF offers a B.S. in Environmental Science, which includes a combination of courses in Earth Science (Geology, Hydrology, GIS, and Energy) and Biology (Ecology, Wetland Ecology, Marine Ecology, Environmental Toxicology). The Environmental Science major at USF doubled over the past 5 years to include 50 undergraduate students. Most environmental science classes at USF include a field component, but the department does not offer a summer field course.