Supporting Minority Students at Purdue University-Main Campus

Information for this profile was provided by Lawrence W. Braile, Purdue University-Main Campus. Information is also available on the program website.

Jump Down To: Context | Keys to Success | Attracting New Students | Supporting Our Majors | Preparing Students for Careers | Additional Information

Purdue University-Main Campus


The majority of undergraduate students at Purdue University are from Indiana (57%) or surrounding states in the mid-west. Also, international students make up 17% of the undergraduate enrollment. The mid-western states have the lowest percentage of minority population of any region in the United States. Below are some statistics (2013-14) for undergraduate enrollment of the university.

Purdue undergraduate enrollment:

Male 16,843 (57.2%)

Female 12,597 (42.8%)

Purdue undergraduate minority enrollment:

16% of all undergraduates

19.4% of all U.S. undergraduates

Purdue undergraduate underrepresented minority (URM) enrollment:

8.5% of all undergraduates

10.2% of all U.S. undergraduates

Within Purdue's College of Science, there are 3319 undergraduates of which 2164 (65.2%) are male and 1155 (34.8%) are female. Demographic data for the Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences (EAPS) department are shown below:

EAPS undergraduate majors (2013-14)

Male 70 (60.9%)

Female 45 (39.1%)

International students 12 (10.4%)

Minority students 13 (11.3%)

There are six undergraduate major programs within EAPS: Atmospheric Science/Meteorology, Geology and Geophysics, Environmental Geoscience, Planetary Science, Earth and Space Science Education, and Interdisciplinary Science (joint with other departments in the College of Science). The EAPS department was founded in 1967 in order to increase the coverage of science programs within the College of Science, provide degree programs in Earth and atmospheric sciences, and in recognition of the significance of the geosciences to societal issues into the future. The department was originally named the Department of Geosciences. The name was subsequently changed to the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences and then to the Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences.

There has been significant change in the EAPS demographics in the past 5 years. The percentage of female undergraduate students has increased from 27.2% in 2009-10 to 39.1% in 2013-14. Similarly, the percentage of international students has increased from 4.4% to 10.4%, and the percentage of minority students has increased from 5.2% to 11.3% in the same time period.

Keys to Success

  • The department works on attracting students and increasing the number of EAPS majors through connecting with Purdue undergraduates in many introductory service courses, improving the effectiveness of the department's web page, and connecting with Indiana K-12 teachers through the department's outreach programs.
  • The department supports its majors through quality advising, instruction by faculty who are committed to the success of our undergraduate majors, and providing opportunities for field and undergraduate research experiences.
  • EAPS students are prepared for geosciences careers with curricula that meet students' interests, include quantitative skills, and a broad background in the geosciences. The department also sponsors student clubs, and arranges frequent visits by geosciences professionals and company recruiters.

Attracting New Students

The department offers many introductory service courses that are taken by Purdue undergraduates. A small number of these students end up changing their major to EAPS. Of course, an additional objective of the service courses is to introduce the geosciences to many students who have little or no background in those subjects, and to educate them about the significance of the geosciences to our society and to the future. Although it is difficult to know how effective the department's web page is in recruitment, it is clear today that nearly all prospective students will utilize the Internet when deciding on a college or a degree program. So, the department has worked hard in recent years to improve its web presence. EAPS also has an active outreach program, and in cooperation with the College of Science outreach efforts, the department works to connect with Indiana K-12 educators and students to engage them in geosciences learning and activities for their benefit and to, hopefully, increase our numbers of majors.

Supporting Our Majors

EAPS attempts to provide quality advising for our undergraduate majors with a dedicated and experienced counselor, and individual faculty member advising for upper division students. Undergraduate research experiences are also available for many of our undergraduate students through research funding and faculty mentoring. The department sponsors student clubs connected to the major areas of the geosciences:

Association for Environmental and Engineering Geologists : AEG is a club for all students of any major who are interested in geology or geology-related topics. Activities include field trips, guest speakers, and meetings. Advisor: Terry West.

Purdue University Geological Society (PUGS) is a club for all students of any major who are interested in geology or geology-related topics. Activities include field trips, guest speakers, and regular meetings. Advisor: Saad Haq.

Purdue University Meteorological Association (PUMA) : PUMA is the student chapter of the AMS (Americal Meteorological Society) and is intended for all students interested in meteorology. PUMA offers trips, organizes events, invites guest speakers, and holds regular meetings. Advisor: Sonia Lasher-Trapp.

Preparing Students for Careers

The department offers six major programs that provide a broad background in geosciences, curricula can be tailored to student needs and interests and include quantitative skills necessary to continue on the graduate school or to enter the workforce in a geosciences industry. Career information is frequently available to the students through visits and presentations from the EAPS Alumni Advisory Board, recruiting visits within the department by company recruiters (most of whom are geosciences professionals, and many are EAPS alums), and college and university sponsored job fairs.

Addition Information