Mt. SAC has a longstanding tradition of supporting excellence in STEM education through its courses, lab facilities, and field programs. In an effort to support the success of STEM students beyond their work at Mt. SAC, Becca has worked with the Mt. SAC STEM Center to coordinate and lead a workshop series for STEM students on internships, CV and personal statement writing, and STEM career trajectories.
Workforce training is a high institutional priority and one of the areas with which our work with SAGE 2YC aligns mostly closely with the Mt. SAC's strengths. With over 200 existing credit and non-credit CTE (Career and Technical Education) programs, Mt. SAC plays an important role in training students to enter the workforce. The development of the Geotechnician Certificate has brought awareness outside of our own department to the variety of and demand for geotechnical careers and workers. Additionally, a number of relationships have been forged with other geoscientists at 2YCs and 4YCUs in the region as a result of advising us on the certificate's development. The PI at one 4YC, after being interviewed about the certificate and hearing about SAGE 2YC, has invited Dave to participate in an active GeoPaths grant. The department has also continued to benefit from Strong Workforce funding for the Geotech certificate, a direct result of SAGE 2YC goals, that have brought needed equipment into the department.
Another workforce training opportunity for students, albeit a different project than SAGE 2YC, is the ESTEM (Environmental STEM--funded by NSF-Geopaths) program, a collaborative field and career preparation program between Mt. SAC, University of San Francisco, and College of the Atlantic. The goals of ESTEM are to expand student awareness of traditional and nontraditional geoscience career options and the skills and content knowledge beneficial in preparing for these careers; facilitate student development of professional networks in the geoscience community prior to their transition and/or the workforce; and develop a system for documenting and archiving student career preparation and skills acquisition. In 2017 and 2018, ESTEM students from the 3 partnering institutions participated in a Sierras field and career preparation program, during which they completed field projects in geology (example: bedrock/paleoshoreline/soil stratigraphy); geomorphology (example: moraine and fluvial terrace mapping); hydrology (examples: stream discharge, groundwater monitoring); and ecology (examples: belt and line transects, botanical observations) and interacted with local professionals from the environmental sector. We mention it here because it supports the SAGE 2YC project strands of professional pathways, broadening participation, and supporting the success of all students.
Curriculum-As a part of both the certificate program and the desire to extend the impact of our geoscience classes, Dave and Becca both led and served on two different task forces that revised two different liberal arts degrees: one with an emphasis in the Natural Sciences and one with an emphasis in Environmental Studies. Finally, Dave and Becca worked with the instructor of our GIS class (in Geography) to increase enrollment; this resulted in enough enrollees for the class to go for the first time in several years.