IUSE: Geopaths

GP-EXTRA: Building a New Generation of Urban Environmental Scholar-Citizens through Community-Based Programs for Science and Impact

The overall goal of this project is to engage students from underrepresented backgrounds in the geosciences through targeted mentoring and extra-curricular community-engaged programs in the Indianapolis area. Project objectives include: Utilizing Thematic Learning Communities (TLCs) to enhance recruitment of, and a sense of belonging among, underrepresented students in the geosciences; Developing four hybrid classroom-field modules to diversify educational experience and increase content knowledge in a manner that provides application of theoretical knowledge in a societally-relevant urban context; Implementing community-engaged pedagogy and project mentoring to retain, support, and promote the holistic formation of underrepresented students as geoscientists by developing Cohorts of Environmental Action Scholars and providing externship opportunities for these students in the community.

The hypotheses that frame this work are (1) engaging science-interested but uncommitted students early and with mentor supports will enhance recruitment (both number and diversity), (2) providing practical place-based experiences that are linked to relevant societal challenges will personalize subject learning, and (3) supporting the implementation of topically-relevant projects in communities will provide the opportunities for learners to transition to experts. These hypotheses are developed on a theoretical platform of "situated learning" as applied to societally-relevant, and student-relevant, geoscience experiences.

Findings will be disseminated to the broader scholarly community, and will simultaneously be informing geoscience and other STEM educators on how to improve their STEM teaching and student learning, as well as the impact of this project and related pedagogical efforts on motivating students from underrepresented populations to pursue careers in the geosciences. Broader impacts for geoscience education include development, testing, and disseminating novel geoscience-impacts modules, determining the efficacy of interventions at several critical junctures that narrow the diversity pipeline in the geosciences, and providing opportunities for students to contribute meaningfully to community priorities in the realm of the geosciences, and thus to be better prepared for the modern geoscience workforce.

SEIRI Personnel: Grant Fore; Justin L Hess

Funding Organization: National Science Foundation

RFP: Improving Undergraduate STEM Education: Pathways into Geoscience

Award No: 1701132

Collaborators: Gabe Filippelli (PI);  Pierre-Andre Jacinthe; Kathy J Licht;Lixin Wang

Amount: $428,085

Timeline: 08/01/2017 – 07/31-2020

STEM Education Innovation and Research Institute
Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research
755 W. Michigan Street, UL 1123
Indianapolis, IN 46202-2800
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