1. Donna Charlevoix
  2. Program Director
  4. UNAVCO, SERC at Carleton College, American Geophysical Union
  1. Cathryn Manduca
  2. https://serc.carleton.edu/serc/cathy.html
  3. Director of SERC / Executive Director of NAGT
  5. SERC at Carleton College

EarthConnections: Engaging Local Communities in Geoscience Pathways

NSF Awards: 1649367

2018 (see original presentation & discussion)

Informal / multi-age

EarthConnections joins students, communities, and science to increase the resilience of local communities in the face of environmental hazards and limited Earth resources. Through this process students engage in real-world science of relevance to them locally. Our national project established three pilots in communities historically underrepresented in the geosciences including west Atlanta, Georgia, San Bernardino, California, and Oklahoma. Each pilot is embedded in the local community and created maps that illustrate possible pathways for students into the geoscience workforce. In addition to the pathways map, structured mentoring and signposting help guide students.

In west Atlanta, students and community members are engaged in solving challenges around water overflow. American Indian students in Oklahoma will engage in understanding the unprecedented increase in earthquakes in the state. In San Bernardino, high school and undergraduate students are examining earthquake hazards as a local, serious, problem.

These groups are establishing a scalable model where a national alliance and backbone organization support regional groups. The regional groups share with one another and draw on resources from the national partners. We have learned several important things that can underpin future growth of the alliance. (1) The backbone organization is playing a critical role in generating interactions among the partners – the key benefit of alliance participation, (2) building trust and working relationships has been critical at the regional alliance level as well, (3) pathway maps have been extremely valuable in enabling discussion of what constitutes a robust pathway, (4) the combination of local and national leadership in the regional alliances is invaluable, and (5) there are multiple ways for an alliance to develop a pathway into geosciences.

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