Friday, 13 November 2009: 3:05 PM
Careers in marine science encompass a variety of fields, yet this field still does not show diversity among the professionals who study and participate in it. A 2003 NSF survey identified Black Americans (5.6%) as the most abundant minority group employed in the US as a scientist or engineer. Government agencies have partnered with minority serving institutions to enhance programs that will serve as catalyst to prepare students to perform in marine science careers. With a steady increase of degrees earned among underrepresented groups, marine science fields could substantially benefit from these highly qualified candidates. The purpose of this study was to use a 20 year dataset of program participants to propose definitions of undergraduate and graduate success in marine sciences to identify program characteristics or model parameters. Participants were students who matriculated in career development, research, and academic programs in the marine science program at SSU. Online surveys were used to estimate student success, defined by experiential characteristics such as: mentorship, support systems, collaborative experiences, grade point average (GPA), and current career satisfaction. Examples of undergraduate success were multiple research, laboratory, and internship experiences, acquired scholarships, a GPA of 3.01 or higher, earned BS degree, and science conferences attendance and/or presentations. Graduate success was defined by the acquisition of scholarships, employment with in science sectors, an annual incomes of 25K or higher, and attendance/presentations at science conferences Our findings show that mentorship contributed to positive scientific exposure for mentee poster presentations and scholarship acquisitions. However, ethnicity of the mentor had no statistically significant bearing on respondent outcomes. Positive support systems (family, friend, and classmate) on choice of major influenced respondent's GPA. GPA was also affected by the respondent's research styles (collaborative research or lone projects) however study habits (group study or studying alone) of respondents had no impacts.
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