Sunday, 14 January 2007
Building Diversity in Meteorological Education in Texas Universities
Exhibit Hall C (Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center)
The Texas A&M University (TAMU) College of Geosciences is conducting a project funded by the National Science Foundation to increase diversity in the population of undergraduate students studying meteorology in Texas. Texas A&M University is currently the only institution in the state of Texas that offers Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degrees in meteorology. This drastically limits the opportunities for students in this state to become trained in meteorology, and then go on to meet future state and national workforce needs related to weather and hydrologic forecasting. Students in the predominantly Hispanic institutions of South Texas may be disproportionately discouraged from pursuing meteorology degrees at TAMU because 1) they prefer to attend colleges closer to their homes and those with larger Hispanic student populations; 2) their high schools may have not adequately prepared them to apply and be admitted to TAMU within the rigorous academic acceptance policies; or 3) they and their families are unaware of the possibilities of a career in the geosciences, so it never occurs to them to pursue meteorology at TAMU, or even geosciences at their home institutions. This project brings interested undergraduate students and their faculty mentors to College Station for a one-week workshop (during the summer) to be introduced to the: 1) study of meteorology including undergraduate and graduate degree programs and career opportunities; 2) TAMU College of Geosciences; 3) TAMU campus including programs to support first generation college students and students from minority populations (learning communities, financial aid, academic achievement, etc.); and 4) opportunities for transfer to TAMU to pursue a B.S. degree in meteorology or graduate degree in meteorology and/or oceanography. This poster will present results and lessons learned from the first summer meteorology program, and insights on how diversity-enhancing programs such as this one can be effectively developed and put into place in Texas and elsewhere.