Raising Geoscience Awareness Among Underrepresented Minority and First Generation Undergraduate STEM Students in New York City
Through a National Science Foundation Opportunities for Enhancing Diversity in the Geosciences grant, the New York City College of Technology created a vibrant geoscience internship experience for underrepresented minority and first generation college students. During Summer 2013, the internship program expanded the Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory and New York City Police Department sponsored Subway-Surface Air Flow Exchange (S-SAFE) project to include a comprehensive promotion of the geosciences. Undergraduates not only participated in the plume dispersion experiments of the S-SAFE project, but they also attended seminars presented by geoscientists; they explored and made oral and poster presentations on over twenty different geoscience topics, and they created informational brochures on each geoscience topic. Of the 88 participants, approximately 95% of them were non-geoscience majors. A pre- and post-knowledge test showed a significant increase in general geoscience comprehension. Surveys showed that participants were intrinsically motivated to learn more about the geosciences, and that they have become active geoscience learners after the internship. This program was supported by NSF OEDG grant #1108281, the Brookhaven National Laboratory, the New York City Police Department, and the New York City Metropolitan Transit Authority.