Increasing Diversity in Geosciences

Gil Hanson

Gil Hanson

A proposal headed up by Gil Hanson, Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Geosciences, has been funded by the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Directorate for Geosciences in the amount of $1.5 million for five years. “GeoPREP Track 2: Expanding the Geoscience Pathway” aims to increase diversity in the Geosciences. This effort was spearheaded by Principal Investigator Hanson and co-PIs Brian Colle, Associate Professor, School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences; David Ferguson, Distinguished Service Professor and Chair, Department of Technology and Society; Kamazima Lwiza, Associate Professor, School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences; David Bynum, Director, Center for Science and Mathematics Education; and Paul Siegel, of Technology and Society and the Director of GeoPREP. Siegel was instrumental in bringing the co-PIs together, and he has played a significant role in the design and creation of the GeoPREP program.  

GeoPREP is a multi-track program serving high school students from high-needs school districts on Long Island, underrepresented minority undergraduates at Stony Brook, and in-service and pre-service Earth Science teachers in the region.

This NSF Track 2 Opportunities for Enhancing Diversity in the Geosciences (OEDG) project addresses the lack of scholastic follow-up opportunities for students in New York State whose interest in the Geosciences has been whetted by 8th or 9th grade Earth Science. It includes an intensive summer residential Geosciences research program for high school students; a series of in-service teacher training workshops to develop new interdisciplinary Geosciences curricula; and, through partnership with Brookhaven National Laboratory, Web casts from the National Synchrotron Light Source and further development of the Open Space Stewardship Program.

Other components of the project include the introduction of an academic-year university laboratory visitation program for high school students that provides for expanded hands-on Geosciences learning activities, scholarship support for undergraduates in the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP), and a longitudinal study of attitudes and possible biases regarding the Geosciences by underrepresented minority students.

The OEDG program is designed to address the fact that certain groups are underrepresented in the Geosciences relative to the proportions of those groups in the general population. The primary goal of the program is to increase participation in the geosciences by African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans (American Indians and Alaskan Natives), Native Pacific Islanders (Polynesians or Micronesians), and persons with disabilities.

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