The goal of this project is to increase the number and success rate of underrepresented minority students majoring in the geosciences. The project seeks to expose students to field experiences and career opportunities in the geosciences and involves a number of collaborating organizations, including the Department Alumni Board and the Geologists of Jackson Hole.
Resolving the severe shortage in the geosciences workforce is projected to require increased participation in the geosciences by underrepresented minorities (URM), which is currently well below that of other STEM disciplines. Low URM participation in the geosciences is a particularly acute problem at The University of Michigan (U-M), where the number of undergraduate URM students majoring in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences is approximately 5% of total majors. This is an important societal issue both from the practical standpoint of the geosciences workforce as well as ethical and sociological standpoints regarding the inherent value of diversity. This project aims to increase the proportion of URM students majoring in geosciences at U-M to a level that reflects the overall demographics of the state of Michigan. This will achieve the desired societal outcomes by (1) increasing the number of URM students trained in one of the nation’s premiere geosciences departments at a flagship public university; (2) advancing and disseminating knowledge on best practices for recruiting and retaining URM students in the geosciences.