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Undergraduate research projects help promote diversity in the geosciences

September 30, 2016

A workforce that draws from all segments of society and mirrors the ethnic, racial, and gender
diversity of the United States population is important. The geosciences (geology, hydrology,
geospatial sciences, environmental sciences) continue to lag far behind other science, technology,
engineering and mathematical (STEM) disciplines in recruiting and retaining minorities (Valsco
and Valsco, 2010). A report published by the National Science Foundation in 2015, “Women,
Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering” states that from 2002 to
2012, less than 2% of the geoscience degrees were awarded to African-American students. Data
also show that as of 2012, approximately 30% of African-American Ph.D. graduates obtained a
bachelor’s degree from a Historic Black College or University (HBCU), indicating that HBCUs
are a great source of diverse students for the geosciences. This paper reviews how an informal
partnership between Tennessee State University (a HBCU), the U.S. Geological Survey, and
Mammoth Cave National Park engaged students in scientific research and increased the number
of students pursuing employment or graduate degrees in the geosciences.

  • USGS Source: Publications Warehouse (indexId: 70178695)

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