This project is addressing the shortage of undergraduate and graduate degrees being earned in the geosciences, particularly by members of racial and ethnic groups that are underrepresented in STEM fields. The New York City College of Technology (City Tech) is simultaneously attacking this problem from two fronts - the undergraduate level and the grade 6-12 level. For City Tech's undergraduates, this project is introducing geoscience knowledge and opportunities to its diverse undergraduate student population through creation of two new courses in the geosciences, which is not currently taught at City Tech, and research experiences. Creation of geoscience articulation agreements with the City College of New York is also creating pathways for students at City Tech to pursue Bachelor's and advanced degrees in the geosciences. For students in grades 6-12, this project is: 1) providing inquiry-oriented geoscience experiences (pedagogical and research) for students; 2) providing standards-based professional development (pedagogical and research) in Earth science for teachers from three separate middle and high schools of the New York City public school system; 3) developing teachers' inquiry-oriented and place-based instructional techniques; 4) assisting teachers with improving their existing curricula to meet the specific needs of their school district; 5) increasing teacher content knowledge and confidence in working with Earth science scholars; 6) improving teacher skills in synthesizing and transforming their knowledge to be used in the classroom; 7) engaging students in the application of geoscience activities through a virtual environment; 8) providing peer-assisted math foundations that will underpin and elucidate geoscience concepts; and, 9) creating community-based geoscience outreach activities. These objectives are being accomplished through geoscience partnerships and activities between City Tech, City College, MS 394 in Brooklyn, City Polytechnic High school, the Urban Assembly Institute of Math & Science for Young Women, NOAA-CREST, the New York City Research Institute program at NASA/GISS Columbia University, and the Brookhaven National Laboratory.
The proposed activities combine geoscience research experiences with focused, multidimensional/layered mentoring, and a robust learning community that produce holistic and engaging stimuli for the scientific and academic growth and development of undergraduates and the grades 6-12 student and teacher participants. The diverse students participating in this program and the educational pathways catalyzed through this award will become the future geocientists of our nation. Even those students who choose other careers will greatly benefit both themselves and our society by having a deeper understanding and a broader awareness of the critical nature of the geosciences. The proposed activities are also providing the grade secondary school teachers with new perspectives and skills that can be used to inspire the next generation of geoscience scholars.
NSF Award No. : GEO-1108281 Program Director: Dr. Reginald Blake, Physics Department, New York City College of Technology of the City University of New York Title: Creating and Sustaining Diversity in the Geo-Sciences Among Students and Teachers in the Urban and Coastal Environment of New York City To help in ameliorating this nationâ€™s geoscience plight, particularly from among members of racial and ethnic groups that are underrepresented in STEM fields, the New York City College of Technology (City Tech) provided geoscience experiences, opportunities, and expertise for both grades 8 – 12 public school students and their teachers and also for City Tech undergraduates. For the grades 8 – 12 participants, the project: 1) provided inquiry-oriented geosciences experiences (pedagogical and research) for students; 2) provided standards-based professional development (pedagogical and research) in earth science for teachers from one middle and three high schools in the New York City public school system; 3) developed teachersâ€™ inquiry-oriented and place-based instructional techniques; 4) assisted teachers with improving their existing curricula to meet the specific needs of their school districts; 5) increased teacher content knowledge and confidence in working with earth science scholars; 6) improved teacher skills in synthesizing and transforming geoscience knowledge to the classroom; 7) promoted geoscience inquiry and engagement by creating and implementing a three-dimensional online virtual world in which geoscience concepts are demonstrated, taught, and explored; and 8) developed a very robust and comprehensive community-based geoscience outreach activities program. For City Tech's undergraduate students, the project: 1) created and introduced geoscience knowledge and opportunities to the institutionâ€™s diverse undergraduate student population and 2) initiated geoscience articulation agreements with the City College of New York (CCNY) so that students may seamlessly transfer geoscience courses from City Tech to CCNY in pursuit of Bachelor's and advanced degrees in the geosciences. The projectâ€™s five critical partners: 1. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Cooperative Research Sensing Science and Technology Center (NOAA-CREST) at the City College of New York; 2. The New York City Research Initiative (NYCRI) program at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Goddard Institute for Space Studies (NASA GISS) at Columbia University; 3. The Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, New York; 4. The Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) program; and 5. The American Meteorological Society anchored the main activities of the project and thus helped to ensure its resounding success. By, therefore, providing opportunities for geoscience awareness, endeavors, and activities among students and teachers in the urban coastal region of New York City over a two-year period, the project successfully: 1. equipped educators with the tools to understand and convey knowledge in the geosciences; 2.engaged students and teachers in general geoscience research; 3. created geoscience academic pathways and enhanced existing earth science pedagogy to improve performance on geoscience knowledge and standardized exams; 4. disseminated basic geoscience knowledge and raised public awareness to the critical nature and vulnerabilities of the environment; 5. provided the significant geoscience exposure stimuli that students lacked and yearned for; and 6. positively changed both studentsâ€™ and their parentsâ€™ attitudes about and perceptions of the geosciences. Many now view the geosciences as a critical and even lucrative career pathway. In many meaningful ways, the project may well contribute to the replenishing and the diversifying of our nationâ€™s 21st century STEM workforce. In two years it has significantly and positively impacted and raised the geosciences awareness of well over a thousand grades 8 – 12 students and teachers and undergraduates throughout New York City. Full descriptions of the programmatic components of the project are disseminated in peer reviewed journal articles.