The lack of diversity in science and technology is a well-documented, ongoing national issue. Increasing diversity of students in science is a national imperative for several reasons, including economic, social justice, technological innovation, and creative problem solving. A scientist's approach to a problem, and how that problem could be solved is dependent on the sum total of their life experiences and as those experiences are often dependent on their agency, thusly it is critical to stimulate a diverse scientific academy. Promoting diversity helps reduce bias and promotes different world views. Practically, science careers are generally higher paying. Therefore, we must provide a mechanism for all who wish to pursue professional opportunities in the sciences. Underrepresented minorities have generally been discouraged or systematically prevented from science careers and in order to remedy these past injustices, we must ensure equal access and opportunity for all who wish to pursue a STEM degree. In order to answer the critical challenges within environmental health sciences, we need a large and varied assembly of scientists to tackle the issues that face our future, to dream of solutions not yet contemplated, to create solutions to problems not yet encountered. In order to create an environment where varied students can thrive and prepare to manage our future, we propose a robust, structured summer research program, the New College Environmental Health Science Scholars (NCEHSS), to bolster diverse young scholars? interest in environmental health careers. Recruitment will be primarily from community colleges, and exclusively from Maricopa County, the nation?s fastest growing county, with a 30% Hispanic and 3% Native American population. NCEHSS will enroll nine underrepresented scholars into a mentored summer research program, matching students with a faculty mentor in ASU?s School of Mathematical and Natural Sciences. Students will be supported on their path to graduate programs with intensive coursework and professional development, including a course entitled How to Be a Scientist, covering topics including presentation and data analysis skills. Students will also receive training in techniques with a Research Techniques in Environmental Health Sciences course. They will participate in active learning in environmental health sciences, via a risk versus reward approach, in an Environmental Health Sciences Tutorial. To support students? development as ethical scientists, a robust course in the Responsible Conduct of Research will challenge them with activities, case studies, and knotty problems in science. The keystone of NCEHSS will be an Open House Family Night Research Symposium with a poster session, where students share their research with the people most important to them. NCEHSS will also develop networking programs between the community colleges, the New College environmental health sciences, and existing structures at ASU. Finally, NCEHSS invites students to continue in their lab at ASU after successful completion of the program to further develop them as a scientist and support their goals to matriculate to graduate school.
In order to bolster science in the twenty-first century, more diverse individuals must be trained to tackle the pressing questions and problems in our environment. We propose to develop a summer program, the New College Environmental Health Science Scholars, to recruit and train underrepresented students in environmental health sciences to prepare them for STEM careers and use this program as a springboard to develop an undergraduate research consortium in Maricopa County.