The Society of Wetland Scientists (SWS) Diversity Mentoring Program for Undergraduates is in its eighth year. Previous support has helped young scientists in their career decisions and leveraged funding from seven SWS regional chapters to double the number of students supported in the program. This new award provides support for participation of seven undergraduate students from underrepresented groups in each of the next four years. It will also support collaboration with the Ecological Society of America SEEDS minority undergraduate mentoring program initially through involvement in a leadership training workshop conducted every spring. This promises to be a productive relationship that will develop to also include symposia, social events, field trips, mentoring, career development workshops, and guidance for SWS award recipients to enhance the ethnic and racial diversification of the ecological sciences. SWS spans academic, government and private consulting sectors, and students are able to tailor activities to their personal interests. By pairing undergraduate students with graduate student or faculty mentors and providing workshops and symposia oriented toward career development, SWS fosters active participation and discussion, the key components to advancing science and promoting the intellectual development of undergraduates.
SWS recognizes the need to reach out to underrepresented groups and provide intellectual opportunities for personal growth and development. Attendance at scientific meetings often provides the intellectual spark, along with opportunities to make contacts for the future that encourage undergraduate students to continue their professional education. A major goal of this mentoring program is to open doors for these students. Diversification of ecologically oriented professionals is expected to promote better science and science applications as a result of melding more diverse perspectives.