Jackson State University (JSU) is a research intensive Historically Black College and University (HBCU) and the first of only two HBCUs in the southeast U.S. with an Atmospheric Science program. JSU is the largest producer of African American B.S. degrees in Atmospheric Science (NCES, 2014). JSU has a four-year graduation rate of nineteen percent, which suggests either students are not being well-prepared prior to college or there is a greater need for support services for incoming students. Although graduation rates are low, 75% of HBCU students are low-income students and the HBCU graduation rates of these students outperforms those at all other institutions (USBE&IT, 2015). In 2014, understanding the need to develop students with career relevant competencies and skills, Jackson Public Schools created the Academy of Scientific Innovations at Provine High School with a division in atmospheric science. The introduction of the division was in direct response from our Associate Dean and the fact that Provine is within a mile from JSU Meteorology Program. Through this program students will: increase their understanding of the interdisciplinary nature of the geosciences; acquire hands-on geoscience teaching experience; and be exposed to possible careers in the geosciences (including teaching); while acquiring real-world, geoscience workforce skills. The goal of the project is to establish a geoscience pipeline in the high school to increase the number of students in geoscience disciplines, and thus the diversity of the geoscience workforce.
Increasing Minorities in the Atmospheric Sciences through the Geoscience Experiences (IMAGE) project is a three year partnership between the Jackson State University (JSU) Department of Physics, Atmospheric Science and Geosciences (DPAGS) and Provine High School. The project also collaborates with the National Weather Service offices in Shreveport, LA and Memphis, TN and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration?s National Weather Service?s Operations Division. The project leverages JSU?s demographic and institutional services to research, assess, and evaluate the effectiveness of a multilayered, academic year experience to increasing the number and diversity of students within the geosciences. The program targets a cohort of pre-college, first-year, transfer students and undergraduate geoscience majors. The cohorts will be supported academically, socially and professionally via a series of effective and evidence-based strategies including a summer bridge program; a mentored geoscience teaching experience; and internships. These activities will be aimed at achieving the program?s goals of increasing the number and diversity of STEM students, preparing students well to participate in science for tomorrow, and improving students' STEM learning outcomes. The program will test the effectiveness of preparatory courses, tutoring, student services support, and undergraduate research experiences on the target audience to facilitate students? academic and social integration during their critical transition stage into a four year college.