This month, we highlight the work of the Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville (SIUE) STEM Center’s GEOPATHS Scholars program, for which HEI serves as an evaluator. Funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), and in collaboration with the SIUE departments of geography and environmental sciences, the program aims to increase recruitment, retention, and graduation of historically underrepresented students in environmental geoscience fields through extracurricular learning experiences. These experiences help to increase geoscience career awareness and pursuit among science-interested students in their first two years of college.
In the GEOPATHS program, student scholars learn through fieldwork and other experiences how the work of geoscientists supports community health, safety, resilience, and sustainability. In addition to working with faculty members during. the academic year, they also have the opportunity to go on two summer field trips: the “Storm Chasers” trip and the “Western National Parks” excursion. The “Storm Chasers” experience starts with training in forecasting severe storms, storm hazards, and minimizing the risk to the observer. Then faculty members and graduate assistants lead the scholars on a seven-day field trip across nine states to experience the physical processes learned in the training. For the Western National Parks excursion, faculty members and graduate assistants lead visits to Devil’s Tower National Monument and the national parks of Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Bryce Canyon, Arches, and Great Sand Dunes. Students engage in field learning at unique geological sites, such as hydrothermal features in Yellowstone and hoodoos in Bryce Canyon, and learn to contribute to discussions about geo-conservation and geo-heritage.
For more information on the GEOPATHS Scholars programs, visit this SIUE STEM Center page.