Funded by the National Science Foundation Opportunities to Enhance Diversity in the Geosciences program (NSF-OEDG), the IDES (Increasing Diversity in Earth Sciences) Program is the first partnership of its kind in the state of Oregon, involving community colleges, a research university with major strengths in Earth Science research and education and an institutionalized commitment to enhancing diversity, along with state and federal agencies, and centers of informal education.
It has two integrated goals:
- to increase the number of students from under-represented groups who pursue careers in Earth Science research and education, and
- to strengthen the understanding of Earth Sciences and their relevance to society among broad and diverse segments of the population.
IDES is built around a proven model of tiered mentoring, interactive student cohort, research and education internships, and financial support. This 5-year program will recruit 15 students (mainly rising juniors)each year for four years (60 students in all) from science majors at Oregon State University and five Oregon community colleges.
The program will reach its goals by implementing a plan with three specific objectives:
Objective 1 - Prepare participants in IDES for success in the Earth Science Enterprise IDES is designed to instill the basic soft and hard skills required for success in the Earth Science enterprise. Students will be trained in the application of geospatial technologies (a highly marketable skill) to Earth Science problems of personal relevance and will participate in a two-year mentored research project that will culminate in internships with academic units, state and federal agencies, and centers for informal education in Oregon.
Objective 2 - Expose, educate, and involve participants in the breadth of Earth Science careers IDES will provide ample contact with Earth Science professionals through mentors, a professional internship, and a learning community that includes a speaker series that will provide personal connections, role models and direct work experience emphasizing their relevance to the Earth Science enterprise.
Objective 3 - Instill an understanding of context and relevance of the Earth Science Enterprise to the participants, their families, their communities, and the general public IDES will develop an extensive outreach and public education portfolio that will be coordinated through IDES partners and be delivered by IDES alumni and personnel.
Intellectual Merit: Including students in ongoing, bona fide research projects in close collaboration with mentors is a recognized best practice (NSF2001b). The experience should emphasize creating their own research questions and procedures, and the exercise of critical thinking in all activities. The study of patterns leading to the understanding of process through the application of geospatial methods (GIS, GPS, image processing) to Earth Science problems will be the emphasis in IDES and disparate projects will be integrated within the framework of Earth System Science discussions that emphasize connections, integration, and relevance. Students will thus be educated in the relevance and context of Earth Science research, as well as its practice early enough in their programs to enhance their likelihood that they choose an Earth Science career path. success must include the building and rewarding of leadership within a diversity program. This program introduces a unique arrangement where graduates of the program (IDES alumni) will return to inspire and mentor the next cohort of students within the program.
Broader Impacts: IDES will increase the number of Earth Science professionals from under-represented groups and will strengthen the understanding of Earth Sciences and their relevance to society among broad and diverse segments of the population. Another anticipated impact of IDES is an interest in Earth Science by the under-represented community at large that will have an important impact on their participation in the Earth Science enterprise. The implementation of IDES will result in a sustainable network in Oregon that is strongly attuned to the needs of under-represented groups. Academic institutions will have the philosophy of OEDG embedded in them, and students, mentors and sponsors will be versed in cross-cultural competencies. Mentoring will provide ample professional development. Dissemination of IDES results will fertilize the academic community at large on best practices, resources (human and documentary), and provide a model for adaptation and implementation in other settings. An IDES alumnus will complete a PhD project that analyzes program outcomes.