Lamont-Doherty's Secondary School Field Research Program: 10 years of field research-based education.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Robert Newton1, Susan Vincent1, Sarah Gribbin2, Dorothy M Peteet3, Raymond Sambrotto4, Benjamin C Bostick5, Elizabeth Corbett5, Khue Nguyen1, John Bjornton6, Dorick Lee2, Derek Dubossi7 and Nunny Reyes5, (1)Columbia University of New York, Palisades, NY, United States, (2)Urban Assembly New York Harbor School, Chemistry, New York City, NY, United States, (3)Goddard Inst Space Studies, New York, NY, United States, (4)Columbia Univ, Palisades, NY, United States, (5)Columbia University, Palisades, NY, United States, (6)Young Womens Leadership School, Mathematics, New York City, NY, United States, (7)Fiorello LaGuardia High School, Science, New York City, NY, United States
This fall marks the 10th year in which we have run a research-project-based educational program for high school students and science teachers at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. This summer’s cohort included 31 teenagers, 7 science teachers, and 16 college students, most of whom are returning to the program to help run the research projects. Nearly all of our students attend non-competitive-entry public schools in NYC or the neighborhoods around the Observatory. Over 80% are from under-served minority populations. Most receive Title I/III assistance. About 60% are young women. During the past 10 years, nearly all of our participants have gone on to 4-year colleges. About half are declaring science and engineering majors. Our students receive scholarship support at rates several times higher than their graduating peers, including 5 Gates Millennium scholars over the past 5 years. Our science is centered on studies of a nearby tidal wetland, where we have expanded from fish collections in year one to include everything from sediment core analysis to soil chemistry to nutrient cycles to the local food web.

In this presentation we will look back over 10 years of experience and focus on what lessons can be learned about (1) how to engage teams of young investigators in authentic scientific research; (2) what cultural/organizational structures encourage them to make use of place- and project-based learning and (3) what the participants themselves report as the most useful aspects of our programming. The presentation will include video clips from the students’ field experiences and from reflective interviews with “graduates”.