Diversity, Geosciences, and Societal Impact: Perspectives From a Geoscientist, Workforce Development Specialist, and Former Congressional Science Fellow
Abstract:In order for the United States to remain competitive in the STEM fields, all available interested citizens must be engaged, prepared, and retained in the geoscience workforce. The misperception that the geosciences do little to support the local community and give back to fellow citizens contributes to the lack of diversity in the field. Another challenge is that the assumptions of career paths for someone trained in geosciences are often limited to field work, perpetuated by visuals found in media, popular culture and recruiting materials and university websites. In order to combat these views it is critical that geoscientists make visible both the diverse career opportunities for those trained in geoscience and the relevance of the field to societal issues.
In order to make a substantive change in the number of underrepresented minorities pursuing and working in geosciences we must rethink how we describe our work, its impacts and its relevance to society. At UNAVCO, we have undertaken this charge to change they way the future generation of geoscientists views opportunities in our field. This presentation will include reflections of a trained geoscientist taking a non-field/research career path and the opportunities it has afforded as well as the challenges encountered. The presentation will also highlight how experience managing a STEM program for middle school girls, serving as a Congressional Science Fellow, and managing an undergraduate research internship program is aiding in shaping the Geoscience Workforce Initiative at UNAVCO.