Undergraduate Students As Effective Climate Change Communicators
Monday, 15 December 2014
The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA), San Antonio College (SAC), and the University of North Dakota (UND) have partnered with NASA to provide underrepresented undergraduates from UTSA, SAC, and other community colleges climate-related research and education experiences through the Climate Change Communication: Engineer, Environmental science, and Education (C3E3) project. The program aims to develop a robust response to climate change by providing K-16 climate change education; enhance the effectiveness of K-16 education particularly in engineering and other STEM disciplines by use of new instructional technologies; increase the enrollment in engineering programs and the number of engineering degrees awarded by showing engineering’s usefulness in relation to the much-discussed contemporary issue of climate change; increase persistence in STEM degrees by providing student research opportunities; and increase the ethnic diversity of those receiving engineering degrees and help ensure an ethnically diverse response to climate change. Students participated in the second summer internship funded by the project. The program is in its third year. More than 75 students participated in a guided research experiences aligned with NASA Science Plan objectives for climate and Earth system science and the educational objectives of the three institutions. The students went through training in modern media technology (webcasts), and in using this technology to communicate the information on climate change to others, especially high school students, culminating in production of webcasts on investigating the aspects of climate change using NASA data. Content developed is leveraged by NASA Earth observation data and NASA Earth system models and tools. Three Colleges were involved in the program: Engineering, Education, and Science.