Maximizing Undergraduate Success By Combining Research Experiences with Outreach, Peer Mentoring and Professional Development
Abstract:The C-MORE Scholars Program provides hands-on, closely mentored research experiences to University of Hawaii (UH) undergraduates during the academic year. Students majoring in the geosciences, especially underrepresented students, from all campuses are encouraged to apply. The academic-year research is complemented by outreach, professional development and summer internships. Combined, these experiences help students develop the skills, confidence and passion that are essential to success in a geoscience career.
Research. All students enter the program as trainees, where they learn lab and field research methods, computer skills and science principles. After one year, they are encouraged to reapply as interns, where they work on their own research project. Students who have successfully completed their intern year can reapply as fellows, where they conduct an independent research project such as an honors thesis. Students present their research at a Symposium through posters (trainees) or talks (interns and fellows). Interns and fellows help organize program activities and serve as peer mentors to trainees.Multi-tiered programs that build a pathway toward graduation have been shown to increase student retention and graduation success.
Outreach. Undergraduate researchers rarely feel like experts when working with graduate students and faculty. For students to develop their identity as scientists, it is essential that they be given the opportunity to assume the role as expert. Engaging students in outreach is a win-win situation. Students gain valuable skills and confidence in sharing their research with their local community, and the public gets to learn about exciting research happening at UH.
Professional Development. Each month, the Scholars meet to develop their professional skills on a particular topic, such as outreach, scientific presentations, interviewing, networking, and preparing application materials for jobs, scholarships and summer REUs. Students are strongly encouraged to participate in summer REUs on the mainland US, both to gain independence and as a testing ground for graduate school.