Using Mentor Maps to Measure the Impact of an Intensive Field Experience Aboard the JOIDES Resolution

Kaatje van der Hoeven Kraft, Whatcom Community College, Department of Sciences, Bellingham, WA, United States, Leah H Joseph, Ursinus College, Environmental Studies, Collegeville, PA, United States and Sharon K Cooper, Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory, Palisades, NY, United States
The JR Academy is a program initiated by the US Science Support Program of the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) and the JOIDES Resolution (JR) Science Operator with the goal of familiarizing a broader spectrum of undergraduate students with the mission/programs of IODP to build a more diverse cohort that would help comprise the next generation of oceanographic researchers. Twelve students spent 1 month aboard the JR as part of Expedition 385T from Antofagasta, Chile to San Diego, CA while taking college-level geology and oceanography courses for credit. During this time, they participated in inquiry-driven classroom modules, engaged in activities and conversations that introduced them to aspects of life at sea, running an oceanographic vessel, authentic scientific research, skills development, and various career paths including the crew, technicians, science communicators, and the science team. Students were able to learn about the science mission of Expedition 385T and to walk through the process of onboard sediment/rock sampling. Each student formulated and enacted a small research project resulting in an onboard poster session. The students also worked on projects with the Education & Outreach team to develop stronger science communication skills.

Research on student persistence and retention in STEM, particularly for underrepresented populations, indicates that mentorship and networks are critical for pursuing next steps in the career/academic pathway. A “mentor map” is a way to measure variables that impact student persistence. Students who have access to more mentors (e.g. someone to assist with personal/institutional challenges) will more likely persist in the face of challenges. The JR Academy students represented a broad spectrum who are underrepresented in STEM, such as lower socioeconomic status, racial/ethnic minority, community college student, and/or LGBTQ (self-disclosed). In order to determine how an intensive program like that of the JR Academy can influence student access to mentors and expand networks, we measured student network/mentor maps at the beginning of the expedition and again at the end. Preliminary results indicate that student access to networks expanded significantly from this experience, particularly for students earlier in their academic career path.