Communicating Ocean and Climate Science to Diverse Audiences through the Ambassadors for STEM Training to Enhance Participation (A-STEP) Program.

Lisa D White, University of California Berkeley, Museum of Paleontology, Berkeley, CA, United States and Sharon K Cooper, Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory, Palisades, NY, United States
The Ambassadors for STEM Training to Enhance Participation (A-STEP) program leverages the infrastructure of IODP’s scientific drillship JOIDES Resolution and research vessels in the University National Oceanographic Laboratory System fleet to enhance the ability for underrepresented STEM and non-STEM majors to gain experience in ocean and climate science. Drawing from the successful IODP School of Rock program and STEMSEAS transit models with added support from a rich network of mentors, advisors, science educators, and professional societies, the A-STEP program is producing skilled ambassadors for science who are well-suited to effectively communicate geoscience information to diverse audiences. In 2019 during the first full year of the program, A-STEP students participated in two different STEMSEAS transit cruises and one IODP School of Rock expedition. The student products from these experiences include video shorts, blog posts, and educational storyboards to share with the broader public. Many of these materials are incorporated into How science works framework and posted on the University of California Museum of Paleontology (UCMP) Understanding Science website or used to create educational storyboards from UCMP Understanding Global Change interactive tools. Through these tools, the students are drawing connections between the oceanography research conducted on ships with specific drivers of global change (non-human and human) and sharing them with public audiences. By overcoming gaps that often persistent in communication between scientists and the communities we hope to better serve, the A-STEP project is strategically placing student participants in formal and informal learning environments where they share these learning products while spreading enthusiasm for Earth and Ocean Science across diverse communities nationwide