Presentation Title

Pre-college Urban Ecology Research Mentoring: Engaging Underrepresented Minorities the Fields of Ecology and Conservation

Start Date

5-2-2018 4:00 PM

End Date

5-2-2018 6:00 PM

Abstract

Despite continued efforts to recruit and retain underrepresented racial minorities (URMs)—African Americans, American Indians/Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders, and Latinx—in the sciences, only 21.7% of 4-year science degrees were awarded to URM’s in the United States during 2014. While research mentoring programs at the undergraduate level increase the retention of URMs already majoring in the sciences , contextual (e.g., role-model relationships) and psychological (e.g., science identity) factors that develop long before college may limit the number of URMs who choose to study the sciences and pursue environmental-related careers in the first place. Therefore, to increase diversity in these areas it is critical to reach students before they make decisions about college. Funded by NSF, Project TRUE (Teens Researching Urban Ecology) is an urban ecology summer research mentoring program in NYC aimed at URM rising high school seniors. Immediately following Project TRUE, 54.9% (50 of 91) of participants reported a change in academic intent towards an ecology-related major. While some participants did not change their interest towards an ecology-related degree, 94.5% planned to pursue a STEM degree and students reported on a 7 point Likert Scale (1 = “not at all”, 7 = “a lot”) that Project TRUE had a mean influence of 6.5 on “knowledge of science” and “intention to go to college” and a mean influence of 6.2 on “want to help take care of the environment”. These data suggest that Project TRUE had a strong influence on student academic intentions, science identity, and pro-environmental attitudes.

Subjects

Environmental education, Environmental policy, Environmental social sciences

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Feb 5th, 4:00 PM Feb 5th, 6:00 PM

Pre-college Urban Ecology Research Mentoring: Engaging Underrepresented Minorities the Fields of Ecology and Conservation

Despite continued efforts to recruit and retain underrepresented racial minorities (URMs)—African Americans, American Indians/Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders, and Latinx—in the sciences, only 21.7% of 4-year science degrees were awarded to URM’s in the United States during 2014. While research mentoring programs at the undergraduate level increase the retention of URMs already majoring in the sciences , contextual (e.g., role-model relationships) and psychological (e.g., science identity) factors that develop long before college may limit the number of URMs who choose to study the sciences and pursue environmental-related careers in the first place. Therefore, to increase diversity in these areas it is critical to reach students before they make decisions about college. Funded by NSF, Project TRUE (Teens Researching Urban Ecology) is an urban ecology summer research mentoring program in NYC aimed at URM rising high school seniors. Immediately following Project TRUE, 54.9% (50 of 91) of participants reported a change in academic intent towards an ecology-related major. While some participants did not change their interest towards an ecology-related degree, 94.5% planned to pursue a STEM degree and students reported on a 7 point Likert Scale (1 = “not at all”, 7 = “a lot”) that Project TRUE had a mean influence of 6.5 on “knowledge of science” and “intention to go to college” and a mean influence of 6.2 on “want to help take care of the environment”. These data suggest that Project TRUE had a strong influence on student academic intentions, science identity, and pro-environmental attitudes.