Earth Science Outreach Program Recruits New Majors

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The most significant choke point in the geoscience career pipeline is at its source: secondary schools. Unfortunately, most U.S. high schools do not provide courses that expose students to the geosciences. This problem is exacerbated by the lack of Advanced Placement courses in the geosciences. A lack of student awareness creates a substantial impediment to creating viable geoscience majors in college or for choosing the geosciences as a career.

To address these issues, the State University of New York College at Oneonta has instituted an Earth Science Outreach Program (E.S.O.P.) that enables high-school teachers to teach E.S.O.P. courses at their home high school. E.S.O.P courses are equivalent to introductory college courses in geology, meteorology, oceanography or astronomy. High-school students who complete E.S.O.P. courses earn undergraduate credit through SUNY-Oneonta. To provide further incentive for participation, the college has waived tuition for these courses and only charges a nominal fee.

Since its inception in 2004-2005, 402 students from 10 high schools across New York have taken advanced geoscience elective courses in their high schools through E.S.O.P.

A snapshot of the most recent year for 5 schools shows 13 of 67 students (19.4%) have decided to major in the geosciences as a result of participating in E.S.O.P.

For more information about E.S.O.P., visit:

View an in-depth discussion of this information in the corresponding Geoscience Currents Discussion Webinar.