Outreach efforts geared toward increased involvement in and pursuit of geoscience careers

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AGI's GeoConnection Recruitment Packets provide geoscience departments with a tool to directly engage prospective geoscience majors in a discussion about the many career opportunities in the geosciences, and about the importance of participation in geoscience professional societies and conferences. Packets were distributed over 3 years, from 2009 to 2011 to participating institutions. In those three years, 2,279 packets were sent to 82 departments. Information about geoscience careers and professional societies, a copy of EARTH Workforce Magazine, "Why earth science" DVD, and grain size rulers were included in the packets. In addition, AGI provided students with free 1-year memberships to five geoscience professional societies and free access AGI's online Glossary of Geology. AGI developed survey instruments to assess how effective and valuable participants found the packets. These online surveys were distributed via email to students who received the packets and to faculty who distributed them. The voluntary surveys included open-ended, short-answer questions, Likert-based questions developed from the Self-Determination Theory by Deci and Ryan, and departmental information questions. We explored faculty and student perspectives pertaining to the overall utility and value of this outreach initiative for increasing the number of geoscience majors and connecting students to the geoscience community. Preliminary results indicated that students had an overall positive experience with the packets. Short-answer questions revealed that students perceived the purpose of the packets was to provide more information about different geoscience subjects, about the steps in pursuing a geoscience career and about professional and career opportunities in the geoscience discipline. Strengths of the packets included facilitating networking and communication with other geoscientists, and supporting opportunities for increased participation within the geoscience community through joining membership societies or attending conferences. Conversely, students' suggestions for improving the packets included offering more specific information about the membership societies, upcoming conferences and what internships or careers are currently available or in demand.

  • Heather Houlton*
  • Leila Gonzales*
  • Christopher Keane*
  • Geological Society of America Annual Meeting 2011