Houlton (2010) found that geoscience students followed 6 distinct pathway steps in pursuing their career in the discipline (see Geoscience Currents #45). Further investigation illuminated that students could be categorized into 3 major and 6 minor population groups, each exhibiting a unique pathway trajectory. Explicitly mapping these trajectories results in valuable insight into future recruitment and retention initiatives because it allows geoscientists to specifically target student populations who are pursuing different geoscience careers.
Native Population: students who decide to major in the geosciences at the time of, or prior to, college enrollment (i.e. they are native to the major).
Immigrant Population: students who were studying a different major and switched into the geosciences (i.e. they immigrated into the major).
Refugee Population: students who major in the geosciences as a backup and do not intend on following a geoscience oriented career post-graduation (i.e. they seek refuge in the major as a means to an end).
To read Houlton’s full study, go to: http://docs.lib.purdue.edu/dissertations/AAI1490660/
View an in-depth discussion of this information in the corresponding Geoscience Currents Discussion Webinar.