AISES GEOSCIENCES OUTREACH PROGRAM
The goals of the Geoscience research program are to introduce high school students to college level research projects, and research poster development. This not only gets students interested in STEM through hands on project based learning, but also makes students more competitive in the college admissions process. NASEP students have continued their research and have presented at the AISES National Conferences.
In the fall of 2012, The University of Arizona's AISES Chapter received a mini grant from AISES to address the low amount of Native students pursing the geosciences. UA AISES partnered with NASEP to facilitate a unique research opportunity for NASEP members. Since its inception, the AISES Geoscience Outreach Program has offered participants a wide array of opportunities specific to the STEM fields including: water quality, light pollution, and weather and climate.
The program takes place in phases, with the first inviting participants to the University of Arizona campus to meet with experts in each field who would later serve as mentors. The mentors provide participants with necessary tools for gathering data, and they show participants examples of how such data could be collected. The last phase is the presentation of the posters. The 2012-2013 cohort poster session was hosted by the Geosciences program at the Gould-Simpson building, in which participants displayed their results to a panel of judges for a friendly competition within each project category. The participants explained their research to the judges in addition to professors, family members, and other visitors to the event. In doing so, participants were better able to showcase the wide range of knowledge and conclusions that they had gained from their projects and from the data-gathering experiences. Many presenters expressed a desire to continue gathering data in other locations from their community in order to further satisfy their curiosity about the topic.
The poster presentation now takes place during the Native American College Day. By integrating the poster presentations into this event, students and families also receive information about college admissions, financial aid, residence life, and academic success and achievement; as well as learning about college life through a parent and student panel. Many of the Native American resources available on campus are present; Steve Martin, the program director for Native American Student Affairs and the Native SOAR program provide insight on helpful programs proven to increase student retention at the University.