The EES Department has received a three-year, $359,000 grant from the National Science Foundation's GEOPATH program to enhance recruiting of undergraduate geology and environmental science majors and to enhance their career development. The goal is to entice students within EES and the College of Science and Technology, as well as students from across Temple University, to pursue urban geoscience.
Three EES faculty members—Chair and Professor Jonathan Nyquist, Associate Professor Alix Davatzes and Professor Laura Toran—teamed up with Carol Brandt, associate professor in the College of Education, on the successful grant proposal. One of NSF's priorities is increasing student interest in pursuing STEM careers, with the GEOPATH program focusing on enhancing student engagement in the geosciences.
"We want students to realize that geology isn't just about mapping mountains out West," says Toran. "There are a lot of local problems that impact where students live, such as protecting impaired local streams, working on chemical hazards found in urban soils and understanding coastal hazards caused by storms."
The grant also includes a one-on-one math mentoring program in which EES student volunteers help students through the required math sequence; an enhanced curriculum geared toward providing job skills; an internship program that recently linked up its first cohort of students with participating employers; and, pending the approval of the Temple University Board of Trustees, an environmental professional certificate.
Brandt, from the College of Education, will periodically assess the effectiveness of the program, including student recruitment and retention.