Geophysics of the Near-surface an Outdoor Motivational Experience for Students

two students collecting resistivity data

GNOMES 2019 Participants collecting electrical resistivity tomography data.

Motivation for GNOMES

Undergraduate geoscience education in the United States lags behind other Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields when it comes to racial and ethnic diversity. This deficit is particularly notable for students who come from communities that have been historically excluded in STEM fields and translates to a larger gap in the workforce and at the graduate level. There has been no improvement in the racial and ethnic diversity of students earning doctoral degrees in the geosciences over the past 40 years.

Project Overview

students demonstrating the collection of ground penetrating radar in a forest

This project provides an engaging outdoor field experience for the student participants that will influence their choice of major, provide mentorship opportunities for upper-level undergraduates, create positive and lasting student-student and student-faculty mentor relationships, provide meaningful research experiences for the students, and create a strong cohort of students across multiple institutions. The goals of the program are: (1) Recruit a diverse cohort of undergraduate students; (2) Support student learning in critical zone science and geophysics; (3) Increase students’ science communication, problem solving, teamwork, and leadership skills; (4) Enhance psychosocial factors that are linked to retention in STEM fields; (5) Increase participation in geoscience research; (6) Increase positive attitudes towards geoscience careers and research; (7) Increase mentors’ leadership and professional skills. By attaining these goals, we aim to build a geoscience learning community of students across the participating institutions and within the broader scientific community and aim to increase recruitment and retention of these students in geoscience degrees and careers.

group photo of students

Geopaths 2018

group photo of students

Geopaths 2019

student collecting seismic data
students listening to an instructor describe a ropes course
four students in the forest

GNOMES is a collaboration between Dickinson College, Penn State, Rutgers University-Newark, and Temple University. This program is sponsored by the National Science Foundation under Grant #ICER 1701013 and #ICER 2119850. Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the NSF.