By Sarah Langford
The National Science
Foundation, or NSF, has awarded a three-year $852,000 grant
to Cal State Long Beach for a project that will increase opportunities
for minority students in the geosciences field.
The project, an
eight-week summer program called the Geoscience Diversity
Enhancement Program, will give local community college and
high school students a chance to participate in hands-on work
in fields such as geology, geography, archaeology and environmental
"By the end
of the program students will have gained a deeper knowledge
of and love for the sciences, and will have done it all in
a hands-on, out-of-the-classroom setting," said Elizabeth
Ambos, principal investigator for the project and associate
dean for academic initiatives in CSULB's College of Natural
Sciences and Mathematic. "We also hope it will encourage
many to choose a career in the sciences."
The program, specifically
designed for community college and high school students, includes
a lot of field trips combined with laboratory work. Since
community colleges and high schools are targeted, Abros called
the program a "bridge" program.
Of the 80 proposals
submitted nationally, just 15 were funded, the CSULB grant
being one of the largest.
is set in an incredibly diverse, urban area," Ambos said.
"We have the kind of population demographics NSF was
The five community
colleges participating in the program are Long Beach City
College, Cerritos College, El Camino College, Orange Coast
College and Irvine Valley College. Long Beach Unified
School District, with more than 90,000 K-12 students, is the
other participant in the program.
is the first of its kind because it affords underrepresented
students such as African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans
and southeast Asians the chance to really explore the natural
sciences and gain hands-on learning experience," Ambos
For the first year,
10 to 15 students from the partnering community colleges and
LBUSD high schools will be recruited for the program. Nine
faculty members from the College of Liberal Arts and the College
of Natural Sciences and Mathematics will join up to teach
Among other things,
students will learn safe laboratory procedures and how to
conduct research and collect, analyze and interpret data in
different fields of geoscience. Their classroom skills will
be complemented by outdoor activities and fieldtrips to places
such as Baja, Calif. and various marine geological sites.