Plymouth State University has been awarded a $306,146 GEOPATHS grant from the National Science Foundation to engage students in geoscience. This 3-year “Lake Watershed Geosystems Path (LWGP)” initiative focuses on recruiting, retaining, and graduating undergraduate science students through a problem-based, field-intensive, applied interdisciplinary science approach that scaffolds with existing curriculum and research opportunities.
Working with PSU Admissions, a diverse cohort of first-year students in STEM fields will be recruited and participate in a first-year seminar course that develops critical thinking through a geoscience lens. Throughout the academic year and following summer, LWGP students will engage in paid extracurricular field- and lab-based watershed research, including atmospheric deposition, land surface runoff, stream flow, and resulting effects on lake basins. During their rising-sophomore summer, students enter into pre-arranged intern- and externships with partners and organizations to leverage their newly acquired geoscience training. LWGP alumni will also help peer mentor and train subsequent participants.
The LWGP directly responds to local and regional mandates to increase the number of graduates in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) as well as helping meet national needs to augment the geoscience trained workforce.
The faculty and staff involved in the project include Joe Boyer, Lisa Doner, Mark Green, Eric Kelsey, Amy Villamagna, Mary Earick, and Dan Evans and is facilitated through PSU’s Center for the Environment.