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VOL. IX, NO. 35
CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY, LONG BEACH
OCTOBER 24, 2001


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news

Foundation funds geoscience


By Sarah Langford
On-line Forty-Niner

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 studies.

"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.

"Our university is set in an incredibly diverse, urban area," Ambos said. "We have the kind of population demographics NSF was looking for."

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.

"This project 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 said.

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 the course.

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.

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