Campus: CSU Long Beach -- October 10, 2001
National Science Foundation Awards $852,000 Grant to Cal
State Long Beach for Project to Increase Underrepresented Minorities in
The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded a three-year,
$852,000 grant to California State University, Long Beach for a project
designed to increase the number of underrepresented students in the various
geosciences fields such as geology, geography, archaeology and environmental
The grant was funded through a new program within the NSF known as the
"Geo-Diversity Initiative." Of the more than 80 proposals submitted,
only 15 were funded, and the CSULB grant is believed to be one of the
Called the Geoscience Diversity Enhancement Program (G-DEP), the CSULB
project will involve university faculty with faculty and students from
five area community colleges and several high schools in the Long Beach
Unified School District (LBUSD) in geoscience research during an eight-week
"In terms of increasing the number of underrepresented students,
there has been a lot of progress made in certain fields, especially life
sciences," said Elizabeth Ambos, principal investigator for the project
and associate dean for academic initiatives in CSULB's College of Natural
Sciences and Mathematics. "But in the physical sciences, such as
geology and physical geography, there has been much less progress made.
This project was designed with that in mind."
The five community college partners involved with the program are Long
Beach City College, Cerritos College, El Camino College, Orange Coast
College and Irvine Valley College. The other partner, Long Beach Unified,
is one of the largest and most diverse districts in the nation with more
than 90,000 K-thru-12 students.
The primary goal of G-DEP is to increase the number of underrepresented
students who have a broad educational and research experience in the geosciences.
Ambos also believes the program will help enhance the quality and quantity
of geoscience research and teaching by faculty members at the university,
community college and high school levels.
Additionally, G-DEP is expected to increase the awareness by community
college and high school students of the geosciences fields and related
research careers and educational requirements.
"We have a number of students who take our (geosciences) courses
only as juniors and seniors, and the most common quote we hear is, `Gee!
If I would have known about this field, I would have majored in it,'"
Ambos noted. "Well, we're trying to change that."
A number of the program's summer research opportunities have already been
set. These projects will range from looking at coastal landforms down
in Baja, California, geophysical archaeology to marine geology research,
geo-chemistry, water resource and natural hazards research.
Students will learn safe procedures for the lab. They will learn how to
conduct geoscience research and data analysis and interpretation. The
experience--both lab and field-will culminate in poster presentations
and presentations in their schools.
"In the geosciences fields, these types of research programs are
rare, especially for community college and high school students,"
Ambos pointed out. "We already have a really exciting set of summer
research projects set up, and these underrepresented students will be
encouraged to learn science by actively participating in geoscience research."
During the first year, 10 to 15 students from the partnering community
colleges and LBUSD high schools will be recruited for the program.
The CSULB G-DEP project will involve faculty from the university's departments
of Geological Sciences, Geography and Anthropology.