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Volume 24 Issue 1 (January 2014)

GSA Today

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Article, pp. 52–53 | Full Text |

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Why are there so few Hispanic students in geoscience?

Philip J. Stokes1, Roger Levine2, Karl W. Flessa3

1 Dept. of Geosciences, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona 85721, USA
2 Consultant, 168 Iris Street, Redwood City, California 94062, USA
3 Dept. of Geosciences, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona 85721, USA

Geoscience struggles to keep pace with the changing national demographics. Of all of the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields, geoscience has the least racial and ethnic diversity. In 2010, 20% of all U.S. bachelor’s degrees were awarded to underrepresented minorities, and fewer than 7% of bachelor’s degrees in geoscience were awarded to underrepresented minorities (NSF, 2013). Diversity benefits students’ academic development, awareness of cultures, professional societies, and the workforce (Chan, 2013; Velasco and Velasco, 2010). Explanations offered for the limited participation of minority students in geoscience include family influences, cultural differences, and hidden barriers (e.g., O’Connell and Holmes, 2011; Lewis and Baker 2010; Seymour and Hewitt, 1997). Few explanations have been tested, and progress toward greater participation of underrepresented minorities in geosciences has been slow.

Manuscript received 10 March 2013; accepted 8 Aug. 2013

doi: 10.1130/GSATG176GW.1