Establishing and maintaining a diverse US workforce that fully engages all populations represents a tremendous opportunity not only for furthering ocean science-related enterprises but also for cultivating future global ocean science leaders who collaborate effectively to make discoveries, achieve solutions, and develop technologies. A growing body of evidence suggests that a more diverse professional US workforce that better reflects the nation’s demographics can be achieved through numerous strategies aimed at effectively recruiting, supporting through graduation, and facilitating the increased participation of underrepresented minorities in Earth, atmospheric, and ocean sciences (and other related) graduate degree programs. To provide background and context for understanding the diversity challenge, we first describe expectations for the future US population and compare these projections to information about today’s demographic realities and the situation for the geosciences (including the ocean sciences) in particular. Descriptions of several specific implementations provide examples of successful strategies and reflect the research-based positive factors shown to foster increased engagement of underrepresented minorities.
Johnson, A., M.J. Huggans, D. Siegfried, and L. Braxton. 2016. Strategies for increasing diversity in the ocean science workforce through mentoring. Oceanography 29(1):46–54, https://doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2016.11.
Allison, T., K. Mugglestone, and K. Foster. 2015. Major Malfunction: Racial & Ethnic Disparities in What Students Study. Young Invincibles, Washington, DC, 7 pp., http://younginvincibles.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Major-Malfunction_FINAL.pdf.
Allison, T., and K. Mugglestone. 2014. The Future of Millennial Jobs. Young Invincibles, Washington, DC, 10 pp., http://younginvincibles.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/FUTURE-OF-MILLENNIAL-JOBS-1.20.2015.pdf.
Benderly, B.L. 2015. Minority PhD students: Where do they go? Science, April 21, 2015, http://www.sciencemag.org/careers/2015/04/minority-phd-students-where-do-they-go.
Bingham, B.L., S.D. Sulkin, S.S. Strom, and G. Muller-Parker. 2003. Increasing diversity in the marine sciences through the Minorities in Marine Science Undergraduate Program. Journal of Geoscience Education 51:474–80.
Colbeck, C.L., A.F. Cabrera, and P.T. Terenzini. 2001. Learning professional confidence: Linking teaching practices, students’ self-perceptions, and gender. The Review of Higher Education 24(2):173–191.
Colby, S.L., and J.M. Ortman. 2014. Projections of the Size and Composition of the US Population: 2014 to 2060. Current Population Reports P25-1143. US Census Bureau, Washington, DC, 13 pp., https://www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/library/publications/2015/demo/p25-1143.pdf.
Committee on Underrepresented Groups and the Expansion of the Science and Engineering Workforce Pipeline; Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy, Policy and Global Affairs; and National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine of the National Academies. 2011. Expanding Underrepresented Minority Participation: America’s Science and Technology Talent at the Crossroads. The National Academies Press, Washington, DC.
Cook, S.B., A. Holloway, M. Lettrich, and K. Yarincik. 2016. The ocean science graduate education landscape: A 2015 perspective. Oceanography 29(1):16–21, https://doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2016.04.
Cooper, R., J. Fearing, H. Al Kandari, and A. Garlapati. 2011. Panel discussion on practicing diversity in the workplace to achieve organization goals. ASSE Professional Development Conference and Exposition. June 12–15, Chicago, IL, American Society of Safety Engineers, https://www.onepetro.org/conference-paper/ASSE-11-552?sort=&start=20&q=workforce+development+minority&from_year=&peer_reviewed=&published_between=&fromSearchResults=true&to_year=&rows=10#.
Crutcher, B.N. 2014. Cross-cultural mentoring: A pathway to making excellence inclusive. Liberal Education 100(2):5, https://www.aacu.org/liberaleducation/2014/spring/crutcher.
Denson, C.D., Z.A. Avery, and J.D. Schell. 2010. Critical inquiry into urban African-American students’ perceptions of engineering. Journal of African American Studies 14(1):61–74, https://doi.org/10.1007/s12111-009-9107-4.
Duguay, L.E., and S.B. Cook. 2016. Beyond academia: Professional society resources and programs for ocean sciences graduate students. Oceanography 29(1):70–79, https://doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2016.17.
Essien-Wood, I.R. 2010. Undergraduate African American Females in the Sciences: A Qualitative Study of Student Experiences Affecting Academic Success and Persistence. PhD thesis, Arizona State University, http://search.proquest.com/docview/520284031.
Figueroa, T., and S. Hurtado. 2012. Underrepresented Racial and/or Ethnic Minority (URM) Graduate Students in STEM Disciplines: A Critical Approach to Understanding Graduate School Experiences and Obstacles to Degree Progression. Association for the Study of Higher Education, 36 pp., http://www.heri.ucla.edu/nih/downloads/ASHE2013-URM-Grad-Students-in-STEM.pdf.
Fries-Britt, S.L., T.K. Younger, and W.D. Hall. 2010. Lessons from high-achieving students of color in physics. The New Directions for Institutional Research 148:75–83, https://doi.org/10.1002/ir.363.
Fullilove, R.E., and P.U. Triesman. 1990. Mathematics achievement among African American undergraduates at the University of California, Berkeley: An evaluation of the Mathematics Workshop Program. Journal of Negro Education 59(3):463–478.
Gillula, J., and R. Fullenbaum. 2014. Minority and Female Employment in the Oil & Gas and Petrochemical Industries. American Petroleum Institute, Washington, DC, 73 pp., http://www.api.org/~/media/files/policy/jobs/ihs-minority-and-female-employment-report.pdf.
Girves, J.E., Y. Zepeda, and J.K. Gwathmey. 2005. Mentoring in a post-affirmative action world. Journal of Social Issues 61(3):449–479, https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1540-4560.2005.00416.x.
Gulf Research Program. 2014. Opportunities for the Gulf Research Program: Middle-Skilled Workforce Needs: Summary of a Workshop. The National Academies Press, 46 pp., http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=18980&page=1.
Holland, J.M., D.A. Major, and K.A. Orvis. 2012. Understanding how peer mentoring and capitalization link STEM students to their majors. The Career Development Quarterly 60(4):343–354, https://doi.org/10.1002/j.2161-0045.2012.00026.x.
Howard-Brown, B., and D. Martinez. 2013. Engaging diverse learners through the provision of STEM education opportunities. Southeast Comprehensive Center (SECC), http://secc.sedl.org/resources/briefs/diverse_learners_STEM.
Huntoon, J.E., and M.J. Lane. 2007. Diversity in the geosciences and successful strategies for increasing diversity. Journal of Geoscience Education 55(6):447–457.
Institute for Broadening Participation. 2015. MS PHD’S Program Application Personal Statements. [data file]. 2003–2015. Institute for Broadening Participation, Damariscotta, ME.
Johnson, A. 2014. Application of multidimensional recruitment and mentoring of underrepresented students. Paper presented at Developmental Networks: Mentoring & Coaching at Work, October 21–24, 2014. The Mentoring Institute, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM.
Kania, J., and M. Kramer. 2011. Collective impact. Stanford Social Innovation Review Winter 2011, http://ssir.org/articles/entry/collective_impact.
Karsten, J. 2015. Finding the tipping points for broadening participation in geosciences. Paper presented at the Geological Society of America meeting, November 1–4, 2015, Baltimore, MD, https://gsa.confex.com/gsa/2015AM/webprogram/Paper261708.html.
Ladson-Billings, G.J. 1995. Toward a theory of culturally relevant pedagogy. American Education Research Journal 35:465–491, https://doi.org/10.3102/00028312032003465.
Langdon, D., G. McKittrick, D. Beede, B. Khan, and M. Doms. 2011. STEM: Good Jobs Now and for the Future. ESA Issue Brief #03-11. U.S. Department of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration, Washington, DC, 10 pp., http://www.esa.doc.gov/sites/default/files/stemfinalyjuly14_1.pdf.
Lettrich, M. 2014. Trends in marine science degree completions. Paper presented at the Ocean Sciences Educators’ Retreat 2014, http://oceanleadership.org/wp-content/uploads/Trends-in-Marine-Science-Degree-Completions.pdf.
MacPhee, D., S. Farro, and S.S. Canetto. 2013. Academic self-efficacy and performance of underrepresented STEM majors: Gender, ethnic, and social class patterns. Analyses of Social Issues & Public Policy 13(1):347–369, https://doi.org/10.1111/asap.12033.
NSF (National Science Foundation National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics). 2015. Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering: 2015. Special Report NSF 15-311, National Science Foundation, Arlington, VA, http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/wmpd.
Nelson-Barber, S., and E.T. Estrin. 1995. Bringing Native American perspectives to mathematics and science teaching. Theory into Practice 34(3):174–185.
Nelson, S.A.C., E.F. Hain, B.M. Hartis, and A. Johnson. 2014. Changing the game: Multidimensional mentoring and partnerships in the recruitment of underrepresented students in fisheries. Pp. 193–200 in Future of Fisheries: Perspectives for Emerging Professionals. W. Taylor, A.L. Lynch, and N.J. Leonard, eds, American Fisheries Society.
Oakes, J. 1990. Opportunities, achievement and choice: Women and minority students in science and mathematics. Pp. 153–222 in Review for Research in Education, vol. 16, American Educational Research Association, https://doi.org/10.2307/1167352.
Packard, B.W.-L. 2011. Effective outreach, recruitment, and mentoring into STEM pathways: Strengthening partnerships with community colleges. Paper prepared for the National Academy of Sciences meeting Realizing the Potential of Community Colleges for STEM Attainment, December 15, 2011, 33 pp., http://nas-sites.org/communitycollegessummit/files/2011/12/NAS_Packard_Mentoring_toupload-2.pdf.
Page, S.E. 2008. The Difference: How the Power of Diversity Creates Better Groups, Firms, Schools, and Societies, new edition. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ, 456 pp.
PCAST (President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology). 2012. Engage to Excel: Producing One Million Additional College Graduates with Degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Report to the President, Executive Office of the President, Washington, DC, 103 pp., https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/microsites/ostp/pcast-engage-to-excel-final_2-25-12.pdf.
Perna, L., V. Lundy-Wagner, N.D. Drezner, M. Gasman, S. Yoon, and E. Boze. 2009. The contribution of HBCUs to the preparation of African American women for STEM careers: A case study. Research in Higher Education 50(1):1–23, https://doi.org/10.1007/s11162-008-9110-y.
Pfund, C., S. Miller Lauffer, J. Handelsman, C. Maidl Pribbenow, and J. Branchaw. 2006. The merits of training mentors: Good mentoring can be learned. Science 311:473–474, https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1123806.
Pyrtle, A.J., and V.A. Williamson Whitney. 2008. To attract, engage, mentor and sustain: Outcomes from the Minority Students Pursuing Higher Degrees of Success (MS PHD’S) in Earth System Science Pilot Project. Journal of Geoscience Education 56(1):24–32.
Ricciardi, L., V. Williamson Whitney, and A. Johnson. 2016. MS PHD’S: By and for minorities. Oceanography 29(1):58–59, https://doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2016.13.
Rolon, A.C. 2003. Educating Latino students. Educational Leadership 60(4):40–43.
Shujaa, M. 1995. Cultural self meets cultural other in the African-American experience: Teachers’ responses to a curriculum content reform. Theory Into Practice 34(3):194–201, https://doi.org/10.1080/00405849509543679.
Siegfried, D. 2014a. Evaluation for NSF I-Cubed Grant: Broadening Participation in Materials Science: Innovation through Institutional Integration of a Masters-to-PhD Bridge Program at Fisk, Delaware State, and Vanderbilt Universities. External Program Evaluation. Institute for Broadening Participation.
Siegfried, D. 2014b. Evaluation for NSF EPSCoR Track III Grant: Bridging the Divide: A Program to Broaden Participation in STEM PhD. External Program Evaluation. Institute for Broadening Participation.
Siegfried, D. 2015. Evaluation for NSF EPSCoR Track III Grant: Bridging the Divide: A Program to Broaden Participation in STEM Ph.D. External Program Evaluation. Institute for Broadening Participation.
Sowell, R., J. Allum, and H. Okahana. 2015. Doctoral Initiative on Minority Attrition and Completion. Council of Graduate Schools, Washington, DC, 84 pp., http://cgsnet.org/ckfinder/userfiles/files/Doctoral_Initiative_on_Minority_Attrition_and_Completion_2015.pdf.
Stassun, K.G., A. Burger, and S.E. Lange. 2010. The Fisk-Vanderbilt Masters-to-PhD Bridge Program: A model for broadening participation of underrepresented groups in the physical sciences through effective partnerships with minority-serving institutions. Journal of Geoscience Education 58(3):135–144.
Stevens, T., A. Olivarez, W.Y. Lan, and M.K. Tallent-Runnels. 2004. Role of mathematics self-efficacy and motivation in mathematics performance across ethnicity. Journal of Educational Research 97(4):208–221, https://doi.org/10.3200/JOER.97.4.208-222.
US Department of Education. 2013. 2011–12 National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS:12): Student Financial Aid Estimates for 2011–12, First Look. National Center for Education Statistics, NCES 2013-165, 75 pp., http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2013/2013165.pdf.
US Department of Energy. 2014. Minorities in Energy Strategic Plan, 2015–2018. US Department of Energy, Washington, DC, 20 pp., http://www.energy.gov/sites/prod/files/2014/11/f19/MIE Strategic Plan.pdf.
This is an open access article made available under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution, and reproduction in any medium or format as long as users cite the materials appropriately, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate the changes that were made to the original content. Images, animations, videos, or other third-party material used in articles are included in the Creative Commons license unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If the material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission directly from the license holder to reproduce the material.