Oceanography The Official Magazine of
The Oceanography Society
Volume 29 Issue 02

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Volume 29, No. 2
Pages 286 - 292


Summer Bridge Program Establishes Nascent Pipeline to Expand and Diversify Hawai‘i’s Undergraduate Geoscience En­rollment

By Barbara C. Bruno , Johanna L.K. Wren, Jessica Ayau , Sherril Leon Soon, Heidi Needham, Keolani Noa, Elisha M. Wood-Charlson, and C. Anela Choy  
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Article Abstract

Summer bridge programs can be an effective method of introducing potential science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) students to majors in geoscience (i.e., ocean, Earth, and environmental sciences) and of expanding and diversifying undergraduate enrollment. This paper focuses on a weeklong summer program offered by a minority-serving community college in partnership with a research university. To evaluate program efficacy, we developed a nine-question survey to measure familiarity with geoscience majors, perceptions about geoscience, self-efficacy, and desire to pursue geoscience majors and careers. Sixty-four students participated in the program over a three-year period. Approximately two-thirds of students are from groups that are underrepresented in STEM and approximately one-third is Native Hawaiian. Only a small number of these students expressed interest in geoscience majors prior to program participation, and many were not even aware that geoscience majors existed. By the end of the weeklong program, the students showed learning gains on all nine questions, and eight of these gains were statistically significant. To date, five summer bridge alumni (four Native Hawaiian) have declared geoscience majors, representing 31% of the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa’s Native Hawaiian geoscience enrollment. This suggests that partnering with a minority-serving community college may be an effective, time-efficient way of increasing minority enrollment in geoscience majors. 


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