With the need to increase minority representation in science, specifically in polar science research, the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) developed an innovative field research experience entitled the International Polar Year- Research and Educational Opportunities in Antarctica for Minorities (IPY-ROAM). Supported by a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant, twenty-eight participants including undergraduate students, graduate students, teachers and university faculty completed a semester long online course and performed field research in Antarctica within the areas of aquatic ecology, terrestrial biology, physical science, ecotourism and education. The purpose of this article is to determine possible outcomes that individuals experienced through their participation in IPY-ROAM as related to their educational and career aspirations. Two outcome areas that are explored in this investigation are the participants’ self-reported career competencies, and their professional and academic goals. Results from this study indicated that participants perceived an increase in their career competencies due to participation in IPY-ROAM. In addition, participants also stated that the improvement of their career competencies motivated them to reach their professional and academic goals. This study provided an insight on the benefits, as perceived by students, of performing hands-on research in field-based settings. Data generated from this program may serve as a measurement tool to justify further investment in field research programs for students in both Antarctica and the Arctic, and to refine programs designed to enhance the career options for minorities in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields.
- science education,
- polar science,
- student research,
- global climate change
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/robertson/22/