Presentation #127.07 in the session Driving Towards a More Diverse Space Physics Research Community – Perspectives, Initiatives, Strategies, and Actions — Poster Session.
In this presentation, we describe the vision at the core of our efforts to broaden participation of underrepresented minoritized communities in space-related STEM disciplines and ultimately in the NASA Heliophysics workforce. Our activities reach K-12 through early-career scientists, and then facilitate opportunities for the scientific community to excite the public about our science. We have developed a program that centers diversity and inclusion within the identities, disciplines, and career levels of future Heliophysics scientists.
The program consists of a series of mentoring workshops that encompass both a theoretical and experiential approach to developing STEM identity and CGS-specific career interest among underrepresented minoritized students. This approach is based on research showing that sharing career path narratives, including overcoming barriers, is an effective way to engage with student communities. The workshops are designed for: (1) pre-service STEM educators to learn how to cultivate their K-12 students’ science identity in collaboration with CGS scientists and HU STEM undergraduates; and (2) STEM undergraduates to further develop their science identity by serving as collaborators with pre-service teachers and mentors to K-12 students. Conceptual framing for programmatic design is informed by Phase 1 piloted efforts that include interviews around preservice educators’ initial knowledge gains around CGS, and follow-up reflections submitted by educators when student activities were used in the classroom or in informal settings. Other outcomes of the workshops and subsequent student activities consist of infographics tailored for reaching diverse audiences, career videos that promote science identities, and designing student engagement activities that highlight solutions to CGS problems that have societal impacts and community implications. Future directions include furthering three goals: (1) Engaging a diverse group of pre-service K-12 educators and STEM students with Heliophysics concepts; (2) Exciting the broader public’s interest by disseminating this knowledge through formal and informal education settings; (3) Developing the space weather science identity of underrepresented minoritized STEM undergraduate students.