Institute for Broadening Participation: Building Partnerships to Support Diversity in STEM
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MSPHDS: Minorities Striving and Pursuing Higher Degrees of Success in Earth System Science
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MS PHD'S Overview


MS PHD'S was established with a goal of providing professional development experiences to facilitate the advancement of minorities committed to achieving outstanding Earth system science careers. In order to accomplish this goal, the MS PHDs initiative sponsors programs that provide minorities with:
  • increased exposure to Earth system science community, via participation in scientific conferences, mentoring relationships and virtual community activities
  • professional skills (e.g. grantsmanship, research, communication, teaching, etc.) development opportunities
  • information regarding future funding, education and career opportunities and resources
  • networking opportunities with established Earth system science researchers and educators
  • membership within a virtual community that facilitates networking with and collaboration among peers, junior- and senior-level researchers and educators

Student Opportunities:
  • Minority Undergraduate & Graduate Earth System Science & Engineering (ESSE) Majors
  • Mentored by professional scientists and engineers
  • Networking
  • Professional skills enrichment
  • Broad ESSE exposure
  • Discipline-specific ESSE exposure
  • ESSE field trips
  • Community building activities
  • Participation in two international professional society meetings
  • Membership in a virtual community of peers, near-peers, scientists and engineers

Mentor Opportunities:
  • Engage in on-going mentoring activities with highly talented minority students who are committed to achieving successful ESSE careers
  • Participate in brown bag discussions
  • Contribute to the professional and academic development of student participants
  • Engage in virtual community dialog and topical discussions

Map of participants
Map of participants
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Program Activities

The Professional Development Program engages one new cohort of students per year (approximately 30 minority undergraduate and graduate student participants per cohort) in a series of activities (conducted in three phases) designed to:
  • Increase exposure to the Earth system science community, via participation in scientific conferences, mentoring relationships, virtual activities, and fieldtrips
  • Enhance professional skills, grantmanship, oral and written communication
  • Provide resources regarding future funding, education and career opportunities
  • Facilitate networking opportunities with established researchers and educators
  • Provide on-going interaction, communication and support via membership within a virtual community comprised of peers, junior- and senior-level researchers, and educators committed to facilitating the full participation of minorities in Earth system science.

Phase I: Student participant and mentor partnership orientation, initial mentor-mentee partners' interactions, networking, professional development, broad Earth system science and engineering exposure and MS PHD'S community building activities will occur during Phase I. This phase will occur during the Fall American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco, CA.

Phase II: Participants will engage in additional Earth system science and engineering exposure, mentor-mentee interaction, networking and professional development activities at one of the MS PHD'S Organizational Partners' meetings (American Geophysical Union, American Meteorological Society, American Society of Limnology and Oceanography, National Association of Black Geologist and Geophysicists, Joint Oceanographic Institutions, Ocean Carbon and Biogeochemistry (OCB) program, On the Cutting Edge Professional Development for Geoscience Faculty program, and The Oceanography Society). Each participant will attend the meeting that most closely aligns with his or her specific academic and professional interests.

Phase III: The final phase includes 'capstone' activities, which will occur at the National Academies in Washington, D.C. During Phase III, participants will engage in a series of brownbag discussions, government agency visits, and dialogs with professional society and foundation representatives. In addition to these activities, each student participant will also receive a scholarship award of up to $1,000.00 and participate in a tour of the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center facilities.

Dream Team: Each year, from amongst past MS PHD'S participants, a small group of alumni are provided with additional student leadership and mentoring experiences as a result of becoming an MS PHD'S Dream Team member. Selected through a competitive application process, the Dream Team engages with the newest cohort by providing peer mentoring to new students and supporting staff and Program Mentors with programmatic activities. Click here for a full overview of Dream Team Roles and Responsibilities. Leadership experiences gained as MS PHD'S Dream Team members focus on the importance of understanding the process of transitioning from participant to leader, from mentee to mentor, and serve to further prepare MS PHD'S alumni for becoming future leaders in the Earth system science community.

At the conclusion of the MS PHD'S in Earth System Science Initiative's Professional Development Program, it is anticipated that the student participants will be better prepared to achieve their academic and professional goals. It is also expected that as a result of mentor-mentee partnerships, science exposure, and networking activities, these individuals will remain actively engaged in their fields of specialization and respective professional societies.

Classroom and Community Engagement and Mentoring Program (CCEMP)

The CCEMP was an outreach activity of the MS PHD'S Professional Development Program. It provided underrepresented minority 3rd through 7th graders and their Science Educators with increased exposure to Earth system science. Click here to read more about the CCEMP project.

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