A shortage of skilled graduates with science degrees in natural resources exists in the United States, creating a need for the next generation of natural resource scientists. To help meet this need, and to encourage more students of color to enter natural resources careers, University of New Mexico’s Northern New Mexico Climate Change Corps (CCC) is bridging community college students to a 4-year university to foster science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) degree completion and job placement of predominantly Hispanic and Native American students.
Dr. Brooke Ann Zanetell and colleagues at the Northern New Mexico CCC, based at the University of New Mexico branch in Taos, have designed, implemented and evaluated a suite of strategies intended to provide academic pathways from an associate’s degree to a bachelor’s degree in fields such as forestry, biology and geology.
Supported by NIFA’s Hispanic-Serving Institutes Education Grants Program, the team developed programmatic supports that work in tandem to build STEM pathways using a program model built on recruitment and retention, experiential learning, academic and career pathways, strategic partnerships and cultural connections. Critical elements to student success were identified, including internships, mentoring, research experiences, degree completion plans and peer support. Such data can inform other community colleges, universities, and employers to foster the next generation of natural resources scientists. Read more about this work published in the January edition of the Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences.