Retention, Outreach, and Accessibility in Marine Science
Graduate students in the Department of Marine and Coastal Sciences (DMCS) are committed to engaging with the New Jersey community college system to establish long-term programming that excites, educates, and motivates students to pursue further education and careers in the marine sciences. We recognize that science taught in high school often fails to inspire students, despite the importance of fundamental disciplines like biology, chemistry, and physics. Scientific disciplines that receive less attention in traditional high school settings, such as environmental and marine science, can motivate a wider range of students, in part due to their applied nature and applicability to students’ everyday lives. In fact, many of us began our current paths in science after exposure to environmental science classes that opened our eyes to environmental problems in our hometowns. We aim to provide students with information and tools to investigate science beyond the fundamental classes with the hopes of increasing retention of students in the sciences.
Community college students come from a diverse range of backgrounds and life experiences, and are often focused on what transferable skills their education can provide them. We acknowledge that there is a misconception that pursuing a scientific degree at a university can only be used to pursue a career in academic science. Therefore, we will show that a degree in marine science provides a student with many practical, applied skills, including but not limited to data analysis, collaboration and teamwork, writing proficiency, and organization, that can prepare them for a variety of career paths. We aim to educate students on the many degree options and professional pathways in science, providing the Marine Science degree program at Rutgers University as an example to excite them with the unknowns of Earth, the ocean, and discovery, as well as the practical skills acquired through earning a science degree.