Unifying advocacy messaging in climate action non-profits through participatory science in Orange County

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The Center for Diverse Leadership in Science-Ocean Science Learning Ecosystem developed and implemented a pilot program matching undergraduate students with mentors with similar identities, providing hands-on research training and role models to help students see themselves in science fields.



As the climate changes, a better understanding of the forces that affect coastal habitats and communities will benefit all citizens, especially disadvantaged and underresourced communities. Ocean science must therefore include the experiences and insights of people from such communities. The Center for Diverse Leadership in Science-Ocean Science Learning Ecosystem (CDLS Oceans) aims to recruit and retain a diverse set of undergraduate students from historically marginalized communities in STEM fields, who will eventually enter the workforce fully prepared with scientific knowledge and skills. 

The funding supported a pilot program of two cohorts of early career fellows from two CDLS partner institutions, the University of California, Los Angeles, and East Los Angeles College. The fellows participated in paid field and laboratory-based research projects. The program is built around evidence-based strategies that have been shown to increase student engagement and retention. This included using as mentors graduate students with identities similar to the undergraduate fellows, who help students see that scientists can be people like themselves. The research projects focused on evaluating the biodiversity and biogeochemistry of ecosystems around Santa Monica Bay. 

Principal Investigators
profile photo of Richelle Tanner Richelle Tanner
Chapman University