University Experiences of Marine Science Research and Outreach Beyond the Classroom
AuthorSims, Randi J.
Payton, Tokea G.
Prosser, Kathy L.
Childress, Michael J.
DepartmentAdvertising and Public Relations
Permanent link to this recordhttp://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12613/7300
MetadataShow full item record
AbstractClimate and ocean literacy are two of the most important challenges facing society today. However, many students lack exposure to these topics upon entering college. As a result, these students must rely on learning climate literacy and ocean conservation through experiences outside of those provided in the traditional undergraduate classroom. To fill this gap, we initiated a marine science professional development program to expose undergraduate students to ocean literacy principles and climate change concepts through marine ecology research and educational outreach. This study evaluates the effects of our undergraduate experiential learning for individuals involved in our research team, our educational outreach team, or both. Clemson University alumni that participated in our program were surveyed to determine educational and professional gains in three areas related to: (1) knowledge; (2) careers; and (3) attitudes. Multiple linear and logistic regressions were used to understand the relationships between gains and program type, mentor experience, and duration of program enrollment. In addition, we evaluated demographic covariates including age, ideology, and gender. Our study found that perceived knowledge of marine science and science communication skills increased with positive mentor experience. Alumni that rated their experience with their mentors highly also indicated that the program was important to their careers after graduation. Students who participated in any program for a prolonged period were more likely to indicate that marine science was important to their careers. These students were also more likely to continue their education. Additionally, we saw that a sense of belonging and identity in science, as well as the understanding of climate change threat on the marine environment, all increased with longer program involvement, more than the type of experience (research versus outreach). Overall, we found that both the research and outreach programs offered opportunities for advancements in knowledge, careers, and attitudes. These results provide evidence that experiential learning has the potential to increase student engagement and understanding of climate change and ocean literacy communication as well as a sense of belonging in science-oriented fields.
CitationSims, R. J., Tallapragada, M., Payton, T. G., Noonan, K., Prosser, K. L., & Childress, M. J. (2021). University experiences of marine science research and outreach beyond the classroom. Integrative and Comparative Biology, 61(3), 1078-1088. https://doi.org/10.1093/icb/icab104
Citation to related workOxford University Press
Has partIntegrative and Comparative Biology, Vol. 16, No. 3
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