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Michael Foster M.S. '07 publishes article in Fisheries

Fostering the Development of Conservation Leadership at Minority-Serving Institutions

Michael J. Foster, Chanda Bennett, Eleanor J. Sterling & Nora Bynum (2011)

Fisheries, 36:9, 461-463 Link to this article:


Between 1996 and 2006, non-white Hispanic, African American, and Native American/Alaska Native students (collectively called  “underrepresented students” [URS]) made up only 7% of students graduating with a conservation or conservation-related degree (National Science Foundation [NSF] 2008), despite the fact that in 2000 non-white Hispanics, African Americans, and Native Americans/Alaska Natives made up 27% of the U.S. population (U.S. Census Bureau 2002a, 2002b, 2002c). In comparison, the fields of  sociology, education, math, and computer and information sciences graduated more than twice as many URS for the period 1996–2006. White non-Hispanic students earned 90% of all  conservation-related degrees from 1996 to 2006 (NSF 2008). Although no longer a matter of legal concern, for URS the effects of educational discrimination are still felt at all educational levels. When URS begin school, many enter into the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics pipeline: a system of training that begins in primary school and ends with the graduated qualified working scientist (Hanson et al. 1996). For a variety of reasons, a high percentage of URS egress, or “leak,” from the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics pipeline (Anderson and Kim 2006) before completing their training. These reasons can include academic tracking (the specific process of separating students along specific curricular paths like college-bound or vocational training; Gilbert and Yerrick 2001), lack of academic preparedness, academic isolation, and social isolation. The capacity challenge in the conservation workforce thus can be attributed to a combination of historical, educational, social, and financial barriers that URS face in becoming professional conservation scientists (Aikenhead 1997; Nettles and Millett 1999; Burdman 2005).

Download: Foster et al, 2011.pdf

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This event was last updated on 09-13-2011