University of Vermont Climatologist Seeks to Expand Pipeline of Minority Students Pursuing Careers in Climate Science

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Success_Stories_UVM_Dupigny-GirouxHer mission is two-fold: diversify the future ranks of climate scientists and provide students with the tools and role models to help them see climate science as a viable career.

University of Vermont Associate Professor of Geography and Vermont State Climatologist Lesley-Ann Dupigny-Giroux is leading an effort to engage a more diverse and under-represented student population in the science of climatology and climate change. With a grant from the National Science Foundation funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), she will build a “Diversity Climate Network, or D-ClimNet, of students and faculty to enhance the climate science pipeline of minority students from high school to graduate levels.

D-ClimNet will increase opportunities for these under-represented groups and also help make the next-generation climate scientists so that it more closely resembles the society in which we live,” Dupigny-Giroux says.

The project represents a new national partnership between the University of Vermont (UVM), the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and the University of Georgia (UGA). It focuses on students from high school through graduate school. Students will be recruited from rural as well as urban areas of New York City, Los Angeles and Georgia. Earth Science students will be tracked from Grade 9 through graduate school to pinpoint the best practices for student recruitment and retention in the climate sciences. According to Dupigny-Giroux, many under-represented students do not view climate science as a viable career option.

In addition to receiving climate science academic content, participating students will interact with faculty and other students across the three campuses via electronic workshops and present their research at regional conferences. High school students will benefit from involvement in Climate Days on weekends and high school teachers will be able to participate in the principal investigators’ NSF-funded Satellites, Weather and Climate program, where they will gain climate content knowledge to enhance their curriculum.

Dupigny-Giroux also points out the important role the principal investigators will play in D-ClimNet. “Three of the four PIs are African-American mid-senior career scientists who will serve as mentors and role models for the dedication and persistence needed by students to complete their degree.” Learn more >>

Dupigny-Giroux’s NSF ARRA-funded grant is for $199,519.


* Photo courtesy UVM

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