Geoscience, also known as Earth Science, delves into the comprehensive understanding of Earth and its multifaceted elements. Geoscience encompasses exploring the mechanisms that mold the planet's surface, the utilization of natural resources, and the intricate interconnections between water and ecosystems. Geoscience integrates tools and methodologies from various scientific disciplines like chemistry, physics, biology, and mathematics. Scientists specialize in studying minerals, soils, energy sources, fossils, oceans, atmosphere, weather, environmental chemistry, biology, and natural disasters, and extend their expertise to examine rocks on celestial bodies within our solar system, including our moon and other planets.

Geoscience is one of the least diverse disciplines in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). This program will apply scientifically ratified best practices to Provide Educational Access to Research & Learning in Geosciences (PEARLS) for non-traditional geoscience majors, women, under-served, and underrepresented minorities (URM). The work will increase the awareness and access to the geosciences and will develop a diverse, globally competitive STEM workforce. The project will engage students in the geosciences through extracurricular experiences and training. The project provides a geoscience learning ecosystem with integrated experiences at the University of Maryland, College Park (UMD) to help undergraduate upperclassmen from non-traditional geoscience majors and master's degree-seeking students transition into geosciences and engage in geoscience studies. The experiences will help students matriculate more successfully in geoscience graduate programs and the geoscience workplace.



Testudo Pearls

TLPL288P: Special Programs in Education; Experiential Learning of Geoscience: An Agency and School Visit Experience 

Instructors: Akua Asa-Awuku, Candice Duncan, and Ebony Shockley 

Credits: 1-6

When: Fridays 11:00 am - 12:00 pm

Delivery: Online 


Learning Objectives

This project will create catalytic experiences for students to engage in interdisciplinary geoscience work. The learning design is composed of three critical objectives. The PIs will i) create a mentorship program that includes a life-long learning enrichment program culminating in nationally recognized certification and/or apprenticeship with academics, as well as with and the state and local governments. ii) design and test bridge programs to help post-undergraduate students from non-geoscience fields transition into geoscience graduate programs and iii) foster career-aligned collaborations between academia and the local private sector or state/local government sector that facilitate transitions between undergraduate/graduate programs and the geoscience workforce. The proposed learning ecosystem model offers three distinct pathways to enhance technical expertise and knowledge of non-traditional geoscience majors in virtual and in-person platforms. The technical knowledge and promotion of growth is supported by a vertically tiered mentor network.


Participating Agencies


Project Faculty

Dr. Candice Duncan

Dr. Candice Duncan

Dr. Candice Duncan is an Assistant Professor with the University of Maryland’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. She earned her Ph.D. in Environmental Science from the University of Arizona in 2014. Her main areas of geoscience research are Environmental/Soil Science and hydrology.  Dr. Duncan's work focuses on the transport and characterization of organic and inorganic contaminants in the subsurface. 

Dr. Ebony Terrell Shockley

Ebony Terrell Shockley

Dr. Ebony Terrell Shockley, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies and Educator Preparation and executive director of Teacher Education at the University of Maryland’s College of Education. She earned her Ph.D. in Minority and Urban Education from the University of Maryland College Park in 2012. Her main area of research is in the academic experiences of under-represented groups in STEM fields. Most of her work lies in seeking and investigating equitable experiences and outcomes in science communities for marginalized students.

Dr. Akua Asa-Awuku

Dr. Akua Asa-Awuku

Dr. Akua Asa-Awuku is a chemical engineering professor with the University of Maryland’s A. James Clark School of Engineering. Dr. Asa-Awuka earned her Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2008. Her main areas of geoscience research are in atmospheric chemistry and air quality.  A considerable focus of her work has investigated aerosol emissions from the combustion of biomass, gasoline, diesel and alternative fuels sources.