Colorado mountains
From Long-Term Data to Understanding: Toward a Predictive Ecology
2015 LTER ASM Estes Park, CO - August 30 - September 2, 2015

Fostering a diverse LTER Network: Strategies for diversity planning and mentoring

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version

Poster Number: 
Presenter/Primary Author: 
Elizabeth Cook
Alan Berkowitz
Frank Day
Clarisse Hart
Teresa Mourad
Daniel Nidzgorski
Jorge Ramos
Elena Sparrow

The LTER Diversity Committee was formed in 2012 to focus on engagement, integration, and retention of a diverse community of students, scientists and educators in the LTER network.  The goal of the committee is to provide concrete and deliberate actions to foster diversity and inclusion at individual LTER sites and within the network as a whole.  Specifically, we focus on the importance of: 1) building mentoring systems, 2) developing formal diversity plans, and 3) addressing better and more concrete ways to achieve Broader Impacts with an eye specifically on the diversity of the people (students, educators, managers, policy makers, etc.) we engage and reach.  This poster showcases the committee’s activities since 2012, including a survey of 147 Research Experience for Undergraduate (REU) students at 10 LTER sites about their experiences with mentoring.  The survey results highlight the value of the summer program to student’s career paths and the importance of mentoring for students who identified as racial and ethnic minorities, first generation college students, religiously affiliated students, LGBTQ, and students with physical or learning disabilities.  We also share the results from a survey of LTER Education Representatives about interests and programs associated with diversity.  Currently, only 2 LTER sites—Georgia Coastal Ecosystem (GCE) and Virginia Coast Reserve (VCR)—have formal diversity plans.  Here, we highlight the rationale and importance, as well as challenges and barriers, to developing a site diversity plan.  Finally, we provide concrete steps in the process of developing site diversity plans, mentoring strategies, and additional resources for the inclusion and retention of diversity at each site and for broadening the diversity of the people we reach with our LTER research, education, outreach and engagement work.