The University Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) has launched a new outreach initiative in partnership with the University of Texas at Austin. This new program, GeoFORCE Alaska, is designed to increase the number and diversity of students pursuing STEM degree programs and entering the future high-tech workforce. GeoFORCE students travel to spectacular geological locations in Alaska and the lower 48 to engage in hands-on field projects designed to bring textbook science to life. We strive to increase high school graduation and college matriculation rates, demystify the university experience, and create a large cohort of students interested in science.
Students are recruited in the 8th grade and then remain in the program for all four years of high school. They must maintain a B average or better in math and science classes to participate in GeoFORCE events, culminating in an exciting week-long field event each summer. Over the four-year period, they will travel throughout Alaska, Arizona, Oregon, and the Appalachians. All trips focus on Earth science and include a 100+ page guidebook, with tests every night culminating with a final exam.
The Texas program, with adjustments for differences in culture and environment, is being replicated in Alaska beginning with the first cohort of rising ninth graders during the summer of 2012. The summer of 2013 saw all 18 students from the first cohort return, plus 6 new students. GeoFORCE will be recruiting a cohort of current 8th and 9th graders to begin their GeoFORCE experience with the first year academy across Alaska during the summer of 2014.
GeoFORCE Alaska is forming partnerships with companies that will benefit not only from the community outreach aspects of the program, but potentially as employers of GeoFORCE students who ultimately graduate with applicable degrees. This follows the approach taken by the Texas program in which these partnerships have included not only funding, but participation by company personnel in summer field events, as mentors, and as providers of internships once the students reach college.
GeoFORCE Alaska 10th Grade Academy: June 22- June 29, 2013
Students travel to the Southwest US
"Barrow high school student Cynthia Kim knew it was called the Grand Canyon, but she didn't understand the landmark's immensity until she looked into it and couldn't see the end.
'That's why I love geology,' said Kim, who visited the Grand Canyon during a geologic field trip with GeoFORCE Alaska, an outreach program at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. 'I can learn different things everwhere. Geology brings you to all different places of the world and no where is the same.' " Read the full story about the 2013 10th grade academy.
Thank you to the 2013 GeoFORCE Alaska Sponsors:
GeoFORCE Alaska 9th Grade Academy (July 21 – 28, 2012)
"With geology professors from the University of Alaska Fairbanks and the University of Texas at Austin, the 16 students traveled 1,018 miles by bus to visit the Permafrost Tunnel in Fox, the Healy coal deposits, Denali National Park, Portage Glacier, Matanuska Glacier and the Denali Fault." Read the rest of the Fairbanks Daily Newsminer article »
The launch of the GeoFORCE Alaska program was also mentioned in a Fairbanks Daily Newsminer editorial. Read the article »
We would like to thank our 2012 Sponsors:
The University of Texas at Austin: Jackson School of Geosciences | Great Bear Petroleum LLC | Arctic Slope Regional Corporation | SolstenXP | Exxon Mobil | Shell | Denise Butler | Halliburton | Lynden Logistics