DIVERSITY & INCLUSION
LUMCON believes there should be NO BARRIERS to anyone being successful in marine science. Every person needs to have access to opportunities so they better understand Louisiana’s coastal and marine environments. Only with this access can today’s learner become tomorrow’s leader.
Increasing participation of underrepresented minorities in STEM activities is one of LUMCON’s core values, “enabling the next generation of marine scientists and ocean-literate citizens by providing meaningful and relevant place- and skill-based experiences for Louisiana’s diverse citizenry, including those populations underrepresented and underserved in marine science.” LUMCON dedication to diversity and inclusion is exemplified by collaborations that create opportunities to make marine science more diverse. Only by including more diverse representation in marine science can we truly begin to collaborate, communicate, and solve the environmental problems that face the Louisiana and the world.
Below are the descriptions of LUMCON’s current D&I efforts.
- K-12 Field Trip Programs Funded by Community Organizations – LUMCON remains committed to building relationships with organizations to fund student field trips when teachers or schools lack these relationships. These funds eliminate the financial and distance barrier for students regionally. Currently over 800 low-income students have benefitted from these relationships. Below are the organizations that have funded field trips to the Marine Center.
- Bayou Community Foundation
- South Louisiana Bank
- Summer Camp Programs – LUMCON strives to provide high quality and in-depth marine science camps for students in middle and high school. Using external and grant funding LUMCON has managed to keep its camps the most affordable marine science camp experiences in the nation increasing accessibility to lower socioeconomic groups. LUMCON has built relationships with organizations to offer camp at no cost to the students that have financial barriers to attending.
- 3-D Print Lab – A grant from VWR allowed LUMCON to purchase and support a 3-D printer lab. This lab became the first student/educator publically available 3-D print lab in the region. Having a lab that students (and educators) can use to design and print 3-D components for an experimental set-up will give them greater flexibility in the scientific questions they ask. This has given access to costly high-end technology to students and schools without these resources.
- Minority Student Internship Programs for High School Students – This program was developed to further mentor students that show a dedication and passion for STEM fields. Students who participate develop leadership and educating skills, receive mentorship, and learn more about possible career paths in a professional working marine lab setting.
- DLVC Renovation – This endeavor will ultimately increase LUMCON’s impact on students throughout Louisiana. Instead of relying solely on in-person visits to Marine Center, LUMCON will be able to deliver high quality marine science content remotely. The largest vision of this space is to provide students at both K-12 and university levels digital connection to LUMCON’s location, education, and science when direct access cannot occur.
- Work Study Program with Nicholls – This program places students with an interest in STEM careers that qualify for work study in a professional setting that can serve to build scientific knowledge, lab/field skills sets, provide work experience, and help them develop into professionals.
- REU Program in Interdisciplinary Research Experiences in Changing Coastal Environments -The REU program is designed to give students a meaningful, hands-on research experience that takes advantage of state-of-the-art methods and technologies available at LUMCON. Students from underrepresented groups are encouraged to apply through promotion and advertising efforts.
- University Scholarships to Enhance/Offer Research Experiences – When a student from an underrepresented group demonstrates a clear passion for marine science LUMCON has a pool of funding to support research experiences for them. Our relationship with consortium member faculty and institutions allows students who are in need of these opportunities to be better identified.
- University Scholarships to Eliminate Course Costs to LUMCON Courses – The cost of LUMCON summer courses are often a financial barrier to many Louisiana students. These funds allow students to attend at a greatly reduced cost or no cost.
- GEOPaths program with Xavier University – This partnership will prepare students for the workforces with hands-on experiences that utilize field studies, using local environment and data and/or other real-world examples by utilizing authentic research in both the academic year and in the summer with the goal of retaining women and underrepresented groups in STEM degree programs.
- Marine Club Chapters – This program provides undergraduate students (especially in community colleges) with an opportunity to engage with and gain access to LUMCON resources on their own campuses. Club Chapters will develop and participate in their own service project that has a real and significant impact on their local communities.
- HMSI’s MOUs and Internship Opportunities -Working with our HMSI’s to provide access to real-world research experiences is perimount to the retention of underrepresented students in STEM pathways and careers. These partnerships establish relationships that allow LUMCON to make marine science welcoming and inclusive to more groups.
- Public Event Initiatives (Meet the Fleet shuttle service) – LUMCON strives to make sure people have access to all programs including the ones we do away from the Marine Center. By offering shuttle services to events can help provide transportation for the families that don’t have reliable transportation.
- “Education Underway” with the Bayou Community Foundation and BTNEP – This public event was developed with the goal of reaching the bayou community in southern Terrebonne Parish. Often distance or access to the marine center is a barrier for these communities. This program will bring reliable environmental education to these communities and showcase LUMCON boat-based research efforts.
- MOU with the Intertribal Council of Louisiana – The relationship established with this MOU allows LUMCON to better serve our native american community by offering spaces in K-12 education programs, undergraduate student retirement, and assistance with recruitment of job applicants within the community.
- Marine Technology Partnerships with Local Tribal Communities – These are efforts to develop or enhance STEM workforce training within local tribal communities. The end product would be to provide environmental monitoring in sites that are culturally significant and provide the training to maintain stations and collect data. Further efforts could include providing training to better understand collected data and how to communicate what those data mean.
- OCEANDOTCOMM partnership with Point-aux-Chene Tribe – This partnership allowed the culture and cultural importance, challenges, needs, and resilience of a coastal Louisiana native american community to be highlighted in a new kind of narrative by working with science communication experts.
- OCEANDOTCOMM Pipeline Program – This effort places students in career development positions to create a pipeline for those that are interested in science communication. Students that participate in this effort will learn science communication skills and logistics management from the leading names in online science communication.