Discussion: GeoSPACE


Geoscience field courses that explicitly recruit students from underserved identities have a critical responsibility to create inclusive communities in which to learn and connect. In this talk and discussion, Dr. Anita Marshall and Yesenia Arroyo will share approaches to building inclusive communities with examples from GeoSPACE, an accessible and inclusive planetary geoscience field course and mentoring program to increase the number of students with disabilities that continue in geosciences beyond undergraduate studies. The hybrid and accessible format of the field course provides a unique setting in which to explore how students who are traditionally excluded from field experiences build community and a sense of belonging, and what instructors can do to encourage those connections.

Dr. Anita Marshall

University of Florida, Gainesville | Lecturer, Department of Geological Sciences

Portrait of Anita outside

Dr. Anita Marshall is a geoscience education researcher with interests in disability inclusion, academic and social engagement in STEM, and the cultural aspects of the geosciences. She is a Lecturer in the Department of Geological Sciences at the University of Florida, Gainesville, and the Executive Director of the International Association for Geoscience Diversity (theIAGD.org), a non-profit with the mission to improve inclusion in the geoscience for people with disabilities. Dr. Marshall leads the GeoSPACE program – an inclusive field course for students with disabilities and other marginalized identities. Her work is informed by her experiences as a disabled geoscientist, a member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, and her own non-traditional academic path. Find Anita on Twitter @BakingSodaVolc. 

Yesenia Arroyo

GeoSPACE | Geologist and Program Manager

Portrait of Yesenia in front of beige wall

Yesenia Arroyo (they/she) is a geologist and program manager for GeoSPACE, a planetary geology and volcanology field course. Initially a college dropout, Yesenia returned to the University of Florida to complete a Bachelor’s degree in Geology in 2021 and hopes to pursue an advanced degree in science communication and planetary geology to study volcanism across the solar system. Yesenia’s nontraditional academic trajectory has allowed them to work in various places, like the Orlando Science Center and Kennedy Space Center. As a result, Yesenia is very vocal about their shortcomings, hoping to destigmatize the conversation around failure in academia and create space for those with similar nonlinear paths. As a science communicator, Yesenia believes science is for everyone; folks just need the right interpreter. They have developed programs and content for the Orlando Public Library, the Staten Island Museum, and Moment of Um, a science podcast. Find them on Twitter @_vividreams or online at senarroyo.com.

Below are some of the questions that were asked during this discussion.

Recording of Discussion

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