Geoscience’s Lewis Awarded NSF Grant to Enhance STEM Diversity and Training

Posted on 8/22/2015 9:49:12 AM

Jon Lewis has been awarded a $182,000 National Science Foundation grant to enhance undergraduate STEM diversity and participation in geoscience training. Lewis will serve as the principal investigator (PI) along with co-PI Sharon Cooper from Ocean Leadership in Washington, D.C. in this one-year proof-of-concept project called STEMSEAS (STEM Student Experiences Aboard Ships).

Lewis and Cooper have partnered with Jon Alberts of the University National Oceanographic Laboratories System (UNOLS) to make use of unused berthing space on research ships to take undergraduates on short transits for immersive geoscience experiences at sea.  

The UNOLS fleet includes ships operated by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Oregon State University, and the University of Alaska at Fairbanks, among others. The project is aimed at (1) increasing the number and diversity of students pursuing degrees and careers in geosciences; (2) preparing students for all possible career trajectories in the geosciences; and, (3) contributing to the evidence base for effective student engagement, learning, and retention in STEM. 

This opportunity will be available for undergraduate students throughout the U.S. However, the PIs have arranged faculty to serve as “campus champions” at 10-plus institutions that will serve as fertile recruiting grounds initially. If successful in this pilot year, Lewis and Cooper intend to pursue longer-term support to have maximum impact for STEM students.  

Update: Dr. Jon Lewis was featured in a spotlight article about this grant on

Department of Geoscience