It will be a week of firsts for the Texas high school students, who make up the inaugural GeoX class of 2011, sponsored by the College of Geosciences. It will be their first time in Aggieland and their first time to attend college classes, experiment in labs and participate in fieldwork.
"We want this week to be their first step to a successful college experience and a long and productive career in the geosciences," said Dr. Sonia Garcia, director of recruitment for the College of Geosciences.
The students, who were recruited largely from underrepresented districts, arrive at Texas A&M from schools ranging from Baytown, Bellville and Galveston to San Antonio, Laredo and Houston.
"Minorities and women are historically underrepresented in the geosciences," said Dr. Kate Miller, dean. "One of the college's goals is to ensure that our graduates not only contribute to the future workforce of Texas but also reflect its population and diversity."
In addition to being introduced to geology, geophysics, meteorology, geography, oceanography and environmental programs, the students will also take to the road. At the Navasota River, they will learn the characteristics of a meandering river and measure its velocity and discharge. They will visit the Eddie Gray Wetland Center in Baytown and sample wave currents in Galveston. In Houston, they will tour BP headquarters and learn about geoscience careers from industry executives.
When not on the road, students will stay in Aston Residence Hall and eat meals on campus and at popular Aggie dining spots around town.
"We want to give them the full Aggie treatment," Garcia said, adding that they will also have time at the recreation center, swimming pool and campus tours.
The last day's schedule is devoted to becoming an Aggie, Garcia says, with representatives from admissions, the honors program, financial aid, study abroad and Fish Camp to help them make the transition.
More than 20 professors and graduate students will be on hand to show the students the many facets of geosciences, from launching a weather balloon to visiting the Gulf Coast Repository at the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program. Geography professor Chris Houser will lead the academic program and be the faculty sponsor on the field trips.
GeoX is the newest component in Geosciences' pipeline program, an initiative that identifies promising students in junior high and high schools and mentors them throughout their academic career. "Many—if not most—are the first in their families to attend college," Garcia notes. "They often lack the resources, knowledge or even encouragement on how to navigate the higher educational process. We want to give them the opportunity to enter a top-rate university like Texas A&M and be successful."
GeoX is the weeklong version of iGeo, a weekend program in the fall that also introduces high school juniors and seniors to the college and to Texas A&M. "iGeo has become one of our most successful recruiting efforts," Garcia says, "so we decided to expand the program."
To fund the program, Garcia and Diane Barron, director of development, solicited funds from corporations and individuals. Donors are BP America, Houston; James Benham '01, president, JB Knowledge Technologies, Bryan; Timothy Bryan '72, CEO of Bank & Trust, Bryan; Chris Dailey '93, CEO of Dailey Electric, Bryan; Eddie V. Gray, president, Gray Enterprises, Baytown; and Guy Matthews, Guy Matthews and Associates, Houston.
June 2, 2011
For information, contact:
Director of Recruitment