From Space to Soils: Collaboration with the
i-STEM Mentoring Program
My UA/NASA Graduate Space Grant Fellowship focused on promoting space and soil science to Native American and Hispanic youth. I partnered with the UA i-STEM mentoring program, a NSF-funded initiative committed to mentoring and training underrepresented students for science-based careers.
I wrote the introductory content for the space and soil science curriculum sections, designed engaging activities, and organized a "Soil Dig" field trip for the mentees. The primary outcome of my fellowship was the "From Space to Soils" educational module that was integrated into the program's curriculum and made available to other STEM educators by electronic distribution.
Mentees created [and consumed!] edible soil models, painted with soil, and got their hands dirty during a soil texturing activity. Students rotated through "spatial" and "soil" stations during the 'Soil Dig' field trip. I assembled "soil analysis kits" that each student used during the field trip and was able to take home to continue soil exploration in his/her own backyard. Students also used satellite imagery to select sites to be photographed by a camera mounted on the International Space Station through the EarthKAM program.
As a result of the "Space and Soils" module, students acquired new science skills, gained a greater appreciation for science, and became more aware of opportunities available to them in the space and soil sciences.