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### Recognition for Student Diversity Initiatives in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences

The Indiana University School of Science in Indianapolis’s Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences was recently selected as one of two partner institutions for the 2023 American Geophysical Union Bridge Program. This recognition highlights the excellence of its graduate program, particularly in supporting students from diverse backgrounds, making it the sole partner program in Indiana.

Established in 2019, the American Geophysical Union Bridge Program aims to enhance the representation of historically marginalized students in graduate geoscience education. By collaborating with departments nationwide, the program ensures the implementation of equitable advising and educational practices while offering direct professional assistance to individuals embarking on their graduate school journey.

Despite being one of the least diverse fields in STEM, geosciences have seen a shift towards inclusivity through initiatives like the AGU Bridge Program. Recent data from 2021 revealed that over 90% of master’s or doctoral geosciences graduates were white. Dr. Licht, the professor and chair of the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, emphasized the department’s deliberate efforts over the past 2 12 years to foster inclusivity, support, and equity within their graduate programs.

Regular biweekly meetings have enabled faculty members to gain insights into the challenges faced by students from historically marginalized communities. This awareness has empowered them to proactively address barriers to student success and cultivate a more inclusive learning environment for all students. The department’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion has been acknowledged by the American Geophysical Union, positioning them as a leading graduate program in the nation.

The AGU Bridge Program has forged partnerships with 51 geosciences departments across the U.S., offering students a complimentary, one-time application to graduate school that is accessible to all partner departments. Accepted students benefit from American Geophysical Union membership, mentoring programs, networking opportunities, and participation in various program events and resources.

Securing a collaboration with the American Geophysical Union through the Bridge Program signifies a significant achievement. Departments seeking participation must showcase a genuine dedication to equitable educational practices and robust support for graduate scholars from historically marginalized backgrounds.

The Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences’ inclusion in the Bridge Program not only acknowledges its commitment to equity and inclusion but also expands its influence in enhancing graduate education and advancing earth sciences research.

Dr. Licht expressed enthusiasm about the partnership, emphasizing its potential to attract exceptionally talented prospective graduate students from across the nation. Recognizing the value of diversity in fostering innovation, the department eagerly anticipates engaging with some of the brightest emerging scientific minds in the U.S.