Source: NEW MEXICO HIGHLANDS UNIVERSITY submitted to
NMHU/LCC SCIENCE AND AGRICULTURE SUMMER EXPERIENCE (SASE) PROJECT
Sponsoring Institution
National Institute of Food and Agriculture
Project Status
TERMINATED
Funding Source
Reporting Frequency
Annual
Accession No.
0207120
Grant No.
2006-38422-17110
Project No.
NME-2006-03478
Proposal No.
2006-03478
Multistate No.
(N/A)
Program Code
NJ
Project Start Date
Jul 15, 2006
Project End Date
Jul 14, 2011
Grant Year
2006
Project Director
Martinez, E. A.
Recipient Organization
NEW MEXICO HIGHLANDS UNIVERSITY
BOX 9000
LAS VEGAS,NM 87701
Performing Department
NATURAL SCIENCES
Non Technical Summary
SASE high school classroom presentations motivate students (900 per year) to pursue agricultural science careers. A summer institute for 52 students will offer hands-on experiences in agricultural sciences. Collaboration with local USDA NRCS and USFS offices exposes students to agricultural professions. USDA/CSREES Priorities addressed: 1) Attract students from underrepresented groups, and 2) Facilitate cooperation between HSIs.
Animal Health Component
100%
Research Effort Categories
Basic
(N/A)
Applied
100%
Developmental
(N/A)
Classification

Knowledge Area (KA)Subject of Investigation (SOI)Field of Science (FOS)Percent
90360993020100%
Goals / Objectives
The New Mexico Highlands University Science and Agriculture Summer Experience (SASE) focuses on real world learning experiences related to the agricultural sciences in the fields of water quality and soil science. The objectives of the project are to: (1) Develop a formal partnership between New Mexico Highlands University and Luna Community College for recruitment and retention of underrepresented students in agricultural sciences with an outreach emphasis to high schools in northeastern New Mexico. (2) Create a summer institute for 52 incoming freshman and Luna transfer students. (3) Select one student for a full scholarship toward a degree in an agriculturally related field. Measurable outcomes will include: 1. This action will be considered a success if NMHU enrollment of Hispanic students designating agriculturally related sciences as a major or minor increases by 15 students in year 1; 25 students in year two; and 30 students in year three. 2. Nurture at least 50% of all participating students to continue college enrollment throughout all three years of the project. Project SASE will roughly reach over 900 students per year either through presentations at area high schools and/participation in a summer institute. Most of these students will be from groups underrepresented in science professions. To ensure participation of underrepresented students in this project, high schools in northeastern NM will be visited and recruited and a total of 52 students will be selected to participate in the SASE. From which one student will be offered a full scholarship to earn a degree in forestry at NMHU. Consequences of this grant will be: 1) Improving representation of Hispanic professionals in agricultural sciences; 2) Improving educational attainment for low-income, Hispanic students; and 3) Improving the number and quality of Hispanic students pursing degrees in agricultural sciences.
Project Methods
The initial phase of the SASE project is to visit high schools in northeastern New Mexico to present information on the importance of the agricultural sciences and allow students to become familiar with specific opportunities within the agricultural sciences. During High School visits, applications will be disseminated to potential participants in the Summer Institute program. This will be followed by the selection of 26 students per summer (two summers) to participate in the institute. At the institute students will participate in inquiry-based instructional activities that are consistent with those that have been found to increase interest in science as well as learning outcomes for diverse student populations. These activities include a greater emphasis on teams of students working together to address environmental problems that are currently at the forefront of the concerns of the agricultural sciences. Students will also be trained in using field and laboratory equipment currently being used by agricultural science agencies such as NRCS and the USFS. A number of evaluation techniques will be used to assess student performance, in addition to having the project evaluated by an independent evaluator. Twice yearly internal evaluations will be completed in addition to compliance with all grant reporting requirements. An in-house evaluation will take place at the end of each SASE institute. Participating students will be asked to fill out an evaluation form containing questions about their experience as participants and the success of the Activity Modules. Student responses will be used to modify and improve the student's experiences in future SASE institutes. Finally, at the end of the first summer institute one student-participant will be selected to receive a full scholarship toward a degree in an agriculturally related field (e.g. forestry).

Progress 07/15/06 to 07/14/11

Outputs
OUTPUTS: The goal of the SASE project is to introduce Northern New Mexico high school students to opportunities in agriculture science. Presentations to area high school and Luna CC dual- credit students, and an annual Summer Institute at NMHU were the primary strategies used. A total of 65 (86%) Hispanic students participated in the SASE program. The recruitment method for the 2010 SASE Institute was a presentation to over 1200 Sophomore, Junior, and Senior students in 17 high schools and to 250 students annually at the annual MESA (Mathematics, Science, Engineering, Achievement) College Day at NMHU. A Power Point and discussion engaged the audience. Of those 1200 students, over 900 filled out evaluations indicating interest. Materials were made available to students at the NMHU/Luna CC College Night. In addition, brochures; institutional websites; involvement of teachers, professors, and former participants; and other publicity avenues were used to describe the project to the public. Mailings publicizing SASE were sent to all New Mexico high schools. Collaboration between the program staff and the public school science teachers and counselors has grown over the last several years. School counselors were often the deciding factor for a student's application to the program. The two-week SASE Institute was held every June between 2007 and 2010. Students were housed in dorms at NMHU with two advisors acting as chaperones. Five different academic topics were presented and all emphasized critical thinking and analytical skills. According to the instructors for each Institute, the modules melded together well. Through the modules students were introduced to concepts that developed communication skills, critical and reflective, use of technology, and improved their science knowledge and skills. Institute modules focused on experiential learning activities that took place in the field (70%) and the lab (30%). In addition day-long field trips were incorporated to national monuments, parks and preserves and supported lecture and lab segments of the curriculum. In partnership with the NM State Forest Service, US Forest Service, and the US Dept. Fish and Game participants were informed about USDA and other NRM career opportunities. On the final day, participants gave presentations of their work. Throughout the four year project five different NMHU faculty participated as the SASE instructors. All advisors participated in an orientation workshop preceding the Institute. Two upper-level NMHU students per year acted as student advisors. To facilitate tracking attendees, sign-up sheets and interest surveys collected information at the presentations. Follow-up included mailings with information about NMHU and fields in agricultural sciences. The SASE 2010 program was a great success. Presentation to over 1200 high school students about STEM disciplines and careers in science. PARTICIPANTS: Students Funded: Stipends: 76 students Faculty Hours Funded: Director: 2080--hours (1) Instructors: 960--hours (8) Total Faculty Hours: 3040-- hours Advisors 1952--hours (8) Classified (Secretary) 1200--- hours (1) Undergraduate students (assistants) 640---hours (8) TARGET AUDIENCES: Highschool students PROJECT MODIFICATIONS: Nothing significant to report during this reporting period.

Impacts
91% of the returned attendee surveys indicated interest in the SASE Institute and/or in agriculture sciences;Exposure of 76 students to career opportunities in the US Forest Service and other USDA Services;One-on-one consultation between those students and the NMHU financial aid office;One-on-one advising between participants and NMHU-Sciences faculty;Immersion of 76 high school students in facets of agricultural sciences;Satisfactory orientation and training for two advisors and two student assistants,A curriculum and agenda that created a smooth teaching environment; Exposure to college life. Of the 76 participants 44 participants graduated from high school by May 2010;38 (86%) enrolled in college;24 (63%) enrolled at NMHU; 86% Hispanic; 54% female; and 46% male.Pre-Post tests of subject material: Average scores for the four years of the institute were: Pretest 22%, posttest 51%.On a scale of "Strongly Agree" to "Strongly Disagree", with percentages of "Agree" and "Strongly Agree" noted. Findings on success of the institute from pre- and post- tests indicate:I feel very comfortable conducting field-science activities Pre 76%, Post 95%; I feel very comfortable conducting laboratory-science activities Pre 67%,Post 100%;I am very interested in pursuing a career in Science Pre 57%, Post 82%;My overall impression of science being easy Pre 0% Agree,Post 32%; My overall impression of science being exciting Pre 0%, Post 100%;On a scale of "Excellent" to "Poor" the following ratings were:100% (E,VG) for the hands on lab experiences, 100% (E,VG) satisfaction for the field trips, 100% (E,VG) rating for instructors, 93% (E,VG) satisfaction for the overall experience. These findings indicate the strong positive impact of the program on the educational goals of the participants. The 2007 scholarship recipient successfully completed his fourth year as a forestry major at NMHU with a 3.0 GPA. He is scheduled to graduate with an A.S. degree in Fire Science from Luna Community College and a B.S. degree in Forestry Management from NMHU in May 2012. Thirty eight of the 44 former SASE (2007-2010) participants who have completed high school are attending college (86%). Review of student comments indicates the significant influence SASE had on their college decision. Parents acknowledge personal growth and increased maturity of their students resulting from two weeks exposure to organized field and laboratory work in a college setting. A second impact is that SASE brings greater recognition to NMHU. SASE participants will advocate the institution, its resources and its accessibility to families and friends, increasing student enrollment in the sciences. A third impact is that of the SASE program on the institution. As the SASE project has become known across campus, faculty and administration have been encouraged to combine recruitment efforts. Thus the relationship among the programs of the institution has grown and strengthened, providing more educational opportunities to the upcoming generation. All the above assures a better educated, technologically able workforce for the region.

Publications

  • One article in press in a professional journal at this time, and the abstracts of SASE presentations at the North America Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture (NACTA) Conferences were published in the NACTA Conference Proceedings: Martinez, E.A., J. Lindline, M.S. Petronis, M. Pilotti. 2011 Effectiveness of a Science Agricultural Summer Experience (SASE) in Recruiting Students to Natural Resources Management. In Press, Journal of Science Education and Technology.
  • Martinez, E.A., J. Lindline, M.S. Petronis. Effectiveness of a Science Agricultural Summer Experience (SASE) in Recruiting Students to Natural Resources Management. NACTA 2011 Conference, University of Alberta Edmonton, AB, Canada June 14th-17th. NACTA Journal 55, Supplement 1.
  • Lindline, J., E. Martinez, M. Meyer, and M. Petronis, M: 2009. Effectiveness of a Science Agricultural Summer Experience in Attracting Rural New Mexican Students to the Geosciences. Presentation at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America, Portland, OR, Geological Society of America Abstracts with Program vol. 41, no. 7, p. 91.
  • Lindline, J., Martinez, E., Meyer, M. and Petronis, M: 2010. Effectiveness of a Science Agricultural Summer Experience in Attracting Rural New Mexican Students to Natural Resources Management Tracks, Presentation at the annual meeting of the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture, State College, PA, Abstract No. 0244. There have been publications in other venues.


Progress 07/15/08 to 07/14/09

Outputs
The goal of the SASE project is to introduce Northern New Mexico high school students to opportunities in agriculture science. Methods used are presentations to area high school and LCC students and a Summer Institute at NMHU that immerses participants in hands-on exposure to the topic. The recruitment method for the 2009 SASE Institute was a presentation to over 550 Junior/Senior students in 15 high schools and at the annual MESA College Day at NMHU. A presentation and discussion heightened interest. Also brochures; institutional websites; involvement of teachers, professors, and former participants; and other publicity avenues were used to describe the project to the public. Mailings publicizing SASE were sent to all New Mexico high schools. Collaboration between program staff and the public school science teachers and counselors has greatly improved over the last two years. School counselors were often the deciding factor for a student's application to the program. The two-week SASE Institute was held June 1-13. Twenty students were housed in dorms at NMHU with two advisors acting as chaperones. The water conservation curriculum exposed students to basics of water science and the importance of water studies. Students learned about the relationship between agricultural activities and aquatic systems. Students gained a theoretical foundation in water science and applied experience in understanding the dependence of agricultural activities within a watershed. Several field trips to the Gallinas River watershed gave the participants on-site exposure to the highlighted concepts. The second one-week module gave students an introduction to GIS/GPS. Participants received a short review of the mathematics necessary for basic cartography; the concept of data collection via GPS; data processing and application. They mapped points of the designated sites, evaluated the data and developed several types of maps: magnetic, relief, and topographic. Guest speakers from US Forest Service and NRCS informed participants about career opportunities with USDA. On the final day, participants gave presentations of their work. Modules were presented to the SASE participants by two instructors of the NMHU Natural Resources Management Department. SASE advisor positions were filled adhering to EEOC requirements as mandated by the NMHU DHR. The advisors participated in an NMHU orientation and met with the project director preceding the Institute. Two grad students (from NMHU and UTEP) volunteered their time to the summer program. Tracking of SASE participants and students that attended the presentations but did not participate in SASE is managed through a database designed to maintain all longitudinal information. A sign-up sheet and an interest survey collected information at the presentations. Follow-up included phone calls and mailings with information about NMHU and fields in ag. sciences. The SASE 2009 program was a great success. Participants gave positive evaluations of all activities and the pre-post tests were positive. The three senior participants are enrolled at NMHU this fall, majoring in forestry. PRODUCTS: Several products have resulted from the SASE project including: (1)a well-designed brochure highlighting the advantages of the SASE summer institute and agricultural sciences in general; (2)a well-designed informational SASE WEB site; (3)the two-week SASE Institute; (4)receipt of a $250.00 stipend by each participant; (5)a professional quality PowerPoint presentation that could easily be adapted to fit other similar programs; (6)a complete curriculum for the two week institute, suitable for introducing high school and college freshmen to soil and water conservation topics in the many aspects of agriculture sciences, both prepared and presented at the first (2007) SASE summer institute and; (7)a curriculum in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) developed in 2008. The water and GPS/GIS modules were used in summer 2009. Stipends of $250 were awarded to each participant of the SASE Institute during the closing ceremonies. These participants were expected to maintain a portfolio (notebook) containing resources and skills and to participate in a presentation of the projects accomplishments on the last day of the Institute. The audience included Institute faculty, NMHU faculty, parents, and interested guests. A system of tracking attendees of the presentations following their entry into college is in place. A state-wide tracking program has been implemented so that college attendance and majors can be followed from high school graduation through all state colleges and universities. This now allows the evaluation of the long-term influence of the SASE project. In the spring of 2008 and 2009, the PD gave his recruitment/college information presentation to the senior classes of fifteen rural high schools in Northern New Mexico. He encouraged the students to apply for the SASE Summer Institute, and talked about the interesting, well-paying careers available in agricultural sciences. But he also stressed the importance of the students' earning college degrees. He detailed New Mexico's legislative mandate to provide free college tuition for all NM graduating seniors, and explained how to apply for that grant. The number of graduating 2008 seniors that enrolled in college the following fall was calculated for each school addressed: it was found that the graduates from the six most isolated rural schools had a remarkable average of 73% college enrollment. This is in comparison to the overall state-wide percentage of 24%. At this time, the 2009 percentage seems likely to be equivalent. As noted above, the state of New Mexico is developing and implementing a state-wide tracking system. The SASE PD hopes this capability will be refined to the point that, by the end of the project he can further research the state and area high school graduation/college enrollment comparison data in more detail. If so, he will then give an account of his findings in the SASE final report. OUTCOMES: The outcomes of the 2009 SASE project include: (1)the introduction of professions and careers available in the field of agriculture sciences through presentations at fifteen area high schools and a MESA college day assembly. Eighty-three percent of the returned attendee surveys indicated interest in the SASE Institute and/or in agriculture sciences; (2)exposure of twenty students to career opportunities in the US Forest Service and the Natural Resource Conservation Service; (3)one-on-one consultation between those students and the NMHU financial aid office; (4)one-on-one consultation between participants and NMHU-Sciences faculty; (5)immersion of twenty high school students in facets of agricultural sciences through the two-week SASE summer institute; (6)satisfactory orientation and training for two advisors and; (7)a curriculum and agenda that created a smooth teaching environment. Eighty-five percent of the student body (20 participants) was of underrepresented minorities, 15% Caucasian; 45% was female; and 55% was male. Three were high school seniors, 9 rising seniors, 6 rising juniors and 2 rising sophomores. Ten area high schools were represented. The following were scored on a scale of "Strongly Agree" to "Strongly Disagree", with percentages of "Agree" and "Strongly Agree" noted. Findings on success of the institute from pre- and post- tests indicate: 20% increase of science knowledge; 26% to 46% 10% increase in the comfort level with science; 80% to 90% 35% increase in the impression that science is exciting ; 55% to 80% 30% jump in interest to pursue a career in science; 35% to 65%. 95% approval rating for instructors, with many positive comments. On a scale of "Excellent" to "Poor"(E, VG, G, F, P), the following ratings were: 85% (E,VG,G) approval for the hands on lab experiences portion of the classes 100% (E,VG,G) satisfaction for the field trips, particularly the one to the Pritzlaff Ranch. 80% (E,VG,G,F) satisfaction with residential facilities. Frequent comments referred to requests for more free time 95% (E,VG) satisfaction for the overall experience in SASE. Examples of comments: "I liked everything about the program. It was a great experience"; "It showed me how fun science really is"; and "Now I am thinking of college." These findings indicate the strong positive impact of the program on the educational goals of the participants. The 2007 scholarship recipient successfully completed his second year at NMHU with a 2.7GPA. After spending the summer as an intern with the Oregon U.S. Forestry Service, he has changed his major from forensic science to forestry. He assisted with the 2009 SASE recruiting efforts. He meets with the PD weekly to discuss course progress. The PD, assisted by the NMHU Research Office, tracked the 2007 -2009 SASE participants. Out of 59 scholars over three years, 29 have graduated from high school; of those, 24 (83%) are in college -17 at NMHU. Three grants; from the US Department of Education, USDA, and NSF; have provided facilities that enhance the continuing nurturing of the SASE students that choose to attend NMHU with added tutorial, advising/counseling, and scholarship opportunities. DISSEMINATION ACTIVITIES: The SASE web page, linked to the NMHU web site, was updated with current pictures and activity results. The page details the goals and objectives of the project, provides application forms, and offers links to access additional information. The local Las Vegas, New Mexico newspaper has had 4 articles advertising the SASE project. The NMHU publicity staff has provided access to these articles in the home-town newspapers of all the summer participants. The local radio station announced the program on it daily Public Service Announcements (PSA) for a week. Four SASE 2007 and SASE 2008 participants, now attending NMHU, were accompanied by the PI to the Society of Hispanic Professionals and Engineers Conference in Phoenix, AZ in October, 2008.The SASE scholarship recipient attended the HSI Student Leadership Development Program in Washington DC January 21-24, 2008 and did a poster presentation. He also presented his poster at the Annual Faculty and Student Research Day at NMHU in April 2008. Dr. Martinez, the Project Director, presented to the NACTA/SERD conferences in DC in 2007 and at UTSU at Logan, Utah, in 2008. He presented the program to the 2007 and 2008 MESA meetings on the NMHU campus. The Project director attended a National Science Foundation (NFS)-Quality Education for Minorities Workshop in October 2007 and used the project as a basis of discussion in a brainstorming session to develop an education-research project based on the SASE Project. Jennifer Lindline, one of the Natural Resource Management professors who taught for the SASE program, submitted, and was accepted to present Effectiveness of a Science Agricultural Summer Experience in Attracting Rural New Mexican Student to the Geosciences, to the 2009 Portland GSA Annual Meeting October 18, 2009. FUTURE INITIATIVES: The senior personnel of the SASE are continuing to search for ways and means to continue or expand the project when the USDA funding is over. It is hoped they might apply for a second round of funding from the Department of Agriculture/CSREES. They are discussing ways to enhance and broaden the program which would also make an application more fundable in the eyes of CSREES. Additionally, they are planning on finding and pursuing other grant opportunities. Three sources that will be approached for funds to replicate and enhance the summer program are: the Mathematics, Science, Engineering Improvement Program (MSEIP) initiative of the Department of Education; and the Advanced Technological Education (ATE), and Elementary, Secondary, and Informal Education (ESIE) initiatives of the National Science Foundation. Several other Department of Education and National Science Foundation competitions are being considered. The PD met with the Ben Lujan Leadership and public Policy Institute and discussed several options to continue SASE after USDA funding is over. One of those options is to approach the New Mexico legislature for partial state funding. The Los Alamos Foundation has been approached and is now interested in partially funding future SASE programs. The PD is in the early stages of collaboration with Faculty from the University of Puerto Rico in consideration of a partnership to expand a similar program at UPR and at NMHU. Two NSF grants were awarded in 2009 to the NMHU Department of Natural Resource Management that have allowed Dr. Martinez to purchase several pieces of lab equipment. These will serve two purposes: one, the equipment will enhance the summer institute by allowing additional, unique experiments to be added to the soils and water modules; and two, the equipment will enhance the forestry and biology curricula, thus making the science options more interesting to the prospective majors. The SASE principals also look to their institutions for further funding. The administration of NMHU and LCC are supportive of the SASE project. It is likely NMHU will allow the Summer Institute to house students in the dormitories at little or no cost after the granting period. Local business and industry will be approached to contribute funds and technology. These could provide further incentives for participants in the form of awards and/or scholarships. Due to budget efficiencies there are sufficient funds for a fourth summer institute. The NMHU administration has assured the PD of continued release time for that fourth year to support his administrative duties. With that in mind, Dr. Martinez has requested, and received approval from USDA/CSREES for a non-funded extension of the project through the summer of 2010. Dr. Martinez is considering encouraging freshmen and sophomore students to apply for the summer program. He has found seniors and juniors usually have determined, through high school courses taken, their ultimate college majors. Rising sophomores and juniors would have more opportunity to prepare for college-level math and science courses and thus improve the likelihood of their committing to science fields in college.

Impacts
Northern New Mexico is a sparsely settled, rural area. The majority of residents are Hispanic whose forefathers settled the land they now farm and methods used have changed little; technology and higher education are unfamiliar to many. A key impact of the SASE program is the awareness brought to the younger generation about technology, and benefits offered through higher education, and career opportunities in agricultural sciences. An initial result is that 24 of the 29 former SASE (2007-2009) participants who have completed high school are attending college. At this time it is impossible to evaluate the final impact of SASE because of participants' age, but review of summer program comments indicates the significant influence SASE had on those students' decision to go to college. A second impact is that SASE brings greater recognition to NMHU and LCC through the recruitment efforts at the high schools. SASE participants will advocate the post secondary institutions, their resources and their accessibility to families and friends. This will increase student enrollment in the sciences and across the campuses. A third impact is that of the SASE program on the institutions. As the SASE project becomes known across campus, faculty and administration are encouraged to combine recruitment efforts at area schools. Thus the relationship among the various levels of institutions will grow and strengthen, providing more educational opportunities to the upcoming generation. All the above will assure a better educated, technologically able workforce for the region.

Publications

  • No publications reported this period


Progress 07/15/07 to 07/14/08

Outputs
The goal of the SASE project is to introduce Northern New Mexico high school and community college transfer students to opportunities in agriculture science. Methods used are presentations to area high schools and LCC students, and a Summer Institute at NMHU that immerses participants in hands-on exposure to the topic. The recruitment method for the 2008 SASE Institute was a presentation to over 550 Junior/Senior students in 15 high schools (a 50% increase over 2007). A narrated Power Point and discussion heightened interest. Also brochures; institutional websites; involvement of teachers, professors, and former participants; and other publicity avenues were used to describe the project to the public. The collaboration between the program staff and the public school science teachers and counselors was greatly improved over last year. School counselors were often the deciding factor for a student's application to the program. The two-week SASE Institute was held June 2-14. Twenty students were housed in dorms at NMHU with two advisors acting as chaperones. The one-week soil science module exposed SASE participants to basics of soil science and the importance soil studies has in understanding the composition and functions of an ecosystem. Students gained a theoretical foundation in soil science and applied experience in the collection, characterization, and chemical analysis of soils. The second one-week module gave the students an introduction to GPS/GIS. The participants received a short review of the mathematics necessary for basic cartography; the concept of data collection via GPS; data processing and application. They mapped points of the designated sites, evaluated the data and developed several types of maps: magnetic, relief, and topographic. Guest speakers from US Forest Service and NRCS informed participants about career opportunities with USDA. On the final day, participants gave presentations of their work. After evaluating the syllabus and materials that were to be presented to the participants, the NMHU academic board agreed to allow the participants four hours elective college credit - two lecture, two lab - for the summer institute. Tuition was waived. Modules were presented to the SASE participants by two faculty members of the NMHU Natural Sciences Department. SASE advisor positions were filled adhering to EEOC requirements as mandated by the NMHU Department of Human Resources. The advisors participated in an NMHU orientation and also met with the project director in the week preceding the Institute. Tracking SASE Institute and student participants that attended the presentations, but did not participate in SASE, is managed through a database designed to maintain all necessary longitudinal information. A sign-up sheet and an interest survey collected participant information at the presentations. Follow-up included phone calls and mailings with information about NMHU and fields in agricultural sciences. The SASE 2008 program was a great success. The participants gave positive evaluations of all activities and the pre-post tests show satisfactory learning. The four graduated senior participants are enrolled at NMHU this fall. PRODUCTS: Several products resulted from the SASE project including: (1)a well-designed brochure highlighting the advantages of the SASE summer institute and agricultural sciences in general; (2)a well-designed informational SASE WEB site; (3)the two-week SASE Institute; (4)receipt of a $250.00 stipend by each participant; (5)a professional quality PowerPoint presentation that could easily be adapted to fit other similar programs; (6)a complete curriculum for the two week institute, suitable for introducing high school and college freshmen to soil and water conservation topics in the many aspects of agriculture sciences, both prepared and presented at the first (2007) SASE summer institute and; (7)a curriculum in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) developed and presented along with the soils curriculum for the SASE 2008 Institute. A procedure that allows high school students to receive elective college credit for well-vetted summer program curricula has been established. NMHU agreed to waive tuition for SASE participants. Stipends of $250 were awarded to each participant of the SASE Institute. These participants were expected to maintain a portfolio (notebook) containing resources and skills and to participate in a presentation of the projects accomplishments on the last day of the Institute. The audience included Institute faculty, NMHU faculty, parents, and interested guests. A system of tracking attendees of the presentations following their entry into college is in place. A state-wide tracking program is being developed so that college attendance and majors can be followed from high schools graduation through all state colleges and universities. This will allow the evaluation of the long-term influence of the SASE project. A possible consequence of the SASE project might be considered a project product, an outcome, and/or an impressive impact statement. In the spring of 2008, the PD gave his recruitment/college information presentation to the senior classes of six rural high schools in Northern New Mexico. He encouraged the students to apply for the SASE Summer Institute, and talked about the interesting, well-paying careers available in agricultural sciences. But he also stressed the importance of the students' earning college degrees. He detailed New Mexico's legislative mandate to provide free college tuition for all NM graduating seniors, and explained how to apply for that grant. The average percentage of the 2008 graduating seniors from those six high schools to enroll in college last fall was 73%. This is in comparison to the overall state-wide percentage of 37.9%. As noted above, the state of New Mexico is working on developing and implementing a state-wide tracking system. The SASE PD hopes to have this capability by the end of the project so that he can further research the state and area high school graduation/college enrollment comparison data in more detail. If so, he will then give an account of his findings in the SASE final report. OUTCOMES: The outcomes of the 2008 SASE project include: (1)the introduction of professions and careers available in the field of agriculture sciences through presentations at fifteen area high schools and a MESA college day assembly. Eighty-three percent of the returned attendee surveys indicated interest in the SASE Institute and in agriculture sciences; (2)exposure of twenty students to career opportunities in the US Forest Service and the Natural Resource Conservation Service; (3)one-on-one consultation between those students and the NMHU financial aid office; (4)one-on-one consultation between student participants and NMHU-Sciences faculty; (5)the immersion of twenty high school students in facets of agricultural sciences through the two-week SASE summer institute; (6)the completion of the two-week institute by the SASE participants who received college credit; (7)satisfactory orientation and training for two advisors and; (8)a curriculum and agenda that created a smooth teaching environment for instructors. Seventy percent of the student body (20 participants) was of underrepresented minorities, 30% Caucasian and Asian; 60% was female, and 40% male. Four were high school graduating seniors, seven rising seniors, 7 rising juniors and two rising sophomores. Eight area high schools were represented. The four graduates are currently registered at NMHU: three are majoring in science and one in business. Findings on the success of the institute from pre- and post- tests indicate a 30% increase of science knowledge; from 71.4% to 92.9% while the average comfort level with science increased 15%; from 75.7% to 90.7%. All participants chose to enroll concurrently in the NMHU credit course: FOR 135, Introduction to Applications of GPS and GIS to Soil Science. The overall GPA average for the course was 3.2. Evaluations indicated positive comments about the instructors, with a 96% approval rating. Participant surveys indicate an 80% satisfaction rate with residential facilities. The students rated the lecture and hands-on lab experiences portions of the course high (85% "Excellent and "Very Good"). All surveys noted a rewarding appreciation of the field trips (90% "Excellent" and "Very Good"), particularly those to Villanueva State Park and Cruz Organic Farm. Frequent comments referred to requests for more free time. Examples of comments: "I now know for sure that I want to go into a field of agriculture"; "It motivated me to pursue a career in science"; and "...it was very interesting to me." These findings indicate an overall satisfaction rate of the participants in the SASE Institute was high. The 2007 scholarship recipient successfully completed his first year as a forensic science major at NMHU with a 3.2 GPA. He is attending classes at NMHU this fall and is interning at the NMHU Forestry Institute. He assisted with the 2008 SASE recruiting efforts. He meets with the PD weekly to discuss course progress. The PD, assisted by the NMHU Office of Institutional Effectiveness and Research, tracked the 2007 SASE participants. Of the 21 high school graduates, 18 are enrolled at a NM college. Three attended college for one year but did not return in fall 08. DISSEMINATION ACTIVITIES: The SASE web page, linked to the NMHU web site, was updated with current pictures and activity results. The page details the goals and objectives of the project, provides application forms, and offers links to access additional information. The local Las Vegas, New Mexico newspaper has had 4 articles advertising the SASE project. The NMHU publicity staff has provided access to these articles in the home-town newspapers of all the summer participants. The local radio station announced the program on it daily Public Service Announcements (PSA) for a week. The SASE scholarship recipient attended the HSI Student Leadership Development Program in Washington DC January 21-24, 2008 and did a poster presentation. He also presented his poster at the Annual Faculty and Student Research Day at NMHU in April 2008. Dr. Martinez, the Project Director, presented to the NACTA/SERD conferences in DC in 2007 and at UTSU at Logan, Utah, in 2008. He presented the program to the MESA meeting on the NMHU campus. The Project director attended a National Science Foundation (NFS)-Quality Education for Minorities Workshop in October 2007 and used the project as a basis of discussion in a brainstorming session to develop an education-research project based on the SASE Project. FUTURE INITIATIVES: The senior personnel of the SASE are continuing to search for ways and means to continue or expand the project when the USDA funding is over. It is hoped they might apply for a second round of funding from the Department of Agriculture/CSREES. They are discussing ways to enhance and broaden the program which would also make an application more fundable in the eyes of CSREES. Additionally, they are planning on finding and pursuing other grant opportunities. Three sources that will be approached are: the Mathematics, Science, Engineering Improvement Program (MSEIP) initiative of the Department of Education; and the Advanced Technological Education (ATE), and Elementary, Secondary, and Informal Education (ESIE) initiatives of the National Science Foundation. The PD met with the Ben Lujan Leadership and public Policy Institute and discussed several options to continue SASE after USDA funding is over. One of those options is to approach the New Mexico legislature for partial state funding. The Los Alamos Foundation has been approached and is now interested in partially funding future SASE programs. The PD is in the early stages of collaboration with Faculty from the University of Puerto Rico in consideration of a partnership to expand a similar program at UPR and at NMHU. In October 2008 the PD will be attending an NSF-QEM workshop to determine how all STEM projects at his institution can be integrated and managed by one PD. Based on the findings at the NSF-QEM workshop the PD will determine whether or not funding is available through the Education and Human Resources Directorate at the National Science Foundation. If so, his institution will commit to assisting the PD in applying for funding that will potentially assure the continuation of the SASE project. The SASE principals also look to their institutions for further funding. The administration of NMHU and LCC are supportive of the SASE project. The curriculum of the 2008 Summer Institute was offered as a dual credit course; it is assumed that concept will be continued. This will serve two purposes: make the Institute more appealing to high school students and their parents, and gain NMHU state funding that will support SASE faculty salaries. It is likely NMHU will allow the Summer Institute to house students in the dormitories at little or no cost after the granting period. Local business and industry will be approached to contribute funds and technology. These could provide further incentives for participants in the form of awards and/or scholarships. Due to budget efficiencies there should be sufficient funds for a fourth summer institute. The NMHU administration has assured the PD of continued release time for that fourth year to support his administrative duties. With that in mind, Dr. Martinez has submitted a request to USDA/CSREES for a non-funded extension of the project through the summer of 2010.

Impacts
Northern New Mexico is a sparsely settled, rural area. The majority of residents are Hispanic whose forefathers settled the land they now farm. Agriculture methods have changed little; technology and higher education are unfamiliar concepts to many. A key impact of the SASE program is the awareness brought to the younger generation about technology, the potential benefits offered through higher education, and career opportunities in agricultural sciences. An initial result is that 17 SASE (2007) participants enrolled at NMHU and 4 enrolled at other colleges and universities in the state. Of those, 14 students are still at NMHU and the 4 are reenrolled at their institutions. Review from summer program comments indicates the significant influence SASE had on those students' decision to go to college. A second impact is that SASE brings greater recognition to NMHU and LCC through the recruitment efforts at the high schools. SASE participants will advocate the post secondary institutions, their resources and their accessibility to families and friends. This will increase student enrollment in the sciences and across the campuses. A third impact is that of the SASE program on the institutions. As the SASE project becomes know across campus, faculty and administration are encouraged to combine recruitment efforts across area schools. Thus the relationship among the various levels of institutions will grow and strengthen, providing more educational opportunities to the upcoming generation. All the above will assure a better educated, technologically able workforce for the region.

Publications

  • No publications reported this period


Progress 07/15/06 to 07/14/07

Outputs
The SASE project introduced Northern New Mexico high school and community college transfer students to opportunities in ag. science. Methods used were presentations to area high school and LCC students, and a Summer Institute at New Mexico Highlands University (NMHU) that immerses participants in hands-on exposure to the local agriculture sciences. An academic scholarship of $40,000 was awarded to an underrepresented participant of the 2007 SASE to attend NMHU. The recruitment method for the 2007 SASE Institute was a presentation to over 370 Junior/Senior students in ten Northern New Mexico high schools. Power Point, lecture, and discussion questions for presentations were used. Presentations, brochures, institutional websites, involvement of teachers and professors, and other publicity avenues were also used to expose the project to the public. Collaboration among the secondary schools and NMHU is not as strong as desired; consequently, it took effort to be admitted to all schools. The project staff anticipates the first year's effort will streamline the second's goals and objectives. The two-week SASE Institute was held June 4-16. Nineteen students were housed in dorms at NMHU with two advisors acting as chaperones. SASE participants were exposed to field and laboratory exercises related to the agricultural sciences. The soil science curriculum exposed students to basics of soil science and the importance soil studies has in understanding the composition and functions of an ecosystem. Students gained a theoretical foundation in soil science and applied experience in the collection, characterization, and chemical analysis of soils. The water conservation curriculum exposed students to basics of water science and the importance of water studies. Students learned about the relationship between agricultural activities and aquatic systems. Students gained a theoretical foundation in water science and applied experience in understanding the dependence of agricultural activities within a watershed. Guest speakers from US Forest Service and NRCS informed participants about career opportunities with USDA. Modules were presented to the SASE participants by a geologist and a forestry professor from the NMHU Natural Sciences Department. SASE advisor positions were filled adhering to EEOC requirements as mandated by the NMHU Department of Human Resources. The advisors participated in an NMHU orientation and also met with the project director in the week preceding the Institute. Tracking SASE Institute and student participants that attended the presentations, but did not participate in SASE will be managed through a database designed to maintain all necessary longitudinal information. A sign-up sheet and an interest survey collected participant information at the presentations. Follow-up includes phone calls and mailings with information about NMHU and fields in agricultural sciences. The SASE 2007 program was a great success. The participants gave positive evaluations of all activities and the pre-post tests show satisfactory learning. Eleven of the twelve senior participants are now enrolled at NMHU. PRODUCTS: Several products resulted from the SASE project including:(1)a well-designed brochure highlighting the advantages of the SASE summer institute and agricultural sciences in general;(2)a well-designed informational SASE WEB site;(3)the two-week SASE Institute;(4)receipt of a $250.00 stipend by the participants;(5)the award of one $40,000 academic scholarship to one outstanding underrepresented student;(6)a professional quality PowerPoint presentation that could easily be adapted to fit other similar programs;(7)a complete curriculum for the two week institute, suitable for introducing high school and college freshmen to soil and water conservation topics in the many aspects of agriculture sciences and;(8)a curriculum in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) is currently being developed and will be used for the SASE 2008 Institute. OUTCOMES: The outcomes of the SASE project include:(1)the introduction of professions and careers available in the field of agriculture sciences through presentations at ten area high schools and a MESA college day assembly. Findings from 65 percent of the attendants and returning surveys indicated interest in the SASE Institute and in ag. sciences; (2)exposure of nineteen students to career opportunities in the US Forest Service and the Natural Resource Conservation Service;(3)one-on-one consultation with nineteen students and the NMHU financial aid office;(4)one-on-one consultation with nineteen students and NMHU-Biology faculty;(5)the immersion of nineteen high school students in facets of agricultural sciences through the two-week SASE summer institute;(6)the completion of the two-week institute by nineteen registered participants;(7)satisfactory orientation and training for two advisors and;(8)a curriculum and agenda that created a smooth teaching environment for instructors. Findings on the success of the institute from a pre and post science activity-exam indicate that student scores more than doubled.Pre-test scores in the soils group averaged 29% and the water group averaged 23%. Post test scores averaged 63% in the soils and 56% in the water module. In a survey (1-5 scoring, with 5 being excellent and 1 being poor) determining the comfort level with/and interest in science indicated a 15% increase in the student comfort level and interest in science with a pre-institute score of 3.53 and a post-institute score of 4.06. All surveys noted a rewarding appreciation of the field trips, particularly the field trip to Bandelier National Monument and Park. Instructor evaluations indicated positive comments about the instructors. The primary negative concern was (too much lecture time. Survey results indicate a score of 4.02 for the soils instructor and a 4.12 for the water conservation instructor (on a 1-5 scale. The participants included twelve high school seniors and seven high school juniors. Participant surveys indicate a 95% satisfaction rate with residential facilities. The students rated the lecture portion of the courses low, hands-on lab experiences high, and the greatest praise was reserved for field trips. Two requests were frequent:(More free time) and (SASE T-shirts). Several also noted, (It was an awesome experience). These findings indicate an overall satisfaction rate of the participants in the SASE Institute was 3.9 (5-point scale). Eleven of the twelve high school seniors registered at NMHU;five of the eleven NMHU enrollees are science majors. From these eleven students six applied for the $40,000 academic scholarship provided by USDA-HSI. An objective panel of four NMHU and LCC faculty and staff made the final award decision and selected one of the six applicants to receive the $40,000 scholarship which will enable him to proceed through a four year program in agricultural sciences at NMHU. To further track the other SASE participants the Project Director is developing a tracking system to evaluate the long-term influence of the SASE project. DISSEMINATION ACTIVITIES: There were few dissemination activities this first year of the project since there were no long-term results to report. A web page was developed and linked to the NMHU web site. The page details the goals and objectives of the project, provides application forms, and offers links to access additional information. The local Las Vegas, New Mexico newspaper has had two articles advertising the SASE project. The NMHU publicity staff is in the process of publishing these articles in the home-town newspapers of all the summer participants. In the following years, the project director plans to present this project to various science conferences and prepare articles for relevant publications. At this time, most of these approaches are aimed to the university community. Project director will attend a National Science Foundation (NFS)-Quality Education for Minorities Workshop in October 2007 to potentially develop an education-research project based on the SASE Project. The Luna Community College Liaison agreed to present the findings to community college meetings. He plans to offer sessions to several Community College conferences, but in particular, to the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) within the next two years. Any of the presentations could easily be a cooperative effort of project director and staff. FUTURE INITIATIVES: The two senior personnel of the SASE are looking forward to ways and means to continue or expand the project when the USDA funding is over. It is hoped they might apply for a second round of funding from the Department of Agriculture/CSREES. Additionally, they are planning on finding and pursuing other grant opportunities. Three sources that will be approached are: the Mathematics, Science, Engineering Improvement Program (MSEIP) initiative of the Department of Education; and the Advanced Technological Education (ATE) and Elementary, Secondary, and Informal Education (ESIE) initiatives of the National Science Foundation. The SASE principals also look to their institutions for further funding. The administration of NMHU is very supportive of the SASE project. Discussion is under way to make the curriculum of the Summer Institute a dual credit course, which would serve two purposes: make the Institute more appealing to high school students and gain state funding for faculty to teach the two modules. It is likely NMHU will allow the Summer Institute to house students in the dormitories at little or no cost after the granting period. Local business and industry will be approached to contribute funds and technology. These could provide further incentives for participants in the form of awards and/or scholarships.

Impacts
A key impact of the SASE program is the awareness created in the area schools about careers in agricultural sciences. Since agriculture is an increasingly technical field, the key players must be technologically able. SASE strives to impress that on the project students. It is hoped there will be a growing number of well-educated landowners/farmers who will be able to maintain the family farms with increasing efficiency through technology. Also, it is expected that Northern New Mexico students that complete a degree in Agricultural Sciences will avail themselves of the professional opportunities existing with the Department of Agriculture entities nearby. A second important impact is that SASE will bring greater recognition to NMHU and LCC through the recruitment efforts at the high schools as students, teachers, and counselors learn about the post-secondary institutions' curricula, faculty, and availability. The participants of SASE, many of whom are from remote rural areas, will advocate the post secondary institutions, their resources and their accessibility to families and friends. This will increase student enrollment in the sciences and across the campuses. Although students are being recruited to attend NMHU or LCC and major in a field of science, a greater emphasis has been put on the fact that students should continue their education beyond high school. Students, by consequence, are being encouraged to attend post secondary education institutions of their choice and major in a field of their choice.

Publications

  • No publications reported this period