How a Scientific Society Built Multicultural Diversity: A 25-Year-Long Journey

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Abstract

In 1990, The Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography (ASLO) implemented the ASLO Multicultural Program (ASLOMP) to recruit and retain underrepresented students in the aquatic sciences. ASLOMP uses ASLO's annual meetings to support 65 to 80 students to participate in a multifaceted program that includes field trips, special student-symposium, and a system of meeting-mentors to help students navigate the conference and engage with ASLO's community. During the first 25 years, 890 students from 215 different colleges and universities participated. Participants were diverse: 70% undergraduates, 67% female, 50% African American, 35% Hispanic, 7% Native American, 6% Pacific Islanders, 1% white. Almost all participants earned a BS and 59% earned graduate degrees. About half (49%) held jobs that used at least some aquatic science and 24% found employment in other STEM fields. Two participants won election to ASLO leadership positions. The program provides a tested model for other scientific societies.

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