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Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering
SJR: 0.468 SNIP: 0.905 CiteScore™: 1.65

ISSN Print: 1072-8325
ISSN Online: 1940-431X

Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering

DOI: 10.1615/JWomenMinorScienEng.2017018878
pages 17-41

MENTORING, SOCIAL CAPITAL, AND DIVERSITY IN EARTH SYSTEM SCIENCE

Carmen McCallum
Department of Leadership and Counseling, Eastern Michigan University, 900 Oakwood St., Ypsilanti MI 48197, USA
Julie Libarkin
Michigan State University, Geocognition Research Lab
Caitlin Callahan
Grand Valley State University, Department of Geology
Christopher Atchison
University of Cincinnati, School of Education and Department of Geology

ABSTRACT

Mentoring relationships are crucial in the development of student scientists. The purpose of this study was to identify the role of mentors in supporting career satisfaction among students in Earth System Sciences (ESS). Attendees of a national conference for Earth Sciences completed an anonymous survey with questions regarding experiences with an academic mentor, a sense of belonging in the community, and career satisfaction. Responses from a total of 192 undergraduate and graduate students were used for confirmatory factor analysis of three separate scales: Trust in Mentor, Sense of Belonging, and Career Satisfaction. Linear regression yielded different models for the relative importance of these three scales on career satisfaction for members of underrepresented groups in ESS, for women, and for all participants. Qualitative data from surveys supported major findings of quantitative analyses: levels of trust in mentor as well as having a sense of belonging contributed to career satisfaction; for members of underrepresented groups, mentoring may be especially significant. An implication from these results is that programs aimed at supporting diversity in ESS can benefit from developing trust between mentors and students.


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