May 16, 2021

Documenting geoscience career paths with the Earth Science Resources video series

Posted by Laura Guertin

I strongly believe showcasing different career opportunities to students will help increase diversity in geoscience because “get a job” often takes precedent over “follow my passion” when you are a first-generation college student. But I want students to know they can have both! — Dr. Cindy Bergeron, creator/producer of Earth Science Resources [quote via email]

Pew Research Center documents that many Americans get their news on YouTube, and that YouTube continues to be the most widely used social media platform in 2021. For educators, YouTube also is a resource for science content, including a source of virtual introductions to diverse scientists and the range of goescience career opportunities available.

I recently learned about a new collection of videos being created and produced by geoscientist Dr. Cindy Bergeron. The quote at the top of this blog post is from her, and she uses the series with her own students at Lone Star College – University Park (Texas). The video below is the introduction to the full collection of videos on YouTube at the Earth Science Resources channel (the collection includes videos on environmental science and other topics – I am just focusing on the Careers collection in this blog post):

As of mid-May 2021, Dr. Bergeron has posted interviews with individuals that work as a GIS manager, petroleum scientist, senior geophysicist, planetary scientist, data scientist, exploration manager, hydrologist, and geoscience educator (see Careers playlist). The interviews are between 7 minutes and 18 minutes in length and capture not just what these scientists do in their day-to-day jobs but also their journey to their current role, what they wish they had known earlier in their careers, and so much more.

This is one of the Career videos, an interview Dr. Bergeron had with GIS manager Sheena Kennard:

When I started viewing the videos, I immediate thought of how well-suited this collection is for Scientist Spotlight exercises (see blog post Scientist Spotlights and Profiles Online). My own students have shared their preference for learning about scientists through videos, as they feel they get to know the scientist better by hearing their voice while seeing their image. In addition, my students mentioned the value of having the ability to pause the video playhead to take notes, and the opportunity to “rewind” to a previous part to replay a section they would like to hear again.

Consider sharing the ESR video series and website (, along with other career videos highlighting other diverse scientists with your students in your classroom and in your department.

One of the leading obstacles hindering diversity in the geosciences is the lack of awareness among minority communities. Underrepresented populations cannot become part of a community if they don’t know it exists! To grow a diverse geoscience workforce, we must increase geo-awareness. A foundational goal of this organization is to help make geoscience accessible to all.  —  from Earth Science Resources website



Additional resources for “Scientist Spotlight” exercises

  • Brandt et al. (2020). Scientist Spotlights: online assignments to promote inclusion in ecology and evolution. Ecology and Evolution, 10(22): 12450-12456. [open access]
  • Schinske et al. (2016). Scientist Spotlight homework assignments shift students’ stereotypes of scientists and enhance science identity in a diverse introductory science class. CBE-Life Sciences Education, 15(3): 1-18. [open access]
  • Sheffield et al. (2021, May 10). Perceptions of scientists held by US students can be broadened through inclusive classroom interventions. Communications Earth & Environment, 2.83. [open access]
  • Yonas et al. (2020). In a “Scientist Spotlight” intervention, diverse student identities matter. Journal of Microbiology & Biology Education, 21(1): 1-12. [open access]
  • HHMI|Biointeractive – Scientist Role Models (classroom resource)

See NAGT – Teach the Earth exercise A Toast to a Scientist – Celebrating Identity and Accomplishments

See SAGE 2YC website – Develop Students’ Science Identity

See Breakthrough, a short film anthology from Science Friday and Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) that follows women working at the forefront of their fields. Each episode blends deeply personal stories with innovative scientific research of women across STEM fields.