Assessing Growth in Students’ Earth Data Science Skills & Abilities

Nate Quarderer of Earth Lab describes the Earth Data Science Corps program and the Earth Analytics Professional Certificate, demonstrating the need for a diverse workforce in data science and the significant impacts of these programs on participants.

Date: 4/12/22

Location: Zoom and SEEC

Speaker: Nate Quarderer (Earth Lab)


Abstract: The Earth & Environmental sciences produce vast amounts of data from remotely sensed sources, and in-situ sensor networks from around the globe. With these ever growing data sources comes a demand for a data literate workforce that is capable of collecting, analyzing, visualizing and communicating with these data in a way that will be useful for a variety of different stakeholders and decision makers. The skills needed to work programmatically with large, heterogeneous Earth & Environmental Data are commonly taught in settings that limit accessibility, making it difficult for members of communities who have been traditionally underrepresented in STEM to develop critical Earth Data Science (EDS) skills. One model for broadening the capacity to learn and teach these EDS skills is the NSF-supported Earth Data Science Corps (EDSC) led by the Earth Analytics Education Initiative at Earth Lab. In the first two years of the EDSC program, we have engaged with 45 undergraduate students from partner institutions that include two Tribal Colleges and a Hispanic Serving Institution. During this EDS seminar I will talk about the EDSC program and highlight findings from survey instruments developed to measure growth in different aspects of participants' Earth Data Science skill sets. I will also use this time to discuss the Earth Data Analytics Professional Graduate Certificate Program, another approach to learning and teaching EDS led by Earth Lab's team of educators, along with a brief summary of findings from quantitative and qualitative analysis of participant surveys. 

Bio: Nate Q arrived at Earth Lab in May of 2020 as a postdoctoral research associate. Since then, Nate has gone on to become the lead instructor of the Earth Data Science Corps program designed to teach critical Earth Data Science skills to students from historically underrepresented communities. He is currently serving as the Interim Director of Education at Earth Lab. Prior to coming to Earth Lab, Nate taught physics, math, and environmental science at Northeast Iowa Community College. He recently completed his PhD in Teaching & Learning (Science Education) from the University of Iowa, where his research focused on the development of climate literacy and epistemic cognition in young learners.