LSU EnvironMentors (EM) is an award-winning after-school science mentoring initiative that pairs underrepresented students from area high schools with LSU graduates and undergraduates. LSU student mentors volunteer two or more hours each week to work individually with the high school students on a year-long scientific research project. Each protégé’s work culminates in a poster competition in which his/her year-long data collection and research findings are succinctly summarized and presented. Mentors and students also participate in weekly environmental science, biological, and oceanographic research activities to introduce the proteges to diverse scientific fields. Our group also conducts field trips across Louisiana, introducing the proteges to environmental issues in our state and teaching them environmentally based field research methods.
High school students complete the program with increased confidence in their ability to achieve challenging life goals, to become more informed members of society, to understand the workings of the natural environment, and to communicate with an assortment of audiences using multiple platforms. Students who complete the EM program have a higher likelihood of graduating from high school and pursuing higher education. Also, participating college mentors develop their leadership skills while giving back to their community. LSU EnvironMentors opens a world of opportunities for tomorrow’s environmental workforce.
I am especially proud of our EnvironMentors (EM) program. We are providing underserved students with the personal tools and skills essential to meet challenging life goals. Accordingly, many of our EM alumni are now pursuing higher education, which is a primary aim of the EM program. This is a remarkable accomplishment.
Christopher D'Elia, Professor and Dean, LSU CC&E