SOLARIS (Student Opportunity for Learning Advanced Research In geoScience) is a track-one, multi-faceted NSF (National Science Foundation) OEDG (Opportunities in Enhancing Diversity in the Geosciences) funded project.
The SOLARIS program is aimed to increase participation, particularly for minority students, in the geosciences at El Paso Community College (EPCC).
A workshop for local high school (HS) instructors and EPCC faculty provides strategies to engage students with innovative lab activities as well as information on careers in the geosciences and degree plans offered by EPCC and University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP). Participants are provided with laboratory kits to implement activities in their own classroom following the workshop.
The second key facet is a bridge program that allows 10 EPCC geological science majors to conduct geological research. Students are mentored by EPCC and UTEP instructors and use facilities and equipment at both institutions.
This facet of the SOLARIS project allows EPCC students to develop research skills while obtaining their associate (AS) degree and introduces them to the faculty and facilities at the UTEP Geoscience Department.