DIVERSITY & OUTREACH

[K-12 Outreach][Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice][Geoscience Community Service]

Graduate students Mikey Robinson and Mara Nutt lead science experiments at a STEM Night

Graduate students Mikey Robinson and Mara Nutt lead science experiments at a Sierra Nevada Journey’s Family STEM Night

We are committed to creating an environment where everyone in our lab and everyone we interact with feels respected and feels valued for who they are regardless of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, nationality, veteran status, socio-economic status, political beliefs, physical or cognitive ability, and age. We are also committed to giving back to our local community through science education outreach events and giving back to our geoscience community through community service. If you’re interested in getting involved in any of these activities you should contact Joel.

K-12 and community outreach
Through partnerships we’ve established with¬† Megan Beckam at UNR’s NevadaTeach program and Sierra Nevada Journeys (a local 501(c)3 nonprofit organization), and support from the National Science Foundation, our group regularly volunteers as guest lectures in K-12 classrooms and at elementary and middle school Family STEM Nights. Current MS student Mara Nutt has designed multiple middle school lessons on rock weathering and implications for society, and they are delivering these lessons at multiple Washoe County Schools with NevadaTeach undergraduate student Peyton Cromer. Similarly, Prof. Scheingross, PhD student Mikey Robinson and NevadaTeach undergraduate Dennis Garcia have designed middle and high school lessons on river hydraulics and erosion that they are delivering in additional Washoe County School District classrooms. Scheingross, Nutt and Robinson have modified these lessons to create short, fun and interactive laboratory exercises which they bring to Sierra Nevada Journey Family STEM Nights.

PhD student Sophie Rothman has also been active in community outreach, giving a talk titled ‘Waterfalls: form, function, fun?’ at the Reno Nerd Nite in 2022 and she is currently working¬† on making a short educational video on waterfall formation mechanisms.

PhD student Mikey Robinson leads a flume lab tour for Dilworth Middle School students.

Contributions to Diversity, Equity, Justice and Inclusion
Prof. Scheingross invests substantial time into promoting Diversity, Equity, Justice and Inclusion on the UNR campus. Scheingross founded the UNR Geoscience Community Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) committee in 2020 (and continues to serve as the committee’s chairperson) and in 2021 Scheingross founded and led the UNR Geoscience Community URGE Pod (now led by Stacia Gordon). Through the DEI Committee and the URGE pod Scheingross has either led or substantially contributed to a large number of efforts designed to improve the welcoming environment within the UNR Geoscience community, including:

  • Establishing, organizing, administering, and analyzing results from an annual UNR Geoscience community climate survey designed to get feedback from our community on what is going well and what issues need attention.
  • Led and submitted a NSF GEOPAths proposal (currently pending) to secure funding for targeted high school outreach designed to improve perceptions of the geosciences in low-income and first-generation students.
  • Initiated a major overhaul of the UNR Geosciences department website designed to communicate action items and goals related to DEI, showcase our commitment to diversity, display demographic data, and create a centralized list of community outreach opportunities.
  • Helped develop and taught an ‘onboarding class’ for first year graduate students (GEOL 710) designed to cover aspects of the ‘hidden curriculum’ that are important for success in graduate school but are not often taught (e.g., Cooke et al., 2021)
  • Co-drafted and edited a Code of Conduct which has been adopted by the UNR Geoscience community and is covered in all geology department courses
  • Organized invited departmental seminars from diverse speakers and encouraged all speakers to speak about issues related to diversity, equity, inclusion and justice (sometimes in a separate talk) if they wish.
  • Helped to promote accessibility by working with faculty to make changes to our geology curriculum to make our field courses more accessible and worked with a disabled UNR undergrad to communicate simple actions that teachers and students can make our classrooms and buildings more accessible.
  • Served as a mentor to a post-baccalaureate student through the Geosciences Education & Mentorship Support (GEMS) program (sponsored by the National Association of Geoscience Teachers), which focuses on providing mentorship to graduate students and prospective graduate students from historically excluded groups in the geosciences.
  • Presented progress on UNR Geosciences diversity work at the 2021 AGU Fall Meeting (Scheingross, J.S., Cao, W., DesOrmeau, J., Gardner, M., Gordon, S.M., De Masi, C., Sheevam, P. and Toller, J., 2021, Progress on JEDI initiatives within the University of Nevada Reno geosciences community)

This work has been recognized by the UNR community, and in 2021 Scheingross was awarded both the the Patricia Berninsone Award for Outstanding Service (an annual award given by the UNR College of Science) and the Making-a-difference Award for Dedication to Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusivity in the Geosciences (an award issued once every other year to a member of the UNR Geoscience community).

Geoscience community service
Prof. Scheingross has been volunteering for the AGU Earth and Planetary Surface Process Section since 2013, with many of his actions focusing on community building. Scheingross co-founded (with Marisa Palucis) and ran the (now annual) ‘early career geomorphologists social night’ at the AGU Fall Meeting in 2013 and 2014 and organized the EPSP ‘Ways & Means’ mug fundraiser in 2018 (raising over $1300 for EPSP). In 2020 Scheingross, together with Claire Masteller, founded the EPSP Connects online seminar series, and ran the series for two years before handing it off to other EPSP Volunteers. As part of this effort, Scheingross and Masteller focused on community building and issues of relevance to society through organizing panels environmental justice and racism, developing productive work habits, and advice for navigating postdocs. In addition to these efforts, Scheingross served as the EPSP Student Committee Liaison from 2019-2022, has served as the EPSP webmaster since 2015, an EPSP Executive Committee member since 2017, and is currently serving as EPSP Secretary.