EnvironMentors Hallmarks of Success
Each EnvironMentors chapter works to achieve the program's mission, “to mentor and motivate high school students underrepresented in the sciences as they conduct scientific research and acquire skills that will allow them to build careers and become active stewards of their communities and the environment.” While each chapter operates within in a unique community, all chapters are guided by four core elements of the student experience. These elements have been identified by students as key factors that encouraged them to participate in and stick with the program.
- Mentoring: Environmental, science, and natural resource professionals, faculty and college students volunteer as mentors to high school students. Mentors not only support students in conducting rigorous research projects, but also serve as important role models, motivating students to pursue college degrees and careers in environmental and natural resource fields.
- Environmental stewardship: Throughout the EnvironMentors program year, students have multiple opportunities to engage in the local environment. For example, students participating in 2013-14 visited wildlife refuges, went on weekend camping trips, helped with habitat restoration or invasive species removal, and conducted water quality sampling.
- Experimental research projects: With the support of their mentor, students design and conduct an experimental research project based on an environmental topic based on their choice. After collecting and analyzing their data, students create a scientific poster and present at a chapter fair. Through the process students develop the critical thinking, analytic and communication skills vital to their success in college and future careers.
- College preparation: EnvironMentors provides students with a range of college preparation activities, including exposure to a college campus, labs, and library; assistance with college applications and financial aid; and an introduction to environmental and natural resource degree programs. Over 10 college scholarships are awarded to top students each year.
Upon completion of their chosen research projects, they develop lesson plans and present to an elementary school class, at local science fairs, as well as at the EnvironMentors National Fair in Washington, DC, where they have a chance to compete for college scholarships.