FHSU professor awarded NSF grant to promote diversity in geosciences

Grady Dixon

09/26/16 pgd/kb
HAYS, Kan. -- Dr. Grady Dixon, chair and associate professor in the Department of Geosciences at Fort Hays State University, will be the principal investigator on a $400,000 grant from the National Science Foundation.

The project, "Hearts of GOLD (Geo Opportunities for Leadership in Diversity)," involves researchers from Florida International University, the National Center for Atmospheric Research, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and Virginia Tech University.

"Geosciences is perhaps the least diverse STEM field when it comes to including underrepresented groups such as women, people of color and people with disabilities," said Dixon.

"Among those who do enter STEM fields, previous research has shown that their success is often unrelated to aptitude, but instead depends on their ability to tolerate the biases and harassment from colleagues," he said.

The Hearts of Gold project differs from previous diversity efforts because it focuses on the leaders of the discipline rather than younger or newer members.

"Many of the most successful geoscience researchers have histories of promoting and mentoring colleagues and students from underrepresented groups, but they are rarely outspoken about this practice because their expertise and experiences are not related to diversity," said Dixon. "This project will bring together those giants in the field in an effort to teach them the tools and skills needed to become champions for diversity in the greater interest of the geosciences."

The "top-down" approach of this project is designed to set examples for teachers, students, employers and the public.

"I am excited about the goals of this project as well as the visibility it will provide for FHSU," said Dixon. "We will be working with dozens of leading scientists from the across the country, and they will all know that this opportunity is being facilitated by FHSU."

For more information on the Hearts of Gold award, visit https://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/showAward?AWD_ID=1645430.

Back to top