ASPIRE Project

Active Societal Participation In Research and Education (ASPIRE) aims to cultivate a generation of geoscientists with the leadership knowledge and skills, scholarship, and material support to reframe and rebrand the geosciences as socially relevant and, thereby, to broaden participation in these fields. This generation of geoscientists will do so by bridging longstanding divides that impede access to and inclusion in the geosciences: between basic and applied science, between scholars in the academy and members of historically marginalized communities, and between the places where science is needed and the places where it is typically conducted. To bring about these types of change, we draw upon, refine, and institutionalize the working group model as the Mobile Working Group (MWG), directly referencing the need to move outside of the "ivory tower" and into the community. Led by a geoscientist with one foot in the academy and the other in the community - the Gate-opener - each MWG will focus on a single issue linked to a single community. ASPIRE supports multiple MWGs working across the geographic, ethnographic and "in practice" community space, as well as across the body of geoscience research and application.


ASPIRE Website


Project Staff


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Corey Garza

Lead PI of the ASPIRE Project

California State University, Monterey Bay

Dr. Corey Garza is an associate professor of Marine Science in the School of Natural Sciences at California State University, Monterey Bay. Prior to arriving at CSUMB he was a research ecologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) where he served as scientific liaison to and, chief scientist for the USEPA Long Island Sound Study. He has held postdoctoral positions with the USEPA Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Program, and the Center for Environmental Analysis at California State University, Los Angeles. Dr. Garza serves as the principal investigator for the Marine Landscape Ecology Lab at CSUMB and is the campus lead for the NOAA Center for Coastal and Marine Ecosystems. He also directs the NSF funded, Monterey Bay Regional Ocean Science Research Experiences for Undergraduates Program. Dr. Garza is also active in educational outreach, particularly in advancing the participation of underrepresented groups in science. For the last 12 years he has chaired and organized a special scientific symposium in Marine Science at the annual meeting of the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS). He also serves as the lead PI for the NSF project Active Societal Participation in Research and Education (ASPIRE), a program that aims to build linkages between both scientific and underserved communities through the use of scientific research that serves community needs.

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Lora Harris

co-PI of the ASPIRE Project

University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science - Chesapeake Biological Laboratory

Lora Harris, Ph.D., is an estuarine ecologist who applies field and modeling approaches to address important questions regarding nutrient dynamics, primary production and ecosystem structure and function in a range of estuarine ecosystems. She is especially interested in how climate and management actions interact to affect water quality characteristics in estuaries and lagoons. Some of her most recent work involves collaboration with engineers to understand the restoration trajectories of hypoxic estuaries, and the contribution of wastewater to estuarine receiving waters. Dr. Harris works closely with state and regional agencies in both a research and advisory capacity. She is committed to efforts that increase diversity in the geosciences as a founding principal investigator of Centro Tortuga, an institutional collaboration based in Puerto Rico that is focused on exposing first year undergraduates to the marine sciences. Dr. Harris is committed to community engagement in her work, and takes just as much satisfaction in talking about water quality to a Board of County Commissioners as she does in giving a talk at a scientific conference. She received her B.S. from Smith College and her Ph.D. from the University of Rhode Island. Dr. Harris moved to her faculty position in Maryland following a postdoctoral position at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole.

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Julie Posselt

co-PI of the ASPIRE Project

University of Southern California

Julie Posselt is Assistant Professor of Education at the University of Southern California and a National Academy of Education/ Spencer Foundation postdoctoral fellow. Her research examines organizational behavior and institutionalized inequalities in graduate education, STEM fields, and the professoriate. Posselt is the author of Inside Graduate Admissions: Merit, Diversity, and Faculty Gatekeeping (Harvard University Press, 2015), an ethnographic comparative study of faculty decision making in doctoral admissions. Her research is also published in the American Educational Research Journal, Journal of Higher Education, Research in Higher Education, and Chronicle of Higher Education, among others. Her work has been funded by the US Department of Education, Spencer Foundation, Mellon Foundation, and National Science Foundation. Posselt was the 2017 recipient of Early Career Award from the Association for the Study of Higher Education.

Julie's responsibilities have involved co-facilitating the design and development of the ASPIRE model of place-based collaborative geoscience. In the second half of of the project, she will also conduct narrative inquiry about the careers and work of geoscientists whose work spans the boundaries traditional academic research and place-based communities. By understanding their professional trajectories and experiences with place-based geoscience, the hope is to develop a stronger understanding of the resources that will support their leadership for diversity.

This page last updated 20 Aug 2019 - 4:53pm