Bridging the Gap: The Effects of A School-To-Career Approach To Promoting Wildlife Science Careers Among Minority Students

Bridging the Gap: The Effects of A School-To-Career Approach To Promoting Wildlife Science Careers Among Minority Students


One hundred fifty high school students from underrepresented communities in New York City participate in afterschool and weekend programming at local zoos and aquariums to learn about and develop the skills necessary to pursue wildlife careers.


The Wildlife Conservation Society and Good Shepherd Services (a youth development and education agency) are implementing and evaluating a school-to-career model program that consists of afterschool and weekend programming for high school students at four New York City area zoos and an aquarium, followed by post-participation tracking, support, and mentoring. The goal is to promote affective, cognitive and behavioral outcomes among 150 low-income minority youth necessary to pursue careers in the wildlife sciences. The Bridging the Gap project is (1) developing a science career program that includes hands-on, technology-enriched, science learning experiences at zoos/aquaria; career building services, mentoring, and long-term tracking and support, (2) forming a community of minority students who have the knowledge and skills to pursue wildlife careers, (3) generating research findings on the short-term and long-term effectiveness of the program, and (4) disseminating information about the project's resources and findings to other informal science education institutions around the nation for replication. The evaluation plan measures a variety of outputs, outcomes and impacts that include short-term and long-term cognitive and affective variables. Data collection methods include student activity monitoring and pre-post testing. The project addresses a compelling personnel issue documented by the American Zoo and Aquarium Association - the small number of minority science professionals working in zoos and aquariums. Because few programs currently exist to help minority students enter the wildlife science professions, this project fills an important programmatic need and serves as a model workforce program that can be replicated by other informal science education organizations around the country. The project's key strategic impact is its capacity to broaden participation in the wildlife sciences by expanding the science professional pipeline beginning in high school.



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2012 - 2016



Wildlife Conservation Society Bronx, NY
Good Shepherd Services New York, NY

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