CSCCE collaborators publish report on supporting environmental data science students at minority serving institutions

In 2021/22, CSCCE collaborated with the Academic Data Science Alliance (ADSA), The Carpentries, the Atlanta University Center Data Science Initiative, the Native BioData Consortium, NEON, and the RIOS Institute on an NSF grant to explore ways of better supporting environmental data science students at Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs) and Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).

CSCCE’s role in the project, which was led by PI Micaela Parker (ADSA) and co-PIs Krystal Tsosie (Arizona State University), Talitha Washington (Clark Atlanta University), and Kari Jordan (The Carpentries), was to convene and facilitate a series of working group calls that brought together faculty from TCUs and HBCUs. The findings from this work were synthesized into a report published earlier this month in ADSA’s Zenodo Community. (An editable version of the report is open for comment until December 2024). 

In this blog post, we share a little more about the work we did on this project. If you are interested in working with as facilitators for your next collaboration, please contact, or visit our consultancy webpage

An overview of the study

This project aimed to understand the challenges TCU and HBCU students face when trying to access programs related to environmental data science, as well as the particular features of these institutions that work to support their success as both learners and participants in the research process. The project leads used the SOAR framework (a close cousin of the SWOT analysis) to design surveys and guide discussions, which considers: 

  • Successes – What are we already doing well to support students in environmental data science?
  • Opportunities – What could we be doing more of to support students in environmental data science?
  • Aspirations – What do we aspire to do (or become) to support students in environmental data science in the future?
  • Results – How will we know we got there?

They then used the data generated from the working group conversations to identify commonalities between TCUs and HBCUs, and identify priority areas for action in the future. Participants met in two working groups – one for TCU faculty, one for HBCU faculty – to identify themes in each of the four SOAR categories, and then a final series of mini-workshops used these themes to align around a more concise collection of priority next steps. 

You can read more about the overall findings of the study in the final report

Facilitating sessions with study participants

CSCCE staff Camille Santistevan and Lou Woodley led the organization and facilitation of workshops that built on an initial series of working group meetings. These workshops connected faculty from TCUs and HBCUs, and hosted conversations around topics such as reducing barriers to participation in environmental data science degree programs and the financial and administrative costs associated with ensuring the success of students in these programs.

Specifically, our work involved: 

  • Creating workshop agendas that aligned with the overall goals of the project
  • Facilitating workshop conversations so that all participants were heard and key topics were discussed
  • Synthesizing workshop outcomes for discussion with project collaborators

We also contributed to the creation of the final report, authorship of which was led by Alycia Crall, Sara Bolduc, and Kendi Ho.

Collaborating with CSCCE on grant-funded initiatives

We frequently work with our partners on grant-funded initiatives like this, and work with project leads to facilitate collaboration, deliver custom training, and conduct research into various aspects of community development (e.g., member research and online platform selection/implementation). We appreciate the opportunity to connect with potential collaborators during the grant proposal phase of a project, so if working with us in this capacity is something you are interested in, please contact us as soon as you can. You can reach us any time at