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Currents 30-35:
Minorities, Temporary Residents,
and Gender Parity in the Geosciences

This Geoscience Currents Discussion webinar explores trends in minority participation, temporary resident participation and gender parity in the geosciences that were covered in Currents (30-35). Specific trends in academic degree conferral and workforce participation are examined.

Download slide presentation.

Additional Questions & Answers from the Webinar:

Q: Do the AGI surveys collect data on how women are attracted to the different geoscience occupations?

A: AGI has not collected data on the various factors that attract women to different geoscience occupations.

Q: What's a natural science manager?

A: The definition “Natural Science Manager” is based on the SOC definition in the US BLS’s Occupational Outlook Handbook (

“Natural sciences managers oversee the work of life and physical scientists, including agricultural scientists, chemists, biologists, geologists, medical scientists, and physicists. These managers direct research and development projects and coordinate activities such as testing, quality control, and production. They may work on basic research projects or on commercial activities. Science managers sometimes conduct their own research in addition to managing the work of others.“

Q: Please elaborate about the source of the data.

A: For this presentation, data was derived from the following set of sources:

AGI’s Directory of Geoscience Departments
IPEDS database
NCES’s Digest of Education Statistics
NSF’s “ Degrees awarded by field, citizenship, and race/ethnicity of recipients 1997-2006”
NSF’s SESTAT 2006 restricted-access dataset
US Bureau of Labor Statistics’s Current Population Survey

Q: How did you target these three minorities as the under-represented minorities?

A: The definition for underrepresented minorities is used extensively in federal data sources to identify three groups (e.g. Hispanic, African American, Native American) whose representation in science and engineering is less than their representation in the whole population.

Q: I'm curious about the 28% of women oceanographers - the highest of all geosciences. Can you further discuss this slide?

A: NSF’s 2006 SESTAT data indicates that of the 3,599 oceanographers, 1,003 were female. This data is from surveys where survey participants classify themselves into different occupational categories. There was a question from another virtual participant asking if marine biologists were counted in the oceanography category. Since there is no category specifically for marine biology on these surveys, marine biologists might classify themselves in the oceanography or in the biological science category.

Q: What do we know about enrollment in geosciences by underrepresented minorities in minority-serving institutions (MSI's) vs. regular institutions?

A: AGI will be investigating how the overall trend of geoscience degrees conferred to underrepresented minorities compares to that of those graduating with geoscience degrees from MSI's in a future Geoscience Currents.

Q: Do you have a breakdown of women in oceanography professions? (i.e. university, federal, etc.)

A: From the 2006 SESTAT dataset, this is the breakdown of women by sector:

Employer Sector

F: Female

M: Male


% Female

4-yr coll/univ; med schl; univ. res. inst.





2-yr coll/pre-college institutions





Bus/Ind, for-profit





Bus/ind, self-employd, not-incorporated





Bus/Ind, non-profit





Federal government










Q: Does the category "oceanography" include marine biology?

A: The NSF data are constructed from self-reported data. As such, marine biologists might classify themselves in the oceanography or in the biological science category. There is no category specifically for marine biology on these surveys.

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