Haschenburger, J. K., Gray, W., Godet, A., Suarez, M. B., & Núñez, A. M. (2021). Recruiting all the talent into undergraduate STEM student success programs using an invitational approach. Journal of Geoscience Education, 1-17.

Student success programs have achieved demonstrated benefits in broadening participation in the geosciences and other STEM fields. These programs typically require an application from potential participants despite known challenges in recruiting students from historically underrepresented populations. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of an invitational recruitment strategy for engaging undergraduate geology majors in the Geoscience Pathways program at the University of Texas at San Antonio, a large public Hispanic-Serving Institution. The program aimed to improve the academic performance and career preparedness of these majors to facilitate their transition into the geoscience workforce. This strategy involved generating a pool of students who met program selection criteria, delivering personalized paper invitations that guaranteed participation to individuals in classes, and securing their commitment to participate after a program briefing. Using paper invitations to communicate with selected students gave higher response rates about attending the program briefing than using email to reach invitees. Of the students attending briefings, nearly 90% decided to participate, with their demographics generally matching those of their peers at the same educational level. Based on focus groups and surveys, receipt of personalized invitations also positively impacted the self-efficacy and motivation of participants. Results indicate that carefully planned recruitment processes are central to developing programs to engage populations that have historically participated less in the geosciences and other STEM fields. Actively working toward the participation of all students of potential can help propel underrepresented groups into a geoscience career carrying increased motivation, skills, and experience to address the projected workforce shortfall.

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