The Alliance

Project Overview

The SEAS Islands Alliance works to broaden participation and possibilities in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education, inclusion of nuanced cultural expertise from diverse underrepresented minority (URM) and underserved populations in U.S. territories and U.S.-affiliated islands. Island regions are strongly connected to the oceans that surround them and are among the country’s most diverse communities. The Alliance works to collaborate with these communities to broaden participation of the STEM workforce.

Over five years, the SEAS Islands Alliance will support:

  • 575 middle/high school students in summer & school year geoscience enrichment programs
  • 70 undergraduate students in early-career research and career experiences
  • 60 upper-level undergraduate and/or Masters students in an 8-week summer intensive Bridge to Graduate School Program
  • 25 Bridge Program students who will receive graduate training at partnering institutions (MS or PhD.level);
  • 25 Island Alliance Fellows in local workforce positions in each of the island hubs


The Islands Alliance shares a common agenda: to engage URM students in the marine and environmental sciences by illuminating a full career pathway and to increase their sense of belonging in STEM by connecting them across island hubs.

To accomplish these goals, each Islands Alliance hub integrates evidence-based interventions and aligned partners across those interventions, that include:

  • Field experiences and enrichment activities for middle and high school students
  • Early field research and career experiences for college freshmen and sophomore students
  • Bridge programming to graduate school for upper level undergraduate and Masters students
  • Funding for Bridge Program students to pursue masters or PhD training through partnering institutions, including Penn State University (PSU), University of Maryland Center for Marine & Environmental Science (UMCES), University of the Virgin Islands (UVI), and University of Guam (UOG)
  • Creation of local jobs in each hub region through the establishment of the Islands Alliance Fellows Program

In addition, the Islands Alliance establishes cross-cutting, support programming, including:

  • Mentoring from peers, near peers, program alumni, and other STEM professionals (especially those who are URM or from underserved groups in STEM)
  • Family programming to support student success
  • Professional networking through hub and Islands Alliance activities
  • Cohort-building activities to increase sense of belonging to the Islands Alliance

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This project has been funded through a grant by the National Science Foundation.