GSA Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado, USA - 2016
Paper No. 329-5
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-6:30 PM
RETHINKING STEM GRADUATE EDUCATION FOR DIVERSE CAREER PATHWAYS AT THE WATER-ENERGY NEXUS: SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY’S NSF RESEARCH TRAINEESHIP PROGRAM
MCCAY, Deanna H.1, LAUTZ, Laura K.1, DRISCOLL, Charles T.2, KAHAN, Tara F.3, SCHOLZ, Christopher A.1, TORRANCE, Donald4, JOHNSON, Chris E.2, JUNIUM, Christopher K.1, SIEGEL, Donald I.1, WILCOXEN, Peter J.5 and FIORENZA, Patrick6, (1)Department of Earth Sciences, Syracuse University, 204 Heroy Geology Laboratory, Syracuse, NY 13244, (2)Civil and Environmental Engineering, Syracuse University, 151 Link Hall, Syracuse, NY 13244, (3)Chemistry, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY 13244, (4)Broadcast and Digital Journalism, Syracuse University, 215 University Place, Syracuse, NY 13244, (5)Public Administration and International Affairs, Syracuse University, 200 Eggers Hall, Syracuse, NY 13244, (6)Hezel Associates, Syracuse, NY 13203, firstname.lastname@example.org
Under the sponsorship of the National Science Foundation’s Research Traineeship Program (NRT), Syracuse University’s Education Model Program on Water-Energy Research (EMPOWER) originated in 2015. The EMPOWER NRT provides a unique model of graduate education that combines interdisciplinary research opportunities with comprehensive professional training in skills needed for diverse career paths. Graduate students who participate in EMPOWER conduct research at the interface of the full energy cycle and water cycle. The water-energy research theme is one that is likely to produce graduates who will pursue careers across several sectors, including business, government, not-for-profits, and academia. EMPOWER students are admitted to traditional disciplinary graduate departments, including Earth Sciences, Civil & Environmental Engineering, and Chemistry; yet, as trainees, participating students have opportunities to enhance their professional skills and develop their professional network beyond the traditional departmental offerings.
As EMPOWER trainees, students complete a series of training elements including a career pathways experience, a science communication course, domestic and international field experiences, and a set of professional development courses. To date, we have admitted 14 MS and PhD students as trainees. Participating faculty, drawn from several departments, make program admission decisions, approve coursework, review student seed grant applications, and teach the field courses. EMPOWER is further supported by an External Advisory Committee (EAC), which is comprised of PhD professionals in non-academic careers, including energy, advocacy, government research, environmental consulting, and STEM education. Initial consultation with the EAC yielded many important recommendations in how to tailor the program to best train graduate students for a variety of career pathways. Events we offered students in the inaugural year included a professional webpage development clinic, a AAAS-run science communication workshop, a mock NSF panel, and a meeting with Dr. Carol Frost, the Earth Sciences Division Director from NSF.