2008 IGERT project meeting
May 18-20, 2008 | The Westin Arlington Gateway, VA

May 18 - Breakfast with Sean

Sampling local eats and doing some pre-meeting intraIGERT bonding


May 18 - Registration, Poster Session

Met IGERT trainees Gerson Aguirre, CCNY; Olyssa Starry, University of Maryland Baltimore County; Troy Anderson, UCF; etc.  Had dinner with other trainees (Joseph Reid, University of Minnesota; Peter Waltman, New York University) at La Tasca, a Spanish tapas place in Clarendon.

May 19 - Welcome, All Day Sessions

Breakfast: Chatted with Emma Flores, University of Washington IGERT trainee who is evaluating the IGERT program's success from an educational perspective.

Session I (the welcome):  There are 197 IGERTs, NSF receives 400+ proposals each year, there are ~5000 NSF trainees and fellows.  The goal is creating the scientific workforce of the future!

Session II (Public Relations):  Communicating in written (print and online) and visual (TV) format what a scientist does is difficult.  Drama is good!  Be passionate when communicating to others about your research.  Distill your message to something publicly relevant and put the important message upfront.  Get some good graphics.  Seek out media outlets.  Write op. ed. pieces.  Blog.  Check out http://www.mamaphd.com/ and http://insidehighered.com/.
< ME with American Chemical Society President, Tom Lane

Session III (Careers): Communicate.  Team build.  Project manage (define budget and scope, make and follow a schedule, deliver results!).  Be aware of image.  Master a second language.  Be emotional: passionate!  Embrace the vision of your employer.   Qualities to have: integrity, clarity, market-awareness, ability to reassess goals, confidence.  Things to do: Share data.  Internship = test drive. Take risks, be uncomfortable!  Have mentors, listen to them.  Cultivate innovation.  Expose yourself for criticism.  Be willing to lead instead of complain.  If you’re not having fun, change jobs.

Session IV (K-12 Outreach):  Genuinely collaborate with teachers to plan activities.  Build relationships with teachers/students.  Don’t cancel.  Foster mentor-mentee exchanges.  Make the projects relate to current/local issues.  Other places to do outreach: after school programs, museums, scouting organizations, science competitions


Session V (Career development): Manage up.  Manage down.  Manage laterally.  What are you managing?  The perception and reality of your “brand.”  Know yourself, define your expectations, develop a game plan, create your brand… then build your career.  You are creating a value chain (grant money à knowledge à product à more money à more knowledge à more product à etc.)  Info about academic jobs: Chronicle of Higher Education.  Info about government jobs: USA Jobs.  Info about non-profit jobs:  CEOupdate.org.  Info about $$: PayScale.com

Poster Session (and dance floor): Discussed poster and danced with Matthew G. Richards, MIT among others.  Went to irish pub, Ri Ra for a brisk evening walk and a pint.

May 20 - Technical Breakout, Closing Remarks

Breakout session: Maybe a way to get IGERT trainees to reach across disciplines is to get their PIs reaching across disciplines.  Make the PIs attend Journal Club when a paper outside their field is presented.  OR make the PIs attend interdisciplinary IGERT courses.


Town Hall Meeting (closing remarks):  IGERT budget is shrinking.  The goal of the IGERT is to “catalyze a cultural change in science.”  If an IGERT program is seeking renewal, it must demonstrate that it is really addressing this goal.  Even if you do not specify that you are applying for a renewal, if your new proposal shows strong overlap of research themes and participants, it will be considered a renewal.  Special attention will be given to renewals that have shown strong success and future direction toward excellence of training and attention to diversity, but the definition of success is a grey area.

A little pre-meeting sightseeing (May 18 - morning/afternoon)

Early morning on the national mall       In front of the Smithsonian Castle            The Lincoln Memorial (side view)

In front of Natural History Museum                                                                            Arlington National Cemetary

<--The Washington Monument and Reflecting pool

The Tour Bus  v and >