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HDRFS GRA Professional Development Workshop 

HDRFS graduate students and research faculty engaging in a group discussion during the GRA Professional Development Workshop at UNR (Image Credit: Brooklyn Stepro)

On November 9th, 2023, 14 HDRFS graduate students from UNR and UNLV, participated in an all-day professional development workshop at the Joe Crowley Student Union, at UNR. Each of these graduate students conduct research with HDRFS faculty at DRI, UNLV, and UNR in the research thrusts of Ecology, Hydrology, Fire Processes, Fire Emissions and Atmospheric Aging, and Cyberinfrastructures Innovations. This workshop was the first in-person opportunity, as part of a series of online mentorship and professional development workshops for HDRFS GRAs, to engage students beyond their research assistantships, promote collaboration with other HDRFS GRAs and research faculty, and provide opportunities to build a culture of support for the growth and sustainability in workforce development and research infrastructure. 

During the workshop, students gained insight, resources, and networking opportunities with topic experts and HDRFS research faculty leadership.  Utilizing their results from the CliftonStrengths, a unique talents assessment, students were lead through a conversation, facilitated by Dr. Bridget Walsh, UNR College of Human Development & Family Science, to understand how their strengths influence their interactions in a research/team environment. One of the students said “getting to know my strengths and weaknesses was the best part of this meeting.” 

Working with Sadikshya Parajuli of the UNR Career Studio, students updated their academic curriculum vitae (CV)/resume. To prepare students for research publication, Teresa Schultz from UNR Library Services, facilitated a session on research ethics and seeking journals that suit research areas of focus. To support students in their journeys as mentees/peer mentors, Brooklyn Stepro, NSHE EPSCoR Office, lead students through activities focused on Aligning Expectations with research mentors. 

During lunch, students participated in guided group discussions with HDRFS leadership and research faculty, Project Principal Investigator (PI), Dr. Fred Harris (UNR), and Co-PIs, Dr. Hans Moosmüller (DRI) and Dr. Haroon Stephen (UNLV) to brainstorm opportunities for cross-collaboration on research components. Dr. Harris followed up with a session addressing the importance of students’ research contributions and participation in mentoring and professional development opportunities.

Dr. Fred Harris leading a session on the importance of students’ research contributions (Image Credit: Brooklyn Stepro)

The feedback received from the students has been positive, with another student saying “it was nice meeting the other students that will be working on the project. I think the crowning moment of the entire workshop was when Dr. Harris challenged us to talk about how the data we collect will help others in the group. It really brought a sense of comradery and how my part fits into the larger picture of the project.”

This workshop series was arranged by the Education and Workforce Development component of the HDRFS project, through Pathway 3 programming which implements mentoring and professional development opportunities for graduate and undergraduate students on the project.