EMPOWER Career Panel Welcomes Back Former Trainees

We were delighted to welcome five SU graduate trainees to serve on our EMPOWER Career Panel today. Robin Glas (USGS), Kristina Gutchess (State of Massachusetts Department of Conservation & Water Supply Protection), Geoffrey Millard (EPA), Nathan Chien (EPA) and Jackie Gerson (Duke University) returned to spend an afternoon with our trainees to answer questions about their career trajectories, challenges and provide recommendations to our future job hunters. Led by EMPOWER PI Charley Driscoll and co-PI Christa Kelleher, the trainees had the opportunity to get all their questions answered and break out into small group discussions with the panelist of their choice.

Hydrology from the bottom up: How groundwater shapes the water cycle

EMPOWER welcomed Professor Reed Maxwell, the 2020 Darcy Lecturer in Groundwater Science for a talk focused on groundwater impacts on the water cycle. The lecture was jointly hosted between Syracuse University and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.  Dr. Reed Maxwell is faculty in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Princeton University. His research interests are focused on understanding connections within the hydrologic cycle and how they relate to water quantity and quality under anthropogenic stresses. He is an elected Fellow of the American Geophysical Union, was the 2018 Boussinesq Lecture and the 2017 School of Mines Research Award recipient. He has authored more than 120 peer-reviewed journal articles and teaches classes on integrated hydrology, fluid mechanics and modeling terrestrial water flow. 

Trainees Attend Faculty Conversation about the Clean Energy Futures Project

Syracuse University faculty member EMPOWER co-PI Peter Wilcoxen from the Maxwell School and EMPOWER PI Charles T. Driscoll from the College of Engineering and Computer Science led a nationally attended faculty conversation about the Clean Energy Futures project.

The Clean Energy Futures research project aims to quantify the efficacy, efficiency, and equity of four contrasting policy approaches for curbing electricity sector emissions, and to provide policymakers with rigorous, timely, and useable science for decision-making.

Clean Energy Futures Team

  • Charles Driscoll, Jr. – Science lead, University Professor of Environmental Systems and Distinguished Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering, Syracuse University
  • Kathy Fallon Lambert – Policy engagement lead, Senior Advisor, Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
  • Dallas Burtraw – Darius Gaskins Senior Fellow, Resources for the Future
  • Amelia Keyes – Research Associate, Resources for the Future, JD candidate Harvard Law School
  • Qasim Mehdi – PhD candidate, Syracuse University
  • Armistead (Ted) Russell –Regents Professor, Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Huizhong Shen – Postdoctoral Fellow, Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Peter Wilcoxen – Professor, Director of the Center of Environmental Policy and Administration, Maxwell School, Syracuse University

EMPOWER Trivia Night resumes

The ever popular EMPOWER trivia night hosted by Quizmaster A (program manager, Annie Pennella) made a triumphant return with five teams joining in for a chance at trivia champion bragging rights. Trainees and faculty from across the program have a chance to connect a few weeks into the new semester.

Building Community in Academia

Research has shown that feeling appreciated, respected, and cared for all influence the success of graduate students. The issue of building supportive communities in academia has become an international conversation with many pushing for changes at individual and institutional levels. This talk, led by Susanna Harris of PhDBalance, shared insights about the current needs, fears, and questions from graduate students around the world. Participants discussed creating networks for personal and professional support, identifying best practices for changing current academic climates and how we can each contribute to making academia a more inclusive and healthy space for academics of all levels.

Diversity & Inclusion Dialog Held

JahQuan Bey-Wright, Dialog Coordinator and Peter Willner, Director of InterFaith Works CNY led a full day dialog on August 14th, 2020. 20 trainees attended the sessions held to learn about and explore identity, stereotypes and bias as well as perspective of race and racism. Participants moved through trust-building activities and prompts, large-group conversation, small group dialogue circles and personal reflections. The goal of the activity was to build empathy and understanding for the many different identities that exist in the group and within society which will lead to greater awareness of how language, actions and policy impacts others.

EMPOWER Trainees Continue to Move Forward

Trainees stay connected with each other and our program during monthly EMPOWER POWER Hours. All active trainees participate in monthly virtual events hosted by EMPOWER PI Charley Driscoll and program manager Annie Pennella. Trainees take turns reporting on research progress, any difficulties/challenges encountered working during the shut-down and had some fun with “Caption this Trainee Photo” & “Name that Trainee” contests. 

Trainees Maintain Virtual Presence During Summer

In collaboration with Iowa State’s NRT (@p3iastate) EMPOWER trainees shared their research endeavors over the summer with a “Student Spotlight” on Twitter. Trainees Julianne Davis (@hydro_jules), Laura Markley (@wastefreephd) and Qasim Mehdi (@qasimmehdi91) all participated in this science communication collaboration. Thanks to Ashlyn Rairdin at Iowa’s Predictive Plant Phenomics NRT for inviting us to participate with them.

Trainees Stay Involved & Connected During Shut-Down

Like most universities, SU closed it’s doors for in-person instruction on March 13, 2020 to slow the spread of COVID-19. Students, faculty and staff have worked hard during this time to make the switch to working from home while completing their classes, training and research. Despite the closure, EMPOWER finished the semester strong with visiting speakers and a career panel – distinguished scholars and researchers all. The trainees made the best of the opportunity to spend time with these professionals and also hone their Zoom skills. On Thursday evenings, the trainees and faculty got together virtually for Trivia Night. Hosted by EMPOWER co-I and Earth Science professor Christa Kelleher (with some special guest hosts!), trivia night was a relaxing, fun way for the trainees and faculty to stay connected.

Science Professionals Join EMPOWER for Career Panel

Written by: Eric Deutsch, Qasim Mehdi, Mengyi Zhang and Linghui Meng The EMPOWER program helps trainees prepare for their professional careers regardless of what sector they may choose to work in. For our final class of the semester on May 1st 2020, four seasoned science professionals, Dr. John Campbell (USFS), Dr. Doug Burns (USGS), Dr. Laura Lautz (NSF), and Mr. Curtis Bixler (BHP) joined us for a virtual career panel. During the session, the panelists gave brief introductions and then shared their own career trajectories. During a lightening round, they outlined weekly work routines and provided suggestions on valuable skills trainees should develop to help them in the future. The panelists recommended that the trainees pay special attention to honing their networking acumen as well as their basic science and technical skills.  To conclude the session, they answered specific questions regarding their research and individual professional experiences.