Workforce development activities include four specific tasks that are aimed to build a well trained water workforce in the southeastern region. A summary of our planned tasks and the progress made this year are summarized below.

Task 4.1: K12 Education
K-12 education and “Train the Trainers” program

The objective of this program is to work with partnering agencies to train high school teachers to promote water literacy

Due to COVID, the main “Train-the Trainers” program will be delayed to summer 2022. However, there have been two key developments.

We will host Ms. Felecia Briggins (Greensboro High School in the Black Belt region of Alabama) and Mr. Daniel Wolfe (Echols Middle School which is serving mostly minority students) for 4 weeks to develop lesson plans to incorporate into their classes in Fall 2021.

Plan to hire an undergraduate student to develop a web portal to house all IGM STEM teaching materials.

Develop Environmental Engineering Teaching Modules for K-12 teachers

Graduate students participated in SciREN where they worked on ideas to develop K-12 lesson plans derived from their research and present them to high school teachers; we will continue this effort next year (March/April 2022)

Began to develop engineering modules to improve math and science skills and introduce the role of big data science and the use of programming languages like Python on the field of water resources management (for incorporation into high school summer programs held by universities). Again this program is delayed 15 and will be implemented into high school students starting Fall 2022. The train-the-trainer high school teacher trainees will be leading these efforts.

Task 4.2: Undergraduate Training
Undergraduate minority student training programs related to big data science

Recruit Undergraduate Students

Explored recruiting routes for undergraduate students from the minority institutions within the three EPSCoR jurisdictions.

Researched routes already in place use reputable recruitment strategies from each university.

Connect Undergraduate Students with Internships.

Set the stage for potential undergraduate student internships at various partnering institutions as well as project universities (delayed due to COVID).

Reached out and connected to partnering institutions and will compile opportunities for students for Summer 2022.

Task 4.3: Graduate and Post-Graduate Student Training
Graduate student and post-doctorate education and mentoring

Recruit Graduate Students

Explored recruiting routes for graduate students

To promote diversity, we are recruiting students from the Earth System Science program at Jackson State University (Mississippi) who are already trained in remote sensing, geospatial information systems, and environmental geology as part of their undergraduate degree.

Mentorship/education for grad/post-docs

Began a seminar to connect graduate students and post-docs and to promote unity across all project modules – (seminar 1/month – completed 1 so far)

Establish/introduce the peer-review graduate group

  • Appointed a graduate student from each university to form the “committee” for the peer-review group to organize peer-review meetings

Began to develop a uniformed mentoring plan that involved academia and 25 partnering institutions

Brainstormed new teaching modules on data analytics and modeling that will be incorporated into current undergrad courses

4.4 Early Career Faculty Mentorship
Tenure-track faculty mentoring and early career faculty summer support

Recruit Early-Career Faculty for summer support

Developed a consistent mentoring plan for early faculty across all universities –beginning stages

Use of proven methods to ensure successful mentor/mentee relationship –beginning stages

Mentor Early-Career Faculty

Brainstorm recruiting efforts for the 3 minority/women tenure-track faculty

scholars from an institution that is not directly funded by this project (outside UA,UM, LSU, SU or TU)

Plan to reach out to the following HBCUs in our region: Stillman, Shelton State, Alabama State, Grambling State, Xavier, Jackson State, Alcorn State, and Mississippi Valley State

Recruited Dr. Uma Kannan (tenure-track faculty member) from Alabama State University to teach our students Tensorflow during the summer

Recruited Dr. Pooja Parvathy from the University of Alabama at Huntsville to work with us over the summer.