UMD Kicks off National Future STEM Leaders Meetings

UMD Kicks off National Future STEM Leaders Meetings

A ground-breaking National Science Foundation (NSF) program designed to advance the development and implementation of new, interdisciplinary models for STEM graduate education and training will hold its inaugural meeting at the University of Maryland on Monday May 2 and Tuesday, May 3.  This meeting will serve as the kickoff for further discussions on innovations in training future STEM leaders at an event in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, May 4 that features leaders from academia, government and industry.

Hosted by the University of Maryland, the NSF Research Traineeship (NRT) program’s first annual meetingwill bring together for the first time students, faculty, and program coordinators involved in the 18 teams to which the NSF has awarded grants for the development of innovative graduate training and education programs. According to NSF, these teams “represent some of the most creative approaches to STEM training and are drawn from diverse fields across the United States.”  

During the two days at UMD, the teams will share ideas, develop strategies for long-term success and hear from experts in STEM training.  These sessions will be discussion-intensive and focused on sharing ideas and innovative practices to improve the program and its preparation of NRT trainees. Then on Wednesday, May 4, the teams will participate in Future STEM Leaders, a national-level discussion on the future of STEM training held at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C. 

This Future STEM Leaders event, co-sponsored by the National Science Foundation and the University of Maryland, will feature panelists from universities, government agencies and industry, who will examine the changing demands of STEM research and careers; the most promising innovations in training that have emerged in leading programs around the country; and the challenges of scaling up these innovations to transform graduate education across institutions and disciplines.  Event panelists include UMD’s Gregory Ball, dean of the College of Behavioral and Social SciencesBonnie Thornton Dill, dean of the College of Arts & Humanities and Wolfgang Losert, associate dean of the College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences.

NSF Research Traineeship program

Launched in 2015, the NSF Research Traineeship (NRT) program is designed to encourage the development and implementation of bold, new and potentially transformative models for STEM graduate education and training. The NRT program includes two tracks: the Traineeship Track and the Innovations in Graduate Education (IGE) Track. The Traineeship Track is dedicated to effective training of STEM graduate students in high priority interdisciplinary research areas through the use of a comprehensive traineeship model that is innovative, evidence-based, and aligned with changing workforce and research needs. The Innovations in Graduate Education Track focuses on test-bed projects aimed at piloting, testing, and validating innovative and potentially transformative approaches to graduate education.  IGE projects are intended to generate the knowledge required for their customization, implementation, and broader adoption.

The program now has made awards to 18 teams through a highly selective competition. One of these teams is the language science team at UMD that is developing a cross-training model that encourages team-based research and science communication focused on linguistics, computer science and psychological and neural sciences. The integrated approach is designed to equip future leaders with broad skills necessary to adapt for diverse careers in STEM, academia, communications and policy.

April 29, 2016


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