Fostering a layered mentoring environment.

Projects such as ours are naturally layered. The faculty and professionals involved in the project are diverse, in terms of scientific discipline as well as gender, race/ethnicity and career stage; more experienced team members (faculty, professionals, postdoctoral scientists and students) will be available to advise early career members, and in parallel, we will make tools, resources and information available, such as the Individual Development Plan (IDP) tool, and tools from the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity. Likewise, we will create opportunities for explicit mentor/mentee training through the student cohorts described below.

Building a postdoctoral scientist/graduate student team.

Our collaborative will involve postdoctoral scientists and graduate students in years 1-5, an essential cohort in the research. We will empower this group, functioning as a team, to develop professionally. We will ask graduate students and postdoctoral scientists to play a guided, but major role in mentoring undergraduates, reaching out to stakeholders, contributing to project website content, and designing our annual meetings and symposia, to gain experience and develop skills they can take into future careers in any sector. To help build a cohesive, cross-cutting team, we will organize webinars to give postdocs and graduate students the opportunity for short presentations and discussion, and will invite other students and postdocs from our respective institutions to join in, on topics that can range from coastal process research to mentoring best practices. Tailored to needs and interests, we will also invite internal/external speakers to discuss topics such as career options in multiple sectors, fellowship programs, and other useful information.

Summer undergraduate research cohorts.

Beginning in summer 2022, we will offer summer undergraduate research opportunities at our CZ Cluster locations in Delaware, Maryland and Virginia, involving 6 student researchers and a communication intern per summer. Six research interns will be placed at our three locations, travel to sites with research teams, take photographs, write, and support our online presence. Students will have a group orientation at the beginning of the summer to ensure that they understand the project as a whole, how their individual projects fit into the big picture, and what to expect from the mentored research experience. Following the orientation, students will go to the various partner institutions for research experience at one or more of our CZ cluster sites. We will engage our undergraduates as a cohort, focused on building research and communication skills. For example, students will receive training and peer feedback on “Lightening 2-minute Talks” focused on their research projects and will deliver their talks at our annual meeting and poster session. Periodically, we will bring in our postdoctoral/graduate student group and faculty to highlight interesting problems or research findings, and to serve as a panel for the undergraduates.

Enriching Graduate and Undergraduate Education.

Project research will enrich teaching at multiple institutions, adding new dimensions to existing and new courses. This will include field instruction in which we use the CZ Cluster sites for hands-on demonstration, such as Univ.’s Field Methods in Soil-Water-Air(Seyfferth) and Hydrogeology (Michael) and University of Maryland’s Agroecology (Tully). We will also incorporate project activities and findings into the Boston University's Marine Program’s Estuaries and Coasts (Fagherazzi) and Virginia Institute of Marine Science MSCI 698( new course development by postdoctoral scientists).