Superfund Research Program
Research Experience and Training Coordination Core
Studies and Results
The OSU Training CORE offered a wide range of activities for their SRP Trainees during this reporting period. Some highlights of these activities include:
- Professional development activities:
- Grant writing workshop – 12 weeks, 28 total Toxicology trainees including all SRP Trainees
- Research Day: Annual one-day event planned, organized and hosted by the Trainees. This annual event consists of a keynote lecture by invited speaker, additional lectures by OSU faculty, and a competition for platform and poster presentations by EMT and SRP trainees. Major emphasis on SRP projects. 150 participants in 2014. Keynote lecture presented by SRP project leader from another institution.
- Interviewing/presentation skills:
- Several OSU SRP trainees competed in the May 2013 Inaugural Oregon State University Scholar's Insight Competition which required students to publically present a 3 minute summary of their research to a lay audience and panel of judges. SRP Trainee Andy Larkin won 2nd place in this competition for his presentation: Air, asthma, and apps.
- Training, short courses, continuing education:
- An innovative new course titled "Communicating Science and Risk Beyond Academia" was developed and offered for the first time during the Fall of 2013 Term. 44 graduate students from multiple OSU graduate programs, including all SRP Trainees completed this novel new transdisciplinary seminar, which was offered through a novel collaboration by members of the RTC, CEC, and Training Core.
- Seminar series:
- The monthly Toxicology seminar series focusing on the broad field of environmental toxicology. Speakers were selected and invited by the toxicology program Trainees Association, which includes all SRP trainees. Both internal and external speakers, usually focused SRP relevant research. One-hour seminar followed by lunch for the guest speaker and trainees for discussion and networking.
- Establishment of (new) interdisciplinary collaborations between trainees and networking opportunities
- Summer Softball team including members from the Toxicology, Chemistry, Public Health and Zoology graduate programs was sponsored by the SRP/Toxicology Graduate Program
- Student Centered Outreach and Education Activities: (TEAM Tox/SRP Trainees) offered 7 outreach and education events for K-12 students visiting the OSU campus; 2 hours in duration and of hands on learning exercises developed primarily by the trainees themselves. A total of 203 visiting K-12 students participated in learning modules including topics such as dose-response determinations using yeast, DNA isolation, and principles of mass spectrometry. This activity provides Trainees experience developing instructional materials and teaching. Trainees developed proposal and received grant funding of $1000 from the OSU E.R. Jackman Alumni Club to support these training exercises.
- SRP Trainee Evening Colloquium: "SRP Trainee Collaboration Initiative": A new trainee-centered monthly, 2-hr trainee-centered colloquium focused entirely on SRP related research, outreach, and training and professional development activities. Trainees will focus on developing interactions and collaborations with other SRP Training programs. Initial activities may include a Tox Trivia competition between Trainees at multiple sites; cooperative outreach and education activities to K-12 students; group SKYPE conversations with trainees from other to share research results and challenges.
- The Trainees Association organized an inaugural weekend Trainee Retreat during fall 2013. All Toxicology Trainees (including the SRP Trainees) spent the weekend camping at a regional state park. The agenda included team building activities, campfire discussions on topics including; biochemistry, toxicology: trials and tribulations of graduate school; core courses for Trainees. Each participant also presented a brief description of recent research accomplishments or first year experiences. 16 trainees participated (4 post docs, all first year trainees, 4 second year students, 3 senior students).
- Graduate student and post-doctoral recruitment activities:
- Recruited for graduate students and post docs via the Departmental and SRP web pages; faculty seminars at other institutions; participating in SOT UG Minority Student Program; established a new summer undergraduate research program to target students from underrepresented populations; actively recruited at NMSU via new partnership with this HIS.
The OSU Training Core is affecting a paradigm shift from traditional highly prescribed training curricula to a more flexible, personalized training more appropriate to the needs of the next generation of scientists and potential Superfund investigators. This is especially important in view of the ever-increasing rates of change in all scientific disciplines, the increasingly competitive environment of research funding, and the requirement that the next generation of scientists develop a skill set of lifelong learning and professional development to be both competitive and adaptable. The OSU Training Core is emphasizing student-centered active learning in order to matriculate graduates with highly integrated and trans-disciplinary skill sets who can work at the interface between traditional fields and nucleate interdisciplinary collaborative studies to solve complex environmental problems and develop science-based risk analyses.