FEW Graduate Scholars Program

We are looking for the graduate students, post-docs, and outstanding senior undergrads for Transdisciplinary Challenges for the Food-Energy-Water Nexus to cultivate an interdisciplinary peer network, develop teamwork skills and a CV-ready product as you explore solutions to a 'wicked' problem.

This is the opportunity for the graduate students, post-docs, and outstanding senior undergrads to gain experience in Transdisciplinary Challenges for the Food-Energy-Water Nexus. Participants’ are teamed up to tackle one of the three challenges:

What? A multi-disciplinary team of land-grant university faculty is designing graduate student experiences to help students successfully contribute to team-based approaches for addressing
these complex challenges. They are creating “The INFEWS-ER” A Virtual Resource Center Enabling Graduate Innovations at the Nexus of Food, Energy, and Water Systems.

The Community Cohort Challenge is one of the first of several practicum experiences for engaging graduate students in experiences to apply both their technical and soft skills for addressing a wicked challenge. These Virtual Resource Center will connect graduate students from diverse disciplines and locations through both virtual and face to face learning experiences.

Who? Graduate students in either M.S. and Ph.D. programs and graduates in post-doc positions are encouraged to consider this learning opportunity.

When? The Community Cohort Challenge is expected to start between mid-September and October 1, 2018, include a face-to-face experience in March 2019, and conclude by May 1, 2019.

Where? Students will experience most of the Community Odor Cohort Challenge virtually
through online web meeting room technology, Google Drive, and Moodle. One three day face-to-face gathering is anticipated during March 2019.

How Much Time Will I Commit (speaker – best guess of 5-hour time commitment)?

  • Identifying one or two important references valuable for students
  • Preparation of 20-minute presentation
  • Engaging with students in their development of CLD and providing feedback
  • We may host a discussion with speakers in advance to visit about cohort challenge and how we want speakers to interact with the cohort.
  • Create a cohort challenge problem relative to the value of mitigation.

How Much Time Will I Commit (student)?

We are designing this to be roughly equivalent to a three credit hour course for those on a semester system (4.5 credit hours for those on a trimester system). We encourage students to work with their advisor to build this into the student’s academic plans as a 3-credit hour special problems course. A full course syllabus and description are available for documentation requirements.

What are the outcomes?

Nutrient Loss Reduction, Recovery, and Reuse Outcomes

  • Students will develop a working knowledge of the complex interactions leading towards nutrient loss, particularly in food and agricultural systems
  • Students will identify strategies for reuse and recovery of nutrients
  • Students will consider the pitfalls and opportunities for the use of regulation to mitigate losses

Livestock and Local Community Outcomes

  • Students will develop a framework (template) for an odor management plan for a specific farm or set of farms, with a potential that it could be used as generic for other similar applications. Cohort could focus on one aspect of an operation (e.g., land application). Visibility (trees vs. manure injection). Economic analyses. State/local conditions/regulations. ISO 14000 standards to odor management, quality control. Draft a county ordinance.
  • Students will draft a county ordinance, the management plan for a planning commission addressing community odor.
  • Students will interview and/or participate in an existing or former ad-hoc committee involving members from all sides, find out about speakers involved (have there been sociologists, engineers, economists involved)? Students will review court depositions and trial testimonies that are accessible to the public.
  •  Students will develop a working knowledge of complex connections related to community odor.
  • Students will map and communicate their community odor model to a lay audience.
  • Students will individually create an educational product (short video, 1-page fact sheet) that delivers fundamental information appropriate for a lay audience on one topic or component of the AMPAT.

Managing Carbon in a Dairy System Outcomes

  • Students will develop a working knowledge of the complex connection of carbon cycling within a dairy system resulting in both production of human-edible products and transformation of nutrients from non-edible carbon sources, carbon use in soil, as well as carbon losses potentially associated with odors, greenhouse gases and organic compounds emitted to water resources.
  • Students will collaboratively map and communicate their dairy carbon model to a lay audience delivered through the Virtual Dairy Farm website developed by scientists involved in the Dairy Coordinated Agricultural Project (http://wpsudev2.vmhost.psu.edu/virtualfarm/explore)
  • Students will individually create an educational product (short video, 1-page fact sheet or other product) that delivers fundamental information appropriate for a lay audience on one topic or component of the Dairy Carbon Model.

Interdisciplinary Outcomes

  • Students will gain an understanding of concepts specific to Systems Thinking;
  • Students will communicate effectively across disciplines using a visual model;
  • Students will apply principles of “High Performing Teams” in establishing their own interdisciplinary team addressing the Community Odor Challenge;
  • Students will recognize the importance of engaging stakeholders and consider their perspectives in the proposed community odor model.

If you are interested, you can fill the application form below.

FEW Graduate Scholars Program Aplication Form