Community of Graduate Scholars

The Community of Graduate Scholars (CGS) is a year-long, one-credit course that brings together the paid Research Assistants working under the supervision of investigators at the Decision Center for a Desert City. The course gives our Graduate Research Assistants the opportunity to gain skills and become leaders in transdisciplinary approaches to research, policy, and community engagement. Each CGS student works on a research team that includes faculty members as well as graduate and undergraduate students; this collaborative environment provides them with the intellectual depth necessary to contribute to DCDC’s research. The program is structured to build dialogue, thought, and action across disciplines.

Under the direction of Dr. Kelli Larson, Director of Education and Mentoring, students in CGS share their team’s research with their peers and others at DCDC through regular meetings and participation in Briefings and other events. Through the CGS seminar course, students become familiar with the issues, perspectives, and language of the researchers within DCDC, as well as with issues that emerge from interdisciplinary collaborations within and beyond the university. With the following goals in mind, students will:

  • gain a broad understanding of DCDC research activities and how it is practiced across different academic disciplines
  • develop a unique intellectual identity and voice in sharing research with scholars from diverse disciplines and backgrounds
  • improve scientific communication and presentation skills, especially in interdisciplinary and professional ‘boundary’ settings that span the science and policy spheres
  • contribute to DCDC as a boundary organization liaison by engaging with researchers and community partners at monthly Briefings and other events

As a part of CGS, students have the opportunity to participate in the annual conference of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, among other professional networking and skill-building activities.

Through this program, we apply mentoring that embodies six core competencies, as outlined by the National Postdoctoral Association (NPA, 2014): 1) discipline-specific conceptual knowledge, 2) research skill development, 3) communication skills, 4) professionalism, 5) leadership and management skills, and 6) responsible conduct of research.

DCDC 2012-2013 Community of Graduate Scholars with Dr. Margaret Nelson
2012-2013 Community of Graduate Scholars with Dr. Margaret Nelson

2015-2016

  • Danielle Chipman, pursuing her M.S. in Sustainability
  • Yujia (Cindy) Zhang, pursuing her Ph.D. in Geographical Sciences
  • Rhian Stotts, pursuing her Ph.D. in Anthropology
  • Ruby Upreti, pursuing her Ph.D. in Civil, Environmental, and Sustainable Engineering

2014-2015

  • Aneesha Bhat, pursuing her M.S. in Computer Science
  • Jorge Cazares, pursuing his M.S. in Hydrology
  • Danielle Chipman, pursuing her M.S. in Sustainability
  • Margaret (Meg) du Bray, pursuing her Ph.D. in Anthropology
  • Skaidra Smith-Heisters, pursuing her Ph.D. in Environmental Social Science
  • Eric Kennedy, pursuing his Ph.D. in Human and Social Dimensions in Science and Technology
  • Yola Wong, pursuing her Ph.D. in Engineering
  • Yujia (Cindy) Zhang, pursuing her Ph.D. in Geographical Sciences

2013-2014

  • Jorge Cazares, pursuing his M.S. in Hydrology
  • Eric Kennedy, pursuing his Ph.D. in Human and Social Dimensions in Science and Technology
  • Rashmi Krishnamurthy, pursuing her Ph.D. in Public Affairs
  • Laurel Kruke, pursuing her M.A. in Sustainability
  • Jacelyn Rice, pursuing her Ph.D. in Sustainable Engineering
  • Jose Rosales Chavez, pursuing his Ph.D. in Global Health
  • Skaidra Smith-Heisters, pursuing her Ph.D. in Environmental Social Science
  • Yujia Zhang, pursuing her Ph.D. in Geographical Sciences

2012-2013

  • Julia (Chrissie) Bausch, pursuing her Ph.D. in Sustainability
  • Jorge Cazares, pursuing his M.S. in Hydrology
  • Jose Rosales Chavez, pursuing his Ph.D. in Global Health
  • Lauren Withycombe Keeler, pursuing her Ph.D. in Sustainability
  • Rashmi Krishnamurthy, pursuing her Ph.D. in Public Affairs
  • Rebecca Neel, pursuing her Ph.D. in Psychology
  • Jacelyn Rice, pursuing her Ph.D. in Sustainable Engineering
  • Victoria (Kelly) Turner, pursuing her Ph.D. in Geography
  • Manikandan Vijayakumar, pursuing his M.S. in Computer Science

2011-2012

  • Julia (Chrissie) Bausch, pursuing her Ph.D. in Sustainability
  • Geetali Dudhbhate, pursuing her M.S. in Computer Science
  • Gretchen Hawkins, pursuing her M.S. in Hydrology
  • Lauren Withycombe Keeler, pursuing her Ph.D. in Sustainability
  • Rashmi Krishnamurthy, pursuing her Ph.D. in Public Affairs
  • Rebecca Neel, pursuing her Ph.D. in Psychology

During the Fall Semester 2010, the Community of Graduate Scholars:

  • Submitted a successful proposal to organize a special section on Decision Making Under Uncertainty (DMUU) at the AAAS 2011 conference’s general poster session. Graduate students at DMUU centers will present their work which characterizes uncertainty, develops strategies and tools for decision making, and proposes strategies that can be used to engage with decision makers in problem-solving activities and sustainability.
  • Had posters from eight CGS students, featuring their individual research projects, accepted for the DMUU section of the AAAS poster session.
  • Developed their annual group project and drafted its research prospectus, “Lasting effects of interdisciplinary exposure: graduate student response following work in an interdisciplinary seminar.”

During the 2010 Spring Semester, graduate students will continue work on their group project by writing and administering surveys to assess what effect participation in CGS has had on previous graduate students after they finished their work at DCDC. The project will culminate in a written report submitted to DCDC. Additionally, students will be refining the research posters they will present at the AAAS conference in Washington, D.C. in February 2011.

(L to R) Becca Neel, Gretchen Hawkins, Geetali Dudhbhate, Chrissie Bausch