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AI2EAR Kickoff Recap

Hello Network Members,

We started off the new year by hosting the AI2EAR Kick-off Meeting. Thank you so much to everyone who was able to join and participate. There were great discussions on the technology/knowledge gap, broadening participation of the networks, professional development of students, and ways to engage with AI2EAR in the future. If you weren't able to make it to the virtual meeting, the meeting recording and an executive summary is attached here for you to view. Please post any thoughts you have in the comments below and we hope to see you at future AI2EAR meetings.


AI2EAR Kick-Off Meeting Summary

Number of Registrants 30

Participating Networks

RP-TDA Network NU-TECH Network

FFAR Network RIKEN Network

AM RCN Network PFR Network

RisenEnAg Network BIGG Facts Network
CCRP Network Friday Institute Evaluators


Technology/Knowledge Gap Discussion

Directed by Cranos Williams, Lead of RisenEnAg Network.
  1. What do you see as current needs that are not available?

    1. Resources that are more widely used among disciplines

    2. Data sharing abilities

      1. Gap in rural communities

        1. Hubs in different communities where people can access these things more easily

      2. Expanding technological capabilities in terms of data access, ID new types of technologies, development of data mules using drones to get info from one place to another

      3. With this network we can lean on some of the programs that are already going on a the university

    3. Importance of working with expert biologists for communication purposes

    4. Data collection has different levels of quality

    5. Visualizing data, visualizing types of data, diff between raw and cleaned data and having underlying structure that would allow us to diff between that

    6. So much data

      1. Store and share architecture

      2. Communication to the broader audience

        1. Thinking about with students, comm training, create a prezi about data aspects and glossary terms so that the terms are for recognizable

      3. Aspects of best practice surrounding data are available, but not as many standards. This would/could be a first step along with the goals we want to achieve

        1. Utilize aspects of best practices with standards and protocols

      4. Have well defined terms, and utilize students as a vehicle for these practices

Broadening Participation Introduction

Directed by Dr. Terri Long and Ms. LaTosha Bradley with the NC State University Office of Inclusion.
  • Providing diversity and inclusion training opportunities for AI2EAR Network Members

  • The goal is to drive excellence in Engineering, Plant Sciences and Agricultural Research by creating an inclusive environment for students.

  • Key Components

    • Initiate involvement at affiliate institutions that support a sustained culture of inclusivity through recruitment, attrition, and retention programs

    • Connect and engage talented students: low income, underrepresented minorities, minority serving institutions, community colleges, and military involvement

    • AI2EAR Graduate Bridge Program

    • CALS ODI Collaboration: DEI Training opportunities

    • Facilitate student and PD career development: Research symposia conferences


  1. Which if any marginalized/minority communities (e.g. the black community, women, LGBTQIA, etc...) do you believe are least included in decisions about basic sciences, engineering, and agricultural research?

    1. All of these groups, but in different magnitudes. Finding where these differences are would be a great next step so that we can target those groups more specifically

  2. Should there be a prioritized focus on increasing inclusion of certain marginalized/minority communities or should the goal be to give all historically marginalized communities equal inclusiveness increasing focus.

    1. US Demographics are continuously changing

    2. How do marginalized groups compare across locations and states?

    3. Key Idea: recognize communities that are not generally included and create a space where people can come and find info about their specific group

  3. Which diversity and inclusion programing initiatives have you found to be most effective in improving inclusion of communities considered marginalized in the institutions with which affiliate most?

    1. The ones that have been the most effective are the ones that engage champions, recruitment, are long-term, support students

      1. Identifying strategies to keep people engaged has made the most effective programs

    2. When there is a dedicated sponsor/person for a set amount of years, those programs tend to be more successful because that person brings with them a history of what has worked and what hasn’t. It is a more sustained type of effort.

  4. Which diversity and inclusion program elements have you personally noticed that have had the most positive participant response? (e.g. including food at the programming event, having lecturers speak at the programming event, combining the programming event with other ongoing activities, making the programming event an overnight event, etc....)

    1. Those with student and postdoc opportunities, lectures of interest, and ways to be active in the space

    2. Students seeing it as a development opportunity compared to social event

Professional Development Introduction

Lead by Dr. Rebecca Dunning, director of professional development.
  • Students can have vast knowledge and leave the university as an expert, but could graduate without the ability to communicate properly their expertise/research to businesses and scientists outside their field

    • Could graduate without skills to mentor and collab with others

    • Training for these skills: Done in context of peer cohort with mentors

  • Proposal: Virtual and in-person webinars annually

  • Key Components:

    • both personal and professional assessments

    • Focus on interpersonal and communication skills

    • Mentoring while supervision

    • Working in teams

    • Project management

How to Engage

Lead by AI2EAR Project Manager, Mariah Gobble
  1. AI2EAR Fellows (student and postdoc) professional development training

    1. Students will train to become better communicators, better leaders, and better team members during an annual professional development meeting.

  2. AI2EAR Research Mini- Grant Award Program

    1. Providing funding for selected students and postdocs to travel to and work in a Network member’s lab for 3 months each summer

  3. AI2EAR Travel Funds for Student/ Postdoctoral Fellows

    1. Funds are available to support students and postdoctoral fellows traveling to conferences, workshops, or collaborator institutions.


Network contact information is available on the website.

More information about these opportunities will be provided shortly.


Contact Information

Project Manager, Mariah Gobble -

AI2EAR Website -

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