Mentor, Graduate Student Peer Mentorship Program and the Graduate Academic Achievement and Advocacy Program's M.E.N.T.O.R. Program 2015-2016
These two programs are dedicated to empowering and retaining historically underrepresented undergraduate and graduate students.
The "GSPMP" is a two-fold training and mentorship program. We attend workshops that build our mentoring skills to support our fellow graduate and professional students as well as the undergraduates who work alongside us.
The GAAP's M.E.N.T.O.R. program is a mentoring initiative that guides and supports undergraduates who are interested in higher education through mentorship and graduate and professional school workshops. I'm currently working with two students from diverse backgrounds.
Board Member and Students for One Health Representative, One Health Commission
2015 - present
The Charter of the One Health Commission is to 'Educate' and 'Create' networks to improve health outcomes and well-being of humans, animals and plants and to promote environmental resilience through a collaborative, global One Health approach.
I am a voting member of the board elected to represent the environmental realm of one health. My role in this organization is not only to serve as a fresh student voice but also to help share the one health approach with more scientists and promote awareness about the importance of the environmental component in one health research.
The OHC is one of the largest networks of one health-minded individuals in the world. Along with my peers, we're launching several student-lead intiatives to advance one health research including several op-ed pieces, a mentoring program, educational materials, and an integrated social media campaign to disseminate one health news and resources.
Executive Director, The Cabell Brand Center
Non-profit organization for Global Poverty and Resources Sustainability Studies
I was priviledged to be part of a dynamic group of dedicated volunteers striving to make a difference for both our local, and larger global, community. The primary goal of the CBC is to facilitate educational opportunities and engage the public in relevant scientific topics such as water and energy conservation.
In August of 2013, I was lucky enough to join a collaborative team on a trip to the Mbale region of Uganda to assess land use, water quality and access, and consult on agricultural practices. While there I worked with team from the VMI Chapter of Engineers Without Borders to train locals in building powerless water biofiltration systems to ensure a constant supply of safe drinking water.
In July of 2013, the Center proudly hosted the conference titled "Poverty Today: Challenges and Opportunities" prompted by the 50th anniversary of the War on Poverty. The event successfully engaged educators, politicians, social servants, and community members in open, honest conversation on the status of poverty in America today.
The first honor society focused on interdisciplinary research in the United States.
In 2010 I joined a grouped of inspiring and motivated graduate students who are passionate about the challenges and benefits of conducting interdisciplinary research. We bonded over this passion and became determined to create an organization which could promote and facilitate interdisciplinary research not only within the constraints of traditional academia but in applied science as well. IDR was officially founded and inducted its first members in 2011.
We proudly hosted two university-wide events which engaged students, faculty and administrators in solving modern-day wicked problems integrating each of their respective disciplines. In addition, we hosted a interdisciplinary research symposiun showcasing the exceptional, cutting-edge integrated research at Virginia Tech as well as several seminars on overcoming barriers to becoming an interdisciplinarian.
IDR sparked revisions to the "student experience" as well as curricula at Virginia Tech by participating in the prestigious strategic planning process for 2012-2016 and has since opened additional chapters of IDR at other universities.
A university-wide mentoring program by the Graduate Student Assembly of Virginia Tech
"GUMP" was created to provide mentoring for undergraduate students who are considering graduate school. I redesigned the existing program to include a shadowing component to immerse students in the day to day research of graduate school and foster long-term relationships with their mentors.
In it's pilot year, the program mentored 15 undergraduates paired with more than 40 graduate students enabling mentees to rotate through two or three research groups that interested them. Student participation was not limited to the hard sciences but included soft science and professional degree programs as well.
The program has been successful and continues to grow under the care of new, passionate graduate students.
A nonprofit conservation organization in Chobe, Botswana
I was fortunate to join an engaging research group for my graduate degree which formed this non-profit organization in the local community where they conduct research. CARACAL is committed to the conservation of wildlife and improving the livelihoods of communities that must live with this resource.
As part of their outreach program, CARACAL runs a biodiversity center which hosts school children from all over the district. This is especially important to community engagement in conservation efforts, education on the value of wildlife, and inspiring young scientists.
While conducting field work in the region, I assisted with animal husbandry of the wildlife in their care and educational activities with the school children. The snakes were always the most awe-inspiring creatures for children and adults!