The Midwest North Regional Node held its third in-person meeting at Loyola University Chicago on September 16-17, 2023. This meeting included 16 GEP Midwest Node faculty, 8 undergraduate students, a prospective GEP faculty member, and two keynote speakers: Dr. Sara Lipshutz (Duke University) and Dr. Alondra Diaz Lamerio (University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez), who joined us virtually via Zoom.
The two day event included research talks from both the faculty and undergraduates, as well as panel discussions around curriculum and implementation.
The keynote presentation from Dr. Alondra Diaz Lamerio focused on the new Puerto Rican Parrot Project and was followed by a walkthrough of the related curriculum, led by Dr. Don Paetkau (Saint Mary’s College). The keynote presentation from Dr. Sara Lipshutz focused on the use of genomics to explore female aggression in birds. The meeting wrapped up with a planning session for future Midwest North Regional Node events.
What worked well for your event that might help others plan similar events?
There was a mix of events that included presentations, opportunities for talking about curriculum, and learning about new curricula (such as the Puerto Rican Parrot Project). This encouraged discussion over meals. It was also very helpful that Dr. Jennifer Mierisch’s (event organizer; Loyola University Chicago) department assisted with room reservations, which was made possible because students from the university were included in the event.
What would your Node do differently based on your experiences?
Recently, the Midwest North and Midwest South Regional Nodes were combined into a single Midwest Node, making the geographical area that the Node encompasses even larger. The Node leaders feel that it is good to continue having the meeting location move around the Node, as the Node covers a large geographical area, in an effort to promote more faculty participation over time.