Carolinas New Member Training
December 2020

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“This could not have been more than what I needed” was the comment of Jeffrey French from North Greenville University in South Carolina on the last day of the workshop. Dr. French was one of nine trainees that completed the New Member Training Workshop of the Carolinas Regional Node and his comment could not have been more perfect to encapsulate the feeling that this was a successful workshop. Everyone walked away feeling empowered and with plans to implement. Who was everyone?

  • Dr. Eric Goff, Midlands Technical College
  • Dr. Jeffrey French, North Greenville University
  • Dr. Karen L. Baracskay, Tri-County Technical College
  • Dr. Kristen Delaney Nguyen, Fayetteville State University
  • Dr. Mara Robu, Furman University
  • Dr. Maria Fadri, Wake Technical Community College
  • Dr. Mark Dugo, Johnson C. Smith University
  • Dr. Robert K. Reid, Meredith College
  • Dr. Taek H. You, Campbell University

We were thrilled to have three of our trainees coming from community colleges, contributing to one of the goals of our IPERT grant. One of the institutions is a HBCU and another one an all-women’s college.

This was the inaugural event for the Carolinas Regional Node after the COVID-19 pandemic canceled the one we had planned for Spring 2020. We debated the dates and format and finally settled for the tried-and-true 15 hours over two weeks online training that Drs. Catherine Reinke and Jenny Mierisch perfected over the summer. They both were very helpful providing resources and advice, and Catherine met with us as we were in the planning stages and she also attended some of the training.

We had the privilege of having Dr. Laura Reed do the “Introduction to GEP” on the second day and Katie Sandlin gave the tour of the new GEP website that she and Wilson Leung developed on day seven. Katie also developed a terrific webpage for the training to keep everything organized and accessible at the click of a link. In the colors of the GEP, the training website had the same professional look of our new GEP website. Chinmay Rele created an awesome video for us to use for recruiting new members for the workshop.

The participants were really appreciative of the resources and support, and they bonded together. On our last day, Taek reflecting on the working days together, said: “do you realize that we were strangers just last week and now we are part of this group, supporting each other?” Mark shared a bioinformatics exercise he developed around SARS-CoV-2; we discussed having a symposium-like event next year at the end of the summer with our students; and Kristen also suggested a hackathon type of event for our students. Everyone was feeling energized and we, the trainers, were happy.

Our thanks go to everyone who helped with planning, developing, and executing. Laura, Katie, Wilson, Chinmay, Catherine, and Jenny. We could not have done it without you!


The Carolinas crew: Me (Marisol Santisteban), Indi Bose, Michelle Eller, Cathy Silver Key, Vida Mingo, Scott Tanner, and Catherine Ward.