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Zoom meeting screenshot of six participants

DMV Regional Node Meeting – October 21, 2023

The D.C., Maryland, and Virginia (DMV) Regional Node held a faculty-focused professional development event on Oct 21, 2023. In this virtual workshop, faculty from our Node spent a half day having quality discussions about curriculum and pedagogy. Specifically, we walked through a curriculum developed by Dr. Rivka Glaser related to analysis of conserved domains. Portions of this curriculum were designed for intro level students, while others were designed for advanced students. This led to a conversation about course design for students at different levels. These active, hands-on discussions were capped off with a short planning discussion about things our Node would like to achieve in the coming year.

All participating Node members had a hand in planning the event, but special thanks goes to Dr. Rivka Glaser for sharing her curriculum, Dr. Christy Fleet for helping to refine our schedule and guiding questions for pedagogy discussion, Dr. Matt Wawersik as Node Leader and lead organizer for the workshop, and Sarah Crocker-Buta, Dr. Melinda Yang and Dr. Norma Velazquez for additional help with event planning. 

What worked well for your event that might help others plan similar events?

Node organizers began planning well ahead of time. This allowed discussion on what the faculty really wanted to talk about, and adaptation of the schedule so that the event could be pulled off. It also allowed for distribution of the workload. 

What would your Node do differently based on your experiences?

Not much differently for this event, even though it would have been nice to have more satellite Node members show up. This didn’t happen even after some individual contacts, and it made for a high quality and fun discussion with core members. For the future, regular events with a smaller/active group might feel repetitive if done without students, so alternating years with an in-person event with undergrads participating, and then faculty focused events the next year is a good plan. For faculty focused events, Node leaders might consider inviting another Node and have a multi-Node event to get insight from GEP members outside our Node.

Group photo of student participants

DMV Regional Node Meeting – September 17-18, 2022

The GEP’s D.C., Maryland, and Virginia (DMV) Regional Node held its Fall 2022 Regional Node Meeting on Saturday, Sept 17th at the University of Richmond. A total of 30 engaged students and faculty participated, in our full day in-person event, from the following schools: Catholic University, Radford University, Community College of Baltimore County, Stevenson University, Emory & Henry College, William & Mary, and the University of Richmond. 
Faculty from three GEP projects were represented (i.e., F Element, Pathways, and Parasitoid Wasps), and undergraduate students had the opportunity to share results and lessons learned from their GEP annotation projects conducted through GEP Course-based Undergraduate Research Experiences (CUREs). Emily Oh, a student reconciler at Washington University in St. Louis, joined us to give a virtual talk about the “Next Steps in Gene Annotation.” There were afternoon sessions where students and faculty reviewed GEP curriculum, and then research talks by faculty. The event then retired to Bryan Park to bond over BBQ and lawn games. A Sunday morning hike at Belle Isle with faculty and friends helped further build the community; most of whom were meeting for the first time in person! This couldn’t have been done without a great group of motivated students and faculty brought together by the common cause of the GEP!!!

What worked well for your event that might help others plan similar events?

General organization was good, with a morning session that included student talks preceded by a short faculty intro of the different projects. After lunch, there was a working group to examine the curriculum, and then the event concluded with short faculty research talks about other work that might not be GEP related. The morning session worked particularly well. For this, 3 GEP projects were represented by faculty, so it was great to hear about them, and the student experiences. This session was capped off by a virtual talk about next steps in annotation from Emily Oh. She’s an undergrad who has worked on F-element reconciliation, and showed some specific data related to repeat elements. Ending with this talk provided a great perspective to understand what happens to submitted projects after they leave our hands.

What would your Node do differently based on your experiences?

The Node event organizers wouldn’t change a thing from the morning session, though not sure there should be such a student focused event every year. The afternoon sessions were a bit crunched for time, which caused the event to run behind and shorten breaks a bit more than was ideal. There also wasn’t much time as a faculty to meet and discuss curriculum as hoped. For the future, the Node Leader would like to expand time spent on a curriculum hack-a-thon by faculty.