The National Science Foundation (NSF) Research Traineeship program at The University of Texas at Austin prepares students from diverse backgrounds to become future leaders in the STEM workforce, address the most complex energy and water challenges for agriculture, and fill knowledge gaps in this research area.
The INFEWS Scholar Program has four components to provide students with the skills necessary to tackle complex societal problems:
- Complete interdisciplinary coursework through the food-energy-water-systems portfolio program, including a sustainable agriculture summer course with our partners at Prairie View A&M University.
- Engage in experiential learning, explore relevant food-energy-water (FEWS) topics, and more by participating in the weekly seminar with team/cohort
- Develop communication and job preparation skills through the career development portfolio program
- Conduct cutting-edge research and focus on critical challenges at the FEWS nexus
The INFEWS Scholar program trains students for varied career options in academia, laboratory research, consulting, entrepreneurship, government, private foundations or nonprofits.
INFEWS Scholars will have broad training in systems analysis, as well as fundamentals related to water and energy needs for agriculture. This also includes deep foundational training in a chosen focus area, e.g. system optimization, solar voltaic cells, microbial recovery of metals from wastewater.
To create a new educational paradigm that equates water to energy, involves system level analyses of energy and societal barriers for new water sources, and advances scientific discovery of new materials, processes, and energy sources to eliminate these barriers and create transformational solutions for water-stressed agricultural lands.
- Develop a new model in STEM education at UT Austin that combines experiential learning to motivate and inform student choices in education, research, and career. Graduates will cultivate unique skills and motivation for lifelong success in the global workforce.
- Develop a new educational program that directly supports and informs research activities, and fills fundamental knowledge and professional development gaps at the food-water-energy (FEWS) nexus.
- Develop innovative solutions and tools through interdisciplinary research that address the most challenging energy and water needs for agriculture.
- To enhance graduate student and workforce diversity in STEM through recruitment and mentoring, and by motivating educational and research goals with experiences that impact agricultural communities.
- To institutionalize the proposed education and professional development programs at UT Austin to enhance STEM education and research.
To ensure the success of the INFEWS Scholar program and overall student experience, assessment and evaluation will be regularly conducted by Burd’s Eye View, an independent consulting firm in Austin that specializes in STEM educational evaluation.