Training Core Announces New Action Team Model

Trainees attending STEEP Colloquium in Spring 2020.

Taking over the STEEP Training Core are Drs. Elsie Sunderland, Project 1 Lead, and Angela Slitt, Project 3 Co-lead, and with them they are bringing some fresh ideas to the STEEP training curriculum. An exciting new program in the Training Core is the introduction of “Action Teams,” which are organized around different extension themes, and allow STEEP trainees to work on applied aspects of their research through education, outreach, or policy. Each STEEP Trainee will be on one of four Action Teams, and be able to further develop their professional training beyond their research. STEEP trainees have been active in CEC outreach activities from STEEP’s beginning but will now expand to a host of options. The  main driver for the development of these teams was from the trainees themselves requesting more responsibility and hands-on involvement by applying their knowledge gained throughout their STEEP experience. 

Team 1 will focus on developing curriculum materials for high school students. Trainees will develop an online toolkit on environmental pollution that can be integrated into a high-school curriculum. One activity idea would be an introduction on mass spectrometry using PFAS as a case study, making the topic exciting for a teenager and explaining how mass spectrometry works. Team 2 will be a continued interface with the STEEP Community Engagement Core, focusing on presentations and outreach with the public and community stakeholders. Trainees will be more involved in planning STEEP Science Day activities and presenting at public, community events.

Trainee Jitka Becanova at URI Graduate School of Oceanography Open House in 2019.

In Team 3, trainees will work with the STEEP Research Translation Core, further developing their web and social media presence. Trainees will have the opportunity to create content for videos, podcasts, flyers, the STEEP website, and write blog updates on their research, current events, and PFAS community impacts. Team 4 will focus on public policy support, where trainees will assist with regulatory briefings, science translation for decision-makers, and comments on proposed regulations. Trainees will work with STEEP principal investigators, who are frequently involved in regulatory proceedings and state advisory committees for proposed PFAS drinking water standards. STEEP trainees are expected to join the Action Teams in mid-fall of 2020.