Creating an Interdisciplinary STEM Training Experience

A university in New York State was awarded a five-year, $3 million National Science Foundation Research Traineeship (NRT) grant that will prepare masters and doctoral students in STEM fields with the technical and professional skills needed to excel in their respective fields. The program, Education Model Program on Water-Energy Research (EMPOWER), takes an interdisciplinary approach, as students are trained in the most cutting-edge practices related to communications, public policy, management, and law to help them communicate findings to a diverse group of individuals and stakeholders.

Hezel Associates serves as the third-party evaluator for the grant, working collaboratively with the university to create a comprehensive mixed-methods evaluation. We are assessing the implementation of the project to provide formative feedback that will help to improve program activities, as well as measuring student outcomes, to determine the success of the project. Our evaluation will also identify any promising practices that could be shared with a broader audience to inform other interdisciplinary graduate training initiatives.