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AEESP Conference 2019

Equity in the Job Search: Tools to Successfully Navigate the Academic Job Search and Promote Gender Equity in STEM, Contacts: Bridget Hegarty, Yale University and Desiree Plata, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

To help women overcome barriers in the academic job search, our event will provide practical “how-to” advice on both navigating the job search and overcoming gender bias’s effects. Our workshop will be open to individuals of all genders and career stages, as limiting the demographic of attendees fails to address all angles of gender bias. Using a data-guided approach, we will increase awareness of implicit bias and impart critically needed methods to surmount these challenges in a university setting. Ultimately, we seek to impart the idea that everyone benefits from, and can act to cultivate, inclusivity. We propose five parts: (1) Grounding in the latest research on gender bias in academia (30 min); (2) A practical overview of the academic job search (60 min); (3) Implicit bias’s impacts on a job search and strategies to reduce these effects (30 min); (4) Gender’s influence on mentorship and tools to seek good mentors (30 min); (5) Actions to search, recruit, and retain diverse faculty at the department level (30 min). This workshop is based on a symposium developed at Yale University (now in its 3rd year), which has been heralded for a combination of practical advice with a data-driven discussion of bias. Attendees reported that the workshop augmented awareness of gender bias in their departments, and AEESP is the ideal format to propagate this transformative work. Attendees of our workshop will leave with: (1) Knowledge of implicit bias research and tools to overcome bias, (2) Resources for navigating the job search.

Inviting Environmental Engineers to Tackle Problems of Global Peace and Security, Contacts: Mira Olson and Joseph Hughes, Drexel University

Participants will be introduced to the concept of Peace Engineering as an effort to create, enhance or invent engineering systems that reduce the impact of violence and conflict on society. Peace Engineering has been presented by several government, NGO and academic institutions (e.g., USIP, BuildPeace, and Drexel University) as the integration of engineering and peacebuilding. However, as a newly emerging field, the way in which peace engineering can best support the reduction of violence, and reduce the drivers of conflict, is not well known. Are the tenets that guide good environmental, humanitarian and development engineering sufficient? Or, does working towards building institutions and infrastructure that enable communities to resolve conflict nonviolently require new approaches? In this workshop, participants will consider the social, cultural, emotional and systemic harms produced by violence, conflict and forced displacement, and envision how engineering approaches may be applied to address the challenges and priorities of distressed communities where rates of violence are most acute (e.g., post natural disaster, refugee camps, disadvantaged neighborhoods and regions recovering from war). Workshop attendees will work through a facilitated case study in which conflict influences the outcomes of engineering design and vice versa. Participants will then help identify the skill sets, best practices and research questions that will guide the emerging field of peace engineering, and the role for environmental engineers in its development.

Multivariate Polynomial Response Surface Analysis, Contact: David Vaccari, Stevens Institute of Technology

Multivariate Polynomial Regression (MPR) is an approach to data modeling that produces tractable equations to describe complex relationships. “Complex” means having nonlinear responses, including interactions and curvilinear, or even “chaotic” behavior. MPR performs as well as artificial neural networks (ANNs). But it produces models that are closed-form algebraic equations that are easily communicated or manipulated, such as by taking derivatives, incorporating into other programs, or analyzed graphically. ANNs are often described as “black box” models, which are difficult to use in these ways. The workshop uses free online software called TaylorFit. It runs entirely client-side in a browser; there is no need to download or install anything nor to create an account. It is at: The data requirements of this approach are any numerical information that can be collected into a spreadsheet with two or more columns of data, with one column depending upon the others. Each row represents a single set of measurements. If the data were collected at fixed intervals (e.g. daily or annual), then the dataset is analyzed as a time-series. Attendees may bring their own data to analyze during the workshop. They will come away with a model of their data. Topics: Overview of MPR Response Surface Analysis (for a preview see the 23-minute presentation at; Data wrangling; Stepwise MLR using TaylorFit; Goodness-of-Fit and graphical examination of fit; MPR response surface analysis; Cross-validation and final validation; Linear time-series analysis; Polynomial time-series analysis; Sensitivity analysis; Modeling tips and pitfalls.

NSF CAREER Workshop, Contacts: Rosa Krajmalnik-Brown and Matt Fraser, Arizona State University

This workshop will include an overview of the NSF CAREER program, perspectives from NSF, panel discussion and question and answer session with NSF CAREER awardees, and breakout groups to share and discuss audience concepts for CAREER proposals.

Opportunities for Research Funding from the Environmental Research & Education Foundation: Panel on Industry Challenges and Perspectives, Contact: Stephanie Bolyard, Environmental Research & Education Foundation

This workshop will include an introductory presentation on EREF’s proposal submission and review process and a panel discussion from current and former PIs that will speak to current industry challenges and perspective. The introductory presentation will also provide guidance on topics that have been successful at obtaining funding and suggestions on how to develop a more competitive pre-proposal. The panel will be structured as an open discussion and the organizers will seek questions from attendees in advance of the workshop.

Science-Based Role Play Simulation for Engaged Decision Making – A Dam Negotiation Application, Contact: Weiwei Mo and Catherine Ashcroft, University of New Hampshire

Participants of the workshop will negotiate with one another to explore dam management options and reach consensus on a dam decision for the fictional Pearl River and its tributary, Mill Creek. Participants will be assigned to play the role of a particular stakeholder and are required to bring their own laptops to run a web-based dam management simulator. The workshop will include three phases. The first phase will introduce participants to the Pearl River context, including the conditions of its dams, the key stakeholders, the interests and dam-related issues most important to the stakeholder role they have been assigned, and the web-based dam management simulator. In the second phase, participants will negotiate with one another with the goal of reaching consensus decision acceptable to all parties and a funding plan for realizing the management solution. Participants are encouraged to be creative in designing their solutions. Finally, participants will engage in a facilitated discussion to reflect on lessons learned from the negotiation and the system dynamics model. The discussion will be geared towards identifying opportunities to foster communication between scientists and decision makers, learning, creativity, and policy innovation.

Structured Reviews are Necessary to Translate Research into Practice and Policy, Contact: Daniel Oerther, Missouri University of Science and Technology

This face-to-face preconference workshop at AEESP2019 is envisioned as a critical second-phase of a three-phase process. In phase-one – completed online in the winter of 2019 using a “flipped classroom” approach with materials already prepared by the workshop organizers –participants selected for the workshop will identify a guiding question for their review based in the Grand Challenges and Opportunities in Environmental Engineering for the 21st Century (NAP, 2018), and participants will conduct a search of the published literature following the PRISMA approach to create a collection of research articles for further analysis. In phase-two –completed face-to-face at AEESP2019 using “active learning” guided by the workshop organizers – participants will share with their colleagues the experiences, impressions, and results from phase-one, and participants will use available tools, demonstrated by the workshop organizers, to evaluate the quality of published literature. In phase three – completed in the summer of 2019 using “peer-to-peer mentoring” facilitated by the workshop organizers – teams of participants will complete the evaluation of literature collections with expert input from the workshop organizers, and these evaluations of literature collections will be used to co-author structured reviews answering the original guiding questions selected to advance our understanding of the Grand Challenges and Opportunities in Environmental Engineering in the 21st Century. These co-authored structured review articles will be submitted as a collection for consideration for publication in Environmental Engineering Science or via another mechanisms within AEESP.