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SGCI helped build EcologyPlus with customized areas for career development

SGCI's Extended Developer Support (EDS) consultants worked with Teresa Mourad of the Ecological Society of America (ESA) to build a new gateway called EcologyPlus on the HUBzero platform. EcologyPlus offers students and recent graduates from underrepresented minority groups with year-round mentoring and career resources.  

After attending the inaugural Science Gateways Bootcamp in April 2017, Mourad submitted a request for EDS support to get EcologyPlus going. About the experience of working with EDS, she says, "We are very grateful for this EDS support without which this project may not have gotten off the ground." 

EcologyPlus was featured in HUBzero's most recent newsletter. You can read the full text below.

EcologyPlus connects diverse college students and early career scientists with timely and relevant career opportunities
By Claire Stirm

EcologyPlus offers students and recent graduates, from underrepresented minority groups, year-round mentoring and career resources.  Led by Teresa Mourad, Ecological Society of America (ESA) and George Middendorf, Howard University, with a network of 13 other dedicated partners, the idea for EcologyPlus was inspired by ESA’s SEEDS program, a diversity mentoring program limited to undergraduates only. With EcologyPlus, mentoring and career resources are made available to undergraduate, graduate students and recent graduates. EcologyPlus also promotes a wide range of careers transcending academic research to include options in all sectors.

“When students and mentors register on the Hub, they indicate the interests they have on a checklist.  This allows students to select a mentor based on their interests readily,” says Teresa Mourad. Teresa went on to say that, “through the mentorship program, mentors and mentees meet monthly by phone, video-call or, in-person, where feasible.” The EcologyPlus hub provides a career self-assessment tool and space to archive highlights of these conversations so that both mentor and mentee can track the progress of mentees’ career development goals.  Students also have access to a list of ecology opportunities such as internships, workshops, and other networking opportunities. Soon, EcologyPlus will allow the program to issue digital badges for completing engagements that enhance their careers. For example, students are encouraged to share their science or research work with the public via channels like social media and can receive a badge if they demonstrate that they have completed this task.

“The platform allows us to combine a lot of different ideas, versus using different tools in different places,” says Teresa. She realized that HUBzero would provide the functionalities envisioned by the project while attending the first Science Gateways Bootcamp in April 2017. Fellow Bootcamp participants had recommended using the platform based on the needs of the program. Teresa used the Science Gateways Community Institutes’ Extended Development Support to set-up EcologyPlus and build several critical customized areas such as the career development goals and the “Opportunities in Ecology” list. “We are very grateful for this EDS support without which this project may not have gotten off the ground,” said Teresa. 

EcologyPlus is currently supporting students in the Baltimore-Washington, D.C. area in its pilot phase. EcologyPlus plans on inviting other cities to be a part of the project, in the phase of the project.

To learn more about EcologyPlus, visit https://ecologyplus.esa.org/.


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