The Fellows Program kicks-off with a one-week orientation session in August at North Carolina State University (NCSU) and a second session at NCSU the following April. These Year 1 sessions and the monthly webinars focus on self-exploration, self-management, creating networks of support (peer, mentor, professional), and improving communication and teamwork skills within an organization. The residential sessions include site visits at agriculture industry locations in Research Triangle Park and meetings with industry scientists and extension leaders including alumni FFAR Fellows.
In Year 2 of the program Fellows have the opportunity to meet in conjunction with the World Food Prize gathering in Des Moines, Iowa (or another university-based location). The Fellows’ spring Year 2 meeting is held in Washington, D.C. This meeting and webinars in Year 2 focus on communicating with policy -makers, understanding the policy process, and exploring careers in the public sector and NGOs. In Year 2 fellows also train to become better mentors and supervisors and how to lead through influencing. They also complete a 360 process whereby they receive largely anonymous feedback from their advisor, mentors, peers, and those they supervise.
The Fellows final in Year 3 has varied, with the most current cohort meeting in St. Louis with with tours of Bayer and the Donald Danforth Center. In Year 3 fellows receive training on creating and managing effective meetings and group and 1:1 assistance in preparing their CV/resume and interview skills for the job search.
Each year fellows complete a Professional Development Plan and have interactions with their mentors (their advisor, and industry mentor, and an additional mentor depending on interests) to identify and achieve their PDP goals. Fellows also receive extensive training on communicating their science in presentation format, poster format, and in the form of a 3-minute recorded talk.