Each Rockey FFAR Fellows cohort meets five times during the 3-year program and engages in 10 webinars per year. All sessions and webinars are designed to advance student non-technical skills and knowledge. The Fellows Program kicks-off with a one-week orientation session in August at North Carolina State University focused on self-assessment and self-discovery. In the spring of their second year Fellows meet in conjunction with the University Industry Consortium, a group of agriculture and life science companies and universities, in locations across the U.S. In the fall of year 2 Fellows meet for the second annual residential session focused on working within systems. A meeting in D.C. in spring of year 2 is focused on policy communications and working at the intersection of government, industry, academia, and NGO sectors. In year 3 fellows meet a final time for networking and training across cohorts.
The residential session was amazing, I loved it – all the introspective sessions to figure out how you want to have a career and how to work, I had never spent time on figuring those things out. I also love how all the fellows work in different areas but all related to food. I’d never been to a conference like that – there’s no competition (whose paper is better, etc.), because we all research different things.
I really enjoyed the NC State session and meeting the fellows. When you are a grad student, it’s hard to be intentional when you are trying to multitask. Having that long stretch of time and to be able to remove yourself from your grad studies and really focus on the fellowship. I really liked the emotional intelligence and personality tests – I thought that was a good way to begin the program and learn how to work with others.
The first residential session was amazing – I think just being thrown into a room with a lot of really smart people who also care about the Earth and the future of humanity and feeding everyone, and all these things that I really care about…. but sometimes I feel like when I talk to others about it, it falls on deaf ears. It’s exciting to meet a lot of people who have those same goals and aspirations, especially when I was feeling a little dejected in my goals, and maybe even thinking that it’s time to let this go. It re-inspired me to be a part of the change I want to see in the world.