- Author: Wendy Powers
The conference was hectic. The INTJ in me came out when I went back to my room to grab my bag before checkout; a part of me just wanted to sit in the dark for a bit and process everything. But I didn't. Instead I attended a focus group to talk about program evaluation; sharing approaches and challenges. The group, approximately 12 persons, was comprised of people from across program areas including the nutrition programs, the small farms programs and 4 economists.
Earlier that day I stopped into a data party. If you saw anyone running around with birthday party hats on, that's likely where they had been. I had never been to such a thing. The focus was around the award- winning Youth Retention Study. During the party, participants took a gallery walk to review data and then they reviewed a data placemat. While there wasn't cake, there were streamers and party horns. Contact Kendra Lewis #kendramlewis for her experience with data parties; everyone was definitely having a great time!
A number of people stayed after the end of the conference to participate in the New Academic Cohort meeting. While a number of participants were close to 4 years with ANR, 2 had been with ANR for only 2 weeks. You can imagine, then, the variation in needs. But also apparent was the willingness of the 3 to 4 year employees to help their new colleague and provide tips related to documenting things that later go into ones PR and how to navigate things like travel reimbursement. We had good discussions about hiring staff and left with a list of topics for upcoming conversations and calls. John Fox, Katherine Webb-Martinez, Mark Bell and Katherine Jarvis-Shean put together a great afternoon. If you fit the ‘new academic' definition (4 years or less) and haven't yet been involved, give it a try.
I ended the week with a number of ideas that will make things better and/or easier for people across ANR. These are the low-hanging fruit. I will see what we can accomplish and how soon. I took much of the weekend off from ANR work and instead spent time in the garden. There's definitely a down side to owning a property with beautiful gardens. My allergies are glad to be back to work.