DataFEWSion Trainee Handbook

DataFEWSion Graduate Traineeship Handbook

This handbook provides general guidance to the DataFEWSion Graduate Traineeship program. For specific questions please address them to                                                                                                                                  Working Draft – October 2020


Welcome to the DataFEWSion Graduate Traineeship program at Iowa State University!

This student handbook provides guidance about important issues related to your participation in the program. For more general information on graduate studies at Iowa State University, visit your program of study graduate handbook or the Graduate College website.

We are honored to have you participating in the program.  This is one of NSF’s graduate traineeship program and we hope you will receive all that is intended in designing the program. We also encourage you to bring questions and comments to the DataFEWSion leadership team at any time.


DataFEWSion Leadership Team:

Sarah Ryan – Lead PI

Dept: Ind. & Manuf. Systems Engineering


Office: 515-294-4347

Robert Brown

Dept: Mechanical Engineering


Office: 515-294-7934

Amy Kaleita-Forbes

Dept: Agricultural & Biosystems Engineering


Office: 515-294-5167

Sergio Lence

Dept: Economics


Office: 515-294-8960

Michelle Soupir

Dept: Agricultural & Biosystems Engineering


Office: 515-294-2307


Because the DataFEWSion graduate traineeship program continually seeks to improve, some changes may occur in this handbook. Students will be alerted to changes, and these changes will be posted on the DataFEWSion website at

Direct general questions to the DataFEWSion program coordinator:

Cynthia Lidtke


Office: 515-294-9095


Table of Contents

DataFEWSion ColLABoration Space_ 3

Room AccessKey_ 3

2624 Conference Room_ 3

Kitchen Space_ 3

Collaboration Space: 3

Technology_ 3

Graduate Certificate_ 3

Coursework_ 3

Procedure for Graduate Certificate_ 3

Petition to add a course to electives_ 4

Transfer credits_ 5

Graduate Learning Community (GLC) 5

Small-Group_ 5

Chairing Meetings_ 5

Peer Review_ 5

Ground Rules_ 5

Workshops_ 5

e-Portfolio_ 6

Requirements/expectations: 6

Potential Artifacts_ 6

Reflection Piece_ 6

Peer Review: 6

Symposium_ 7

Travel grant 8

Eligibility_ 8

Application Process_ 8

Restrictions_ 8

Timeframe for reimbursement 9

Annual Progress Report 9

Reporting_ 9

Deadline_ 9

Progress Report format 10

Other Relevant Information_ 10

Social Media_ 10

Networking_ 10

NSF Annual Reporting and Evaluations_ 10

NSF Acknowledgement Guidelines_ 10

NSF NRT DataFEWSion Proposal 10



Appendix List

Appendix 1: Documents that require signatures

DataFEWSion Trainee Agreement

Photo Authorization Release

Request for Keycard Access (blue)

Appendix 2: Certificate Coursework   Updated Jan 2020

Appendix 3: Core Competencies

Appendix 4: Petition for Course Addition to Electives

Appendix 5: 2019/20 Learning Community Schedule

Appendix 6: Professional Development Framework (working draft)

Appendix 7: Learning Community Small Group Agenda

Appendix 8: ISU Principles of Community

Appendix 9: Acknowledgement of Support

Appendix 10: NSF NRT DataFEWSion Proposal Summary

Appendix 11: Sample Travel Grant Application

Appendix 12: Annual reporting form


Addendum 1: Group Developed Ground Rules



DataFEWSion ColLABoration Space

Location:  2624 Howe Hall

Room AccessKey

Once you have signed the “Request for Keycard Access,” it will take approximately 2 days to process.  You must then go to room 1620 Howe with your ID card to activate it. 

2624 Conference Room

The conference room is also open to you.  There is a schedule near the door that shows reserved times.  If it is not reserved, the use of the room is available to anyone on a first-come, first-served basis.  However, if you need to secure the space, you can make reservations via Cynthia.

Kitchen Space

The use of the kitchen space is available to you.

Collaboration Space:

This is your group’s primary space.  Please be aware of others in the room while you are collaborating.  In the future, on a limited basis, other groups may request use through a reservation process.  Your group will be notified, and it will be posted.


The Media:Scape tables can be connected directly or wireless.  To connect wireless, you will have to download the Virtual Puck software through Steelcase.


Graduate Certificate


The course electives you provided in your agreement was a proposed schedule.  You may select different electives as needed, but they must meet the requirements. I.e. one course from each of the three categories and all three core courses. See appendix 2: Certificate Coursework for when the classes are offered.

Procedure for Graduate Certificate

Basic steps to the graduate college’s process for a certificate.

  1. Complete the “Request to Pursue a Certificate in Addition to a Graduate Degree” (note the graduate college must first approve you for the certificate before completing the POS; this could take a couple of weeks.) 
  2. Complete a POS for the certificate only   These documents were found on the Graduate College website
  3. Upon completion of the coursework or the semester prior to your “final term,” inform the Program Coordinator that you have or will be completing the coursework for the certificate. The program coordinator will submit a “Certificate Completed” signed by the Director of Certificate of Studies

Graduate College abridged instructions. Full instructions can be found at


Petition to add a course to electives

In your traineeship agreement, you proposed a selection of electives.  You may select different electives from among the approved lists.  A current list of approved courses can be found on the DataFEWSion website under certificate.

If you find a course that fulfills the goals of the certificate and should be made available to all trainees, you may request to add an elective course following the policy found in Appendix 4: Proposed Course Addition to the Graduate Certificate in Data-Driven Food, Energy and Water Decision Making Policy.

Transfer credits

The leadership team will consider each request individually.  They will consider the transfer of one course up to 4 credits. 

Graduate Learning Community (GLC)


The purpose of the small group is:

  • to form a community that is prepared to explore and engage in collaborations
  • obtain leadership skills through chairing meets & setting agendas
  • prepare for the workshops and symposiums
  • learn professional development skills through training
  • develop and enhance communications skills through peer review

Following the ISU Graduate Learning Community model, students will meet weekly during the regular academic year for one hour and once a month for 2 hours for the workshop series.  The schedule will be set each semester based on the group’s availability.

Chairing Meetings

Using a rotation, each team member will be responsible for chairing the meetings, including setting the agenda, running the meeting, keeping it on time, and presenting one news/information piece, science-related or not, (approx. 5 min.).  If desired, you may request a peer review to enhance your chairing skills. See Appendix 7: Draft Small Group Agenda.  A template and past agendas will also be located in the DataFEWSion Canvas module.

Peer Review

One of the small groups’ main objectives will be to provide peer review to student work, both research products and elements of the ePortfolio (described below).  A facilitator from the Center for Communication Excellence will meet with the group throughout the year to conduct a peer review of your products. At the first meeting, the facilitator will present the format for the review and explain the best practices of small-group peer review. 

Ground Rules

High performing teams do not come about by accident. The team’s performance is built on a foundation of mutual trust and respect, an understanding of the individual behaviors in the team, and alignment on the common purpose. (Ground Rules for High Performing Teams, Conf. Paper at PMI, 2014)

At the first meeting of the 2019 Cohorts (Sept. 2019), a set of group “ground rules” were established to see addendum 2: Group Ground Rules.  Each year they will be reviewed and revised.  For example, see appendix 8: ISU Principles of Community.


Series 1 workshops emphasize the trainee understanding of and appreciation for the social, economic, and geographic context of the Midwest FEW nexus, in particular, production agriculture, water quality, and bioenergy, as well as helping trainees to understand the unique strengths better that they bring as individuals to addressing FEW issues. 

Series 2 workshops emphasize communication skills to understand diverse audiences and modes of effecting change: entrepreneurship, policy-making, and transformative inter-disciplinary research.



Trainees will cap off their traineeship experience by creating/curating a portfolio that combines academic work from the courses in their Certificate program and research results from their dissertation/thesis work, with reflections designed to transform such materials into broader impacts for diverse audiences. 


  1. Each portfolio will have a minimum of 6 artifacts. Artifacts or links to artifacts should be added to the appropriate assignment located on the DataFEWSion Canvas site in the “e-Portfolio” module.
  2. A reflection piece should accompany each artifact in the portfolio.
  3. Two DataFEWSion peers will read and provide comments on each artifact in Canvas.  Reviewers should recommend items to be included in their LinkedIn profile when appropriate.
  4. Finally, the original author will respond to their comments.


Potential Artifacts(Note: Selection of the artifact should show the trainee’s breadth of knowledge and ability to work & communicate with people in other fields.)

  • Technical report
  • Formal oral presentation
  • Publishable academic doc.
  • Poster
  • Pitch
  • Elevator speech
  • Audio abstract
  • Coursework product
  • Multimedia product


Reflection Piece

The reflection piece should be less than one page.  Suggested Personal Reflection questions:

  • Purpose and context of the artifact. Why did you select it?
  • Describe the intended audience, primary goals, and objectives.
  • How does the artifact reflect your strengths, interests, or career pathway?
  • Describe what you learned from the assignment, paper, or project as related to FEWS.

Peer Review:

The purpose of the DataFEWSion Artifact peer review is two-fold:

  1. Provide feedback to the author as it reflects on their participation in the DataFEWSion program.
  2. Reviewers gain insight into various FEWS related content and the opportunity to interact.

NOTE:  the fact that a paper has been published doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have flaws, conceptual or otherwise. Evidence of this is that many journals publish errata and comments to the original papers. In addition, as it recently happened, it widely publicized COVID19 studies, journals retract articles if warranted. If the review finds flaws, it may provide useful information for the portfolio holder, as they may decide it is better to change the artifact.


Review Guidelines:

Comments should have a professional tone.  You should address the following:

  • How does the artifact meet the targeted objective as listed on the DataFEWSion tracking form below?
  • Is there another outlet (i.e., LinkedIn) that all or part of this artifact could be highlighted in?

Note: you may not be able to validate the science from another field, but you can evaluate the artifact on many levels.

Suggestions on how to do a Peer Review



  1. Artifacts can be submitted at any time and no later than the beginning of your final year’s spring semester in the program.  It is recommended that the semester you take the Certificate coursework, a course product be submitted.  Other products can be submitted if they fit the “targeted objective.”
  2. Within 4 weeks, the peer reviewers should provide a short review of the content related to FEWS and post on Canvas.  The response should include the identification and appropriateness of all or part of the writing that could be placed on LinkedIn.
  3. Within 4 weeks of receiving the review, the author should provide a brief response to the reviewer addressing the reviewers’ comments (added in Canvas).


Artifact Tracking Form


Semester Submitted

Certificate Curriculum Knowledge Area

 Targeted Objective from NSF proposal



ABE 690 Biosystems for Sustainable Development

Understanding of the interactions among food production, renewable energy generation, and water quality (O2.1)



Economics, Policy, or Sociology of FEW

Knowledge of the economic, social, and policy contexts of those interactions (O2.1)



Data acquisition, visualization, and analytics

Effective use of systems modeling to represent & illuminate FEWS interactions (O2.1)



Complex systems modeling for decision support

Ability to use decision science and analytics in FEWS to interpret heterogeneous data from a variety of processes (O2.2)



GR ST 566 Communications in Science

Ability to communicate across disciplinary boundaries (O3.2)




Ability to work effectively in teams (O3.2)

NOTE: The identifier in parentheses is the outcomes and goals of the proposal.


LinkedIn Sections where artifact/product could be located


DataFEWSion Artifacts/Products

LinkedIn Sections

About/ Summary





Volunteer Experiences

Technical report






Formal oral presentation





Sci Comm Fellowship

Publishable academic doc






Poster presentation










Elevator Speech







Audio Abstract/ Highlight





Data Visualization














Each year the workshop series will culminate in a program-wide research symposium, where each trainee will have an opportunity to present their work through presentations and/or posters.  The research symposium will have a focused topic and may include keynote speakers, an interactive student poster session, and/or TEDx-style oral session.  The DataFEWSion Industrial Advisory boards will also be invited.


Travel grant

Each year, the NSF NRT DataFEWSion Graduate Traineeship Program sets aside a portion of the NSF NRT award for trainee travel (including trainee alumni).  The total program maximum amount available per fiscal year is $10,000. 


  • Trainees and Alumni can receive funding once per fiscal year (July 1st – June 30th), and the maximum amount is $1,000.
  • Travel grants are available on a competitive basis. Priority will be given to applicants who have not been funded in the past and those presenting.
  • Funds can be used for scientific conferences, meetings, or symposia as related to the trainees’ degree and research focus.



  1. Open to all current DataFEWSion graduate trainees.
  2. Open to Alumni of the DataFEWSion graduate traineeship program who are in the process of completing their degree and still registered at Iowa State University.
  3. The applicant must be in good standing with the DataFEWSion program. Current trainees must have attended 80% of the programming and be progressing in certificate completion.  Traineeship alumni must have successfully completed all program requirements.

Application Process

Apply online at  Applications should be submitted at least 1 month before the event.

  • Within one week, you will be informed of the decision.
  • Decisions will be based on how the travel is linked to FEWS and the availability of funds.
  • The applicant must follow the ISU Workday reimbursement procedure.


  1. International travel is excluded.
  2. Applicants can be reimbursed only for the actual amount spent for airfare, hotel, and registration fees up to the maximum amount.


Travel Reimbursement

All expenses are reimbursed through a Workday Expense Report. When you return from your travel, you should create an Expense Report in Workday.  For more information and/or instructions on how to create Expense Reports, please visit WorkCyte. You might benefit from taking the Learn@ISU training entitled Creating Expense Reports. This computer-based training is located in the Learn@ISU WorkCyte Finance System Training catalog (search Creating Expense Reports in the search box).

If you are not an ISU employee (no graduate assistantship or not working hourly somewhere on campus), you must email your request for reimbursement to Please use the Travel Reimbursement for Non-ISU Employees form. Attach the completed form and PDF copies of itemized receipts to the email.

All travel expenses must be cash expenditures (Summary of Allowable Travel Expenses in ISU Policy Library). It is University policy that noncash expenses will not be reimbursed (e.g., airfare vouchers, credit card points, mileage points, etc.). Travel expense reimbursement will not be processed until all required documentation has been received and analyzed for meeting funding requirements.   If other travel support programs are funding you, it is expected that you will alert us to the amount.

All funding reimbursement documentation must be submitted through Workday, either by you as an ISU employee or on your behalf, if you are not an ISU employee. For additional questions regarding the Expense Report process, contact

Timeframe for reimbursement

Students will have two weeks (14 days) from the last day of travel to submit reimbursement requests and itemized receipts with proof of purchase on all receipts to be eligible for reimbursement, per Workday.


Annual Progress Report


The information from the report will be incorporated into the annual report to the NSF.


For the DataFEWSion traineeship two-year cycle, all trainees must complete this report annually, at the end of the spring semester.  The reporting period will be from August 15th of the past year through August 14th of the current year.


The report will be due on May 15th of each year. Include any predicted activity through August 15th.

Progress Report format

See appendix 12 for DataFEWSion Trainee Annual Progress Report


Other Relevant Information

Social Media

Please link your LinkedIn, Twitter, and/or Instagram to DataFEWSion – #datafewsion.  Doing so will help in promoting you to other organizations.


DataFEWSion Business Cards are available for you to use as a networking tool.  You may request as many as you would like for conferences or other occasions.

NSF Requirements and Evaluations

One part of the National Science Foundation (NSF) goals is to monitor the program through a comprehensive performance assessment and project evaluation plan. The evaluation is built around project goals and is designed to assess effectiveness and impact, as well as to provide indicators for corrective action to enhance outcomes. Therefore, throughout the year, various short surveys will be conducted and used to adjust programming.  Of course, you are always welcome to make suggestions.

NSF Acknowledgement Guidelines

If papers that you publish or presentations that you give at conferences feature research that you conducted, in part or in full, while supported by the NSF NRT DataFEWSion Traineeship program, it is important to give proper credit to the National Science Foundation. Even if the NSF award did not provide direct financial support for the execution of your research (e.g., costs of fieldwork or lab analyses), the stipend provided support for your time while completing your work and, therefore, should be acknowledged.  See appendix 9: NSF Acknowledgement Guidelines for more details

NSF NRT DataFEWSion Proposal

Summary information of the NSF NRT proposal, appendix 10: NSF NRT Proposal Summary.




Appendix 1: Documents that require signatures

  1. DataFEWSion Trainee Agreement (sample)
  2. Photo Authorization Release
  3. Request for Keycard Access (room 2624 Howe Hall)

Appendix 2: Certificate Coursework   The website has the most up-to-date list.

Appendix 3: Core Competencies

Appendix 4: Request for Coursework Substitution Policy & Form

Appendix 5: Workshop Format (An up to date schedule can be found in Canvas.  Link to a sample Learning Community Schedule.)

Appendix 6: Professional Development Framework (working draft)

Appendix 7: Suggested Learning Community Small Group Agenda

Appendix 8: ISU Principles of Community

Appendix 9: NSF Acknowledgement of Support

Appendix 10: NSF NRT DataFEWSion Proposal Summary

Appendix 11: Sample Travel Grant Application

Appendix 12: Annual Progress Report

Appendix 13: Peer Review Outline


Addendum 1 Group Ground Rules (developed Sept. 2019)