Ag & Natural Resources Leadership Fellows

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Ag & Natural Resources Leadership Fellows

Ag & Natural Resources Leadership Fellows

Leadership Fellows

  • 2015-2016: Zach Frenzel
  • 2016-2017: Kyle McCarthy
  • 2017-2020: Tracy Melvin
  • 2019-2021: Clara Graucob
  • 2020-2021: Alex White
  • 2021-2022: Liz Stebbins

Zach Frenzel (2015-2016)
Zach Frenzel not only served as the first Agriculture & Natural Resources Leadership Fellow, he was selected to be the first ever Fellow after participating in the 2014 Leadership Academy. Zach conducted several needs assessment in the College, finding that graduate students in several departments did not feel their home departments were a cohesive as it related to research, scholarship, and sense of community.  He used the results of those assessments to inform his work strengthening the community of graduate students in CANR by hosting department-specific events to facilitate inter-departmental connections. Zach also worked closely with Graduate Student Organizations (GSOs) and departments on leadership frameworks, enabling both groups to state that they felt Zach helped them make significant progress towards becoming a more unified team.

Kyle McCarthy (2016-2017)
Zach’s work to facilitate communication and collaboration among the GSOs, departments, and stakeholders that shape graduate students’ lives within the college served as an inspiration for Zach’s successor, Kyle McCarthy, the 2016-2017 CANR Leadership Fellow. Kyle leveraged results from the survey that Zach distributed to GSO leadership as well as his connections with leaders from nine of CANRs GSOs to identify the need for a CANR-specific GSO handbook to facilitate greater collaboration & engagement among the groups. Kyle ended his Fellowship by giving a presentation about his findings and the handbook draft he and other CANR leaders developed to the graduate program directors.

Tracy Melvin (2016-2020) | Coordinator (2020-2021)
Zach and Kyle’s diligent work building relationships within the college and with the Institute laid the foundation for Tracy Melvin to organize CANR Rising in 2018, an event where Tracy brought in a panel of respected CANR faculty and administrators to vulnerably share their lived experiences with overcoming failure. Her event had a significant impact on both the graduate students involved, who commonly suffer from Imposter Syndrome and feel that failure is not an option, as well as on the presenting faculty members, who reported that the process of sharing helped them better understand their past experiences and shifted their ways of thinking about failure. Though Tracy’s second CANR Rising was unfortunately cancelled due to COVID-19, she was determined to not let her work with the Institute come to an end. She was brought on as a Co-Coordinator of the Leadership Institute from 2020-2021 and was instrumental in reshaping the Fellowship’s curriculum and structure.

Clara Graucob (2019-2021)
Tracy’s success with the CANR Rising event during the 2017-2018 helped secure funding for an additional Agriculture and Natural Resources Leadership Fellow, Clara Graucob. As an international student from Germany, Clara recognized the lack of congruence between the resources provided to international grad students by the Graduate School and the Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS). After distributing a survey to international graduate students in 2019 regarding the accessibility and publicity of resources intended to ease their transition into the American education system, Clara leveraged iteach.msu, a collaborative educational resource-sharing platform developed by Institute Co-Coordinator Makena Neal. Clara’s playlist, “Resources for new Spartans,” serves as a one-stop-shop for resources to help new Spartans transition into life at MSU, addressing topics such as housing, grocery shopping, social activities, nature/outdoor activities, postal services, health care, insurance, mental health, IM sports teams, navigating campus, and many others. The dedication, thoughtfulness, and drive evident in Clara’s work and her approach to leadership enabled her to develop connections with Office of International Students and Scholars and secure an assistantship, through which she will continue supporting international grad students at MSU.

Alex White (2020-2021)
Alex White conducted a Field Safety Week for graduate students who enter the program with different levels of comfort in forested environments. Alex designed the training to serve as a risk mitigation intervention that would prepare students with the basic skills needed to conduct field work safely. The trainings included hitching and backing a trailer, safety concerns for field researchers from underrepresented backgrounds, overview of safety equipment, snakes of Michigan, land navigation, and self-defense. The field safety week also included the opportunity to get a Wilderness First Aid Certification with the Great Lakes EMS Academy. Alex worked with Lauren Noel, Kelly Millenbaugh, Laura Bix, and CANR Diversity Office to organize logistics, secure funding, and recruit speakers. In a post-event survey, participating grad students said the training made them feel safer in the field and expressed an interest in participating in the training again. Alex continues to promote a culture of field safety in the department as she completes her program.

Liz Stebbins (2021-2022)
Liz was interested in finding ways to connect graduate students, old and new, to community resources within and external to MSU. She worked with College of Education Fellow, Sarah Galvin, to create plans for a “Community Orientation” to help get new graduate students engaged in their local community. They connected with the Center for Community Engaged Learning and the Office for Public Engagement and Scholarship, as well as several Lansing and East Lansing-area organizations. They made plans for an involvement fair that they hoped to launch in the Fall of 2022 where they would invite members of the community to come meet interested graduate students.

Posted by:
Emma Dodd The MSU Graduate Leadership Institute
#graduate students #leadership #storytelling