Diverse and Talented GDW2017 Participants

In sharing the intensive GDW2017 experience, our 24 participants coalesced into a ‘think tank’ resource, working together and forming a new innovative network strengthened by their diverse expertise.  All will be co-authors on a publication that will summarize ongoing issues and future directions featuring genomic solution for wildlife disease.

The GDW2017 workshop was limited to 24 participants, competitively selected by a 3-member committee from a highly qualified applicant pool, in order to facilitate an optimum learning experience using hands-on computer analyses of data from host and pathogen genomes.  We welcomed international participants from Nepal, Ecuador, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia and researchers from across the United States. Overall, the GDW2017 participants (15 women and 9 men) included 11 faculty and other wildlife professionals; two post-docs, four PhD or DVM/PhD within one year of completing their program; and seven graduate students at various stages of completing their PhD or DVM/PhD programs.  An additional eight auditors (senior graduate students and post-docs) were selected from a coalition of research groups linked with the NSF grant that was the basis for developing the workshop  (National Science Foundation Award #1413925, PI Sue VandeWoude).

GDW2017 Participants, Speakers & Organizing Staff

Participant Survey Results

The organizing team of GDW2017 is pleased to report participant survey outcomes for the inaugural workshop event.  A post-event anonymous survey was conducted using the online SurveyMonkey tool between June 12 and July 11.  Twenty-four participants and 8 auditors were asked to provide scores for different aspects of the workshop using the scale:

5 (Outstanding)                  4 (Excellent)                 3 (Good)                       2 (Fair)                          1 (Poor)

Twenty-six respondents (21 participants, 87.5%, 5 auditors, 62.5%, 81.3% overall) provided feedback.  Overall results were extremely positive, provided excellent feedback, and encouraged organizers to plan a second workshop for June 2018.

Survey Highlights:

1) Overall Impact: GDW2017 scored between Outstanding (5.0) and Excellent (4.0) for overall scientific quality (4.7), value for networking (4.5), educational content (4.2) and venue (4.8).

2) Logistics & Planning: Twelve aspects regarding: pre-workshop communication with participants, travel and registration, website, meals, accommodations, computer support & workstations, and other basic logistics implemented by the workshop organizing team (Jill Pecon-Slattery, Sue VandeWoude, Joe Strecker, Mark Stenglein and Edit Szalai) received a weighted average of Excellent (4.1).

Special recognition and high scores (Excellent to Outstanding 4.7) goes to Joe Strecker and his IT team for their meticulous preparation, software implementation and testing, network and internet access, and onsite presence to ensure the flawless performances of the 29 MacBook Pro computers that were an essential and unique feature of the workshop format.

3) Core Instruction: Our team of Core Instructors (Mark Stenglein, CSU; Bob Fitak, Duke; Jill Pecon-Slattery, CSU/Smithsonian; and Chris Funk, CSU) and our special Guest Instructor Jim Wilgenbusch (Minnesota Supercomputer Institute) scored between Excellent and Outstanding (4.4) exhibiting great ‘esprit de corps’ adjusting for all contingencies.  These rankings are especially impressive considering last minute withdrawal by our 5th Core Instructor (due to emergency surgery).

4) Special Invited CSU faculty: Our special segment featuring exciting ‘Flash Talks’ in morning seminars by invited CSU faculty who are using genomics in their own real-world projects of wildlife diseases, were overwhelmingly well-received with favorable comments from 23 of 24 respondents.

5) Evening Plenary talks from Invited Experts: All 24 respondents offered strongly positive comments supporting our invited evening plenary experts from other institutions using genomics to advance our understanding of current pandemics in wildlife (Christine Krueder Johnson of UC-Davis and the global surveillance PREDICT2 program; Kelly Zamudio of Cornell University and amphibian decline due to chytridiomycosis; Jeff Foster of University of New Hampshire and the white nose epidemic of bats across USA and Canada).

Questions? Email us at CSU_gdw@mail.colostate.edu.