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Cultivate Your Intrinsic Motivation

Most career advice is centered on extrinsic rewards - achieving tenure, or publishing in "the best" journals. But it is clear that intrinsic rewards are even more important in the long run to staying motivated and happy in one's career. Figure out what rewards matter to you and then shape or find an environment that will provide those.

The following are quotes from geoscience education researchers on professional activities that bring them joy, the need for patience when initiating change, and the value community in their GER career. These quotes are just a glimpse of the wealth of advice and career reflection that can be found in the Idea Papers submitted by participants in the 2016 GER workshop.

Find professional activities that feed your soul

You're the one who gets to plot your professional path. Pursue the activities that give you the most satisfaction and a sense of mission.

"From... very positive experiences with engaged teachers, my interest in education innovation and understanding instructional effectiveness was sparked and never diminished."
Cultivate Partnerships to Build Your GER Career, Sharon Locke (Southern Illinois University Edwardsville)
"After doing a summer internship at HBCU Norfolk State University I realized that I loved research and I was passionate about addressing the problem of minority underrepresentation in the sciences."
Traveling in Multiple Worlds: Geoscience, Education, and Research, Nievita Bueno Watts (Oregon Health and Science University)
"The ability to have an integrated career that included GER became both the motivation and the glue for how I could be happy and productive in my career."
Integration and Collaboration are Keys to a Productive and Joyful GER Career, Kristen Ellen Kudless St. John, (James Madison University)
"A huge advantage to working with these [inter-institutional GER research] groups is that I am constantly stimulated by different people and a wealth of ideas and expertise. This makes my job much more fun."
Virtual Brownbags to Expand a Community of Practice, Katherine Ryker, (Eastern Michigan University)

Remember Rome wasn't built in a day

Success in GER, as in many research fields, typically requires a long-term perspective. Time and resources are perpetually in short supply, so it's important to focus on what can be done right now to build on what has come before and lead to what will come next.

"Incremental improvements, no matter how small, are far better than no improvements at all. Make at least some thoughtful changes every time you re-teach a course."
Research into Practice: Always Something You Can Do, Steven Semken (Arizona State University)
"... it has become increasingly clear to me that traditional academic disciplines (and the natural sciences in particular) have strong cultural norms that can both help and hinder our ability to bring science to a broader societal audience and to our own students. Being aware of those norms, willing to question them, and open to the norms of other disciplines may be a first step towards closing gaps between science and society."
Closing the Gap: Geoscience Education and Education Research to Bring Together Science and Society, Juliette Rooney-Varga (University of Massachusetts Lowell)
"Widespread adoption of GER results by practitioners is likely to be slow. By implementing systematic teaching experiences, like paired-teaching, for new geoscience faculty (or pre-faculty), we may be able to speed the transition."
Spreading evidence-based practices through paired teaching, Sara Harris (University of British Columbia)
"It is a large task to redesign a class, so start small."
Bringing InTeGrate Modules into the Community College Classroom, Elizabeth Nagy-Shadman (Pasadena City College)
"While I am working to transition into GER, it seems that my new interests are also serving as an asset to the seismology community."
Metamorphosis: Transitioning into GER, Stefany Sit (University of Illinois Chicago)

Seek out friends and colleagues in GER

Lone practitioners of any discipline face challenges it can be difficult to overcome alone. Having to "do everything yourself" and feelings of isolation make success harder to achieve. So connect with like-minded colleagues; in GER, in education, in geoscience. Beyond mentoring relationships, the social support of a community is an important factor in both quality of life and career success.

"One of those 'giants' in the field, whom I had never met, invited me to eat lunch with the GER group after our session. More significantly, several of them were very encouraging to me as a new researcher. Their simple kindness enabled me to view myself as someone who could become a part of the GER community."
An Alternate Path into GER, Kim Cheek (University of North Florida)
"...I did not have a clear idea about how to take the next step to get into GER. So at the next GSA meeting, I simply approached people who had GER research posters and asked for their advice on how to get into the field."
My non-linear path to a GER career, Scott Clark (University of Wisconsin Eau Claire)
"If I work to surround myself with genuinely nice colleagues and treat them as well as I possibly can personally and professionally, then I'll achieve professional joy."
Earth Science Teacher to Geoscience Researcher, Daniel Dickerson (East Carolina University)
"...this study will require a qualitative method which I am unfamiliar with. I... will be using this year's [EER] event to find collaborators with experience in qualitative methods and in cognitive science."
GER at a teaching-focused university, Heather Lehto (Angelo State University)

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