Have you been part of GISER's history? Send us your favorite recollections and/or an update on what you're up to now.
GISER was founded in 2009 by graduate students in the Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship Program (IGERT) of the National Science Foundation. Kate Darby, Thad Miller, and David Iwaniec proposed that GISER would foster collaborative research in a community of motivated graduate students from all departments and backgrounds at ASU. IGERT advisers Ann Kinzig, Charles Redman, and Margaret Nelson and Ed Hackett provided invaluable faculty support in getting GISER off the ground. The first "townhall" meeting of the new group was held in November 2009.
GISER provided this original cohort distinct opportunities on multiple levels: resources to produce interdisciplinary research in the service of environment and society, experience innovating collaborative governance processes within a community-driven organization, and a platform to explore peer mentorship. Several of GISER's core programs -- including workshops, collaboratories, and project funding -- were launched in 2011. The following year, in 2012, the four schools representing GISER's initial core membership -- ASU's School of Life Sciences, School of Human Evolution and Social Change, School of Sustainability, and School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning -- stepped in, along with the Graduate College, to provide generous continuing financial support for GISER students' community-based research and skill- and capacity-building activities.
GISER has received crucial financial and organizational support from ASU's School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning, School of Sustainability, School of Human Evolution and Social Change, School of Life Sciences, and Graduate College.
In the present chapter, GISER is emphasizing the organic, grassroots-driven nature of its most successful collaborations. All activities are organized at the desire and initiative of members via a central listserv, allowing enthusiasm for project-based collaborations to be fostered from the ground up. A core team of active contributors with backgrounds varying from geography, environmental sciences, anthropology, and global health, to social work, engineering, and urban planning provide vision and mentorship for member activities.