Presentation #502.10 in the session “Plenary Panel: Workforce Townhall”.
Past studies have shown that the scientific output of a mission may be substantially enhanced by increasing participation in mission science activities. The purpose of the Dragonfly Student and Early Career Investigator Program is to formally extend opportunities for students and postdocs to participate in Dragonfly science activities and investigation development. The program’s overarching goal is to encourage broader participation on planetary mission teams by making it easier for students who do not have a connection to Dragonfly or other missions to gain mission experience. In addition to augmenting mission science, this Dragonfly program serves as an “on-ramp” to provide networking opportunities for early career researchers and to expand training of the next generation of mission team members and leaders. Building continuity on mission science teams, while ensuring that the next generation of researchers are being mentored and trained, is particularly important for the long-duration missions to the outer solar system. The initial phase of the Dragonfly Student and Early Career Investigator Program is open to graduate students at U.S. institutions. These students will have the opportunity to participate in mission Phases B-D (investigation and science analysis in support of mission and instrument development) and Phase E (Titan surface approach and operations). Applications were widely solicited to facilitate participation of groups that have been historically underrepresented in planetary science and on planetary mission science teams. The selected students, who represent a broad range of STEM disciplines, will be mentored by Dragonfly team members and faculty mentors from their home institutions. In this presentation we will review the structure of the Dragonfly program and introduce the inaugural graduate student cohort.