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Student Professional Development Series

This virtual workshop series is aimed for collegiate student members and early career professionals. Learn from experts in natural resources, conservation, and related STEM fields working toward a more sustainable world. Open to all! You don't have to be a MANRRS member to join.


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Please watch the recordings of our Professional Development Series below.

Branding U

Session 4


Ms. Yai Vargas


February 23, 2023




Yai Vargas, aka the LinkedIn Ninja is a career & diversity consultant. She helps professionals gain clarity on their personal brand and encourages thought leadership with authenticity. Having been on LinkedIn since 2006, she was an early adopter and can help optimize your profile, find your next role and share your subject matter expertise with confidence. 

With a background in diversity & multicultural strategy, Yai is a natural born community builder and has designed professional development programs for corporations, nonprofits & universities. 

Yai also founded The Latinista, an organization for Latinas and Women of Color invested in career and leadership development. The Latinista has chapters in NYC, Miami, Chicago and California.

Thriving at work & school

Session 3

Dr. Fátima Sancheznieto


January 26, 2023 




Dr. Fátima Sancheznieto completed her PhD in Biomedical Sciences through an NIH/Oxford fellowship that was funded by an HHMI Gilliam fellowship. She studied blood stem cell formation during embryogenesis and developed protocols for deriving them from pluripotent stem cells in vitro. During her PhD years at Oxford University she became an advocate for healthy and supportive lab environments and joined the board of directors of the advocacy organization, Future of Research, of which she is now the President. As part of that advocacy work, Dr. Sancheznieto has sat on a working group at the National Institutes of Health tasked with providing recommendations on the NIH’s Next Generation’s Researcher’s Initiative.

After a two-year postdoc at UW – Madison studying STEM training environments and programs, specifically for postdocs and graduate students, she became an assistant researcher on the same team, continuing her work on curricular development, training evaluation, and institutional change.

Financial Literacy 101

Session 2

Ms. Penny Gomez


October 20, 2022 



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Ms. Penny Gomez (Money Penny) is a presenter, financial coach, recruiter & business owner.

Penny Gomez works with a financial services company helping families achieve their financial goals. Helping families protect their income, eliminate debt, plan for retirement, and accumulate wealth. She does “How Money Works” presentations. Learn about the “rule of 72”, debt stacking, mutual funds, and of course “how money works”.

Also, she owns her own accounting business, working with companies and individuals performing financial accounting services and filing taxes. Penny Gomez graduated from Northern Illinois University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Accountancy.

Find the career for you

Session 1

Ms. Beatrice Faulkner &
Dr. LaKisha Odom

September 22, 2022 




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Ms. Beatrice Faulkner is a professional life and career coach who has spent the last six years helping clients create balanced success. She started her career coaching executives on emotional intelligence in the workplace. Craving more personal fulfillment, she opened her coaching practice, Creative Solutions Hub LLC in 2016, a business rooted in high-level personal development. Beatrice says she is fortunate to have found her calling as a coach and is passionate about making a difference in other people's lives. 

Additionally, Ms. Faulkner has been a practicing Scientist for over 20 years and works as a Forensic DNA expert. She holds a B.S. in Biology from the S.U.N.Y. and an M.S. in Pharmacy with a concentration in Forensic DNA and Serology from the University of Florida.



Dr. LaKisha Odom joined the Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research (FFAR) in September 2016 as a scientific program director to pursue her commitment to promoting the use of innovative science and interdisciplinary thinking to tackle today’s complex challenges in food and agriculture. She is also committed to cultivating increased diversity in a new generation of food and agriculture scientists.


Odom developed her passion for the inter-sectional space of research and policy while working at the US EPA in the Office of Research and Development and the Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response’s Brownfield’s Redevelopment Program. In her academic career at Tuskegee University, she continued to seek out opportunities to work in interdisciplinary and collaborative science, as a CREATE-IGERT fellow and as a researcher at Teagasc Research facility in Carlow, Ireland. She then had the opportunity to combine her passion for interdisciplinary innovative research and policy when selected to serve as an early career intern for the Public Policy Board of the American Phytopathological Society. In 2013, Odom became an American Association for the Advancement of Science and Technology Policy Fellow at the US Department of Agriculture Biotechnology Regulatory Service, where she managed a diverse portfolio which included working with the OECD Working Group for the Harmonization of Regulatory Oversight in Biotechnology.


Odom received her bachelor’s degree in environmental science from Tuskegee University, her master’s degree in environmental resource policy from The George Washington University and her doctorate in integrative biosciences from Tuskegee University.


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