The Workforce Development and Research Lab (WDRL) is pleased to announce the winners of
the first annual Student Challenge for 2023!
The first prize of $1000 was awarded to Ashley Watson for her proposal to address education
pathways for girls in Tanzania through a partnership with Action for Democratic Governance
(A4DG) in Tanzania. Ashley is a Comparative and International Development Education PhD
student who noted one objective for the project is to “Engage local community in problem-
solving and policymaking efforts to alleviate educational disparities and ultimately career
outcomes for girls and women”.
The second prize of $500 was awarded to Hyerim Cho, a PhD student in Human Resource
Development, for her proposed needs assessment with the University of Minnesota Extensions’
Tourism Research Center. Hyerim’s research aims to address the feasibility of a training model
using an action research case “by providing an example of a leadership development program
for employees in the tourism industry, which was given scant attention before”.
Ashley and Hyerim will be invited to join the WDRL as fellows and will pursue their research
over the next twelve months under the mentorship of WDRL faculty members. Upon
completing their projects, fellows will present their findings and serve as resources for future
The WDRL would like to congratulate Ashley and Hyerim as the first awardees and thank all
applicants for the 2023 Student Challenge.
The Student Challenge was open to all graduate students in CEHD. This year, we received eight
proposals with the capacity for collaborative work with community-based organizations,
grassroots organizations, or non-profits aimed to address one or more topics in two
- Connect demand and supply – assess needs, develop skills, and staffing.
- Promote diversity and combat social inequality in the workforce.
We want to extend our gratitude to Dr Jonathan D. Stuart, who served as the Student Challenge
Competition Chair, and the WDRL student members Ana Carolina Rodriguez, Taylor Cavallo
Siering, and Quinn Oteman, who organized the challenge this year.
As part of the College of Education & Human Development, the WDRL aims to develop
actionable research, tools, and strategies to meet emergent workforce challenges facing
organizations and communities in Minnesota, nationally, and internationally. Subscribe to our
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