DAY 1 - July 19

3:00 – 3:45 pm

3:45 – 4:00 pm

4:00 – 5:00 pm

5:15 – 6:15 pm

6:15 – 7:00 pm

7:00 – 8:00 pm

After hours


Sign in, get your name badge, folder, and materials


Welcome and Introductions

Meet the planning committee, and fellow MWRDC-ers


Improv in Science – Telling your story with Robbyn Anand

Join in some fun warm-up exercises for your brain and learn how strategies from improvisational theater can help you communicate your contributions to science more effectively.


Academic Panel

Curious about what it’s like to be a professor or lecturer? Hear the experiences, challenges, successes, personal strategies, and much more from our fantastic panelists from Iowa State University, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of Minnesota, and Luther College.




Keynote Speaker Presentation

Prof. Cathy Murphy’s group develops surface-engineered nanoparticles for applications spanning from chemical sensing to biological imaging. She has received numerous awards including the Remsen Award of the American Chemical Society’s Maryland section (2019), the TREE (Transformational Research and Educational Excellence) Award from the Research Corporation for Science Advancement (2015), and is currently the Larry R. Faulkner Endowed Chair in Chemistry at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.


Hidden Figures movie showing

Enjoy some downtime at Marty’s in the Union to watch Hidden Figures and to share snacks and conversation with fellow attendees.

DAY 2 - July 20

7:30 – 8:15 am

8:30 am – 12:30 pm




12:30 – 1:15 pm


1:15 – 5:15 pm




5:30 – 6:30 pm





6:30 – 7:15 pm


7:30 – 9:00 pm





After hours

Breakfast and Coffee


Workshop on the Art of Effective Negotiation – presented by COACh

A four-hour intensive workshop that focuses on the power and fundamentals of negotiation relevant to a variety of professional and personal settings.



Breakout Sessions & Break

Participate in two breakout sessions (45 min each) tailored to your interests

After the sessions, take time to enjoy the beautiful outdoors - go for a hike or explore downtown Decorah!


Industry Panel

Would you like to know what a career in industry is all about? Get the insider scoop from our diverse group of panelists from DuPont, DOW, Monsanto, Pfizer, 3M Pharmaceuticals, Chemical Angels Network and ecosVC.




Poster Session

Practice communicating your research in this informal conversational setting with panelists, speakers, and fellow retreat attendees.


Free time

Relax in the cozy space provided at Baker’s Common – board games and snacks will be provided to allow an enjoyable atmosphere to connect with panelists, our keynote speaker and fellow retreat attendees.

*NOTE: Activities in red: Retreat participants will attend both the Workshop on the Art of Effective Negotiation and Breakout Sessions & Break, but the order will be reversed from that listed for half of the attendees. At any given time, half of participants will be attending the Workshop on the Art of Effective Negotiation while the other half are at the Breakout Sessions & Break.

DAY 3 - July 21

8:15 – 9:15 am

9:15 – 10:15 am

10:15 – 11:15 am



11:15 – 11:30 am

Breakfast and Check-Out


Government and Non-Traditional Panel

Get some insight into career paths less traditional from our panelists from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab, Critical Materials Institute at Ames Laboratory, Veristat, and Twist Bioscience.


Why Bragging is Good with Judy Giordan

An unforgettable look at why humility, though virtuous, should take a back seat when you present your professional contributions


Concluding Remarks