Info about 1) mentoring, 2) big group meeting, 3) subgroups, and 4) group time.

1) Mentoring and Individual Meetings

  • Individual meetings with Kristin are the best venue for seeking detailed feedback on your projects and giving updates. To set-up a meeting with Kristin, email Muzhgan Ali ( with when you want to meet and your preferred meeting format (Zoom, B33-143D, Molecular Foundry, 67-3115A, or on campus in HMMB 384). You can either include you availability (via your LBL calendar is one option) or Muzhgan will respond with available times. If you are meeting in person, the location will often be specified in the calendar event.

  • It is up to individual group members to schedule these meetings as often as needed. First and second year students are particularly encouraged to schedule regular meetings with Kristin. You should be able to get a meeting as long as you schedule it at least 1 week in advance. If you are having trouble getting a meeting within that timeframe, email Kristin and Suksham (temp).

  • Mentoring in the Persson group goes many directions (Kristin ↔︎ students, staff ↔︎ postdocs, students ↔︎ staff, students ↔︎ students etc.) and you are encouraged to cultivate collaborative and mentoring relationships with colleagues throughout the group. Mentoring and supporting one another is a core part of our responsibilities as group members.

  • Mentoring is not hierarchical. More senior colleagues can be valuable sources of feedback and advice, but you are not obligated to listen to them! Ultimate decision making rests with Kristin, other feedback is advisory only.

  • Everyone in the group should feel that they have at least two other group members (in addition to Kristin) they can talk to about their work. If you do not feel this way, please contact Kristin, or any postdoc or staff member. In addition, if you feel like you are not getting mentorship you need for a specific aspect of your project within the group, let us know and we can help you find someone to talk with, whether inside or outside the group.

  • Big group meeting and subgroup meetings are designed to provide other avenues for feedback and to foster mentoring and collaboration at all levels of the Persson group.

2) "Big" Group Meeting

  • Big group presentations are an opportunity for one group member (student, postdoc, or staff) to give a longer, seminar-style presentation and for other group members to see what colleagues they may not interact with frequently are working on.

  • All group members are expected to attend the big group meeting. If you have a conflict, please do your best to let Kristin know in advance via email.

  • Big group meetings typically occur every other week and Kristin always attends.

  • The group meeting organizer will designate a group member to present at each meeting on a rotating schedule. Given the size of our group, each person can expect to present at big group meeting about once every one to two years.

  • At the beginning or the end of each meeting, we will have 5-10 minutes for announcements and informal discussion on important topics relevant to the group (e.g., computing hours).

3) Subgroup Meetings

  • The primary purpose of subgroups is to provide a forum for discussing best practices and problem-solving with your peers.

  • All discussion within and outside subgroups should adhere to the standards of conduct in the Persson Group Agreements.

  • Members are not expected to make formal presentations at subgroup meetings, but are expected to periodically share what they are working on (including what they may be stuck on or struggling with) and ask questions of their peers.

  • Subgroup members that want to speak at a meeting are encouraged to contact their subgroup organizer about 3 days in advance of the meeting to claim time on the agenda.

  • Subgroup organizers are encouraged to send email reminders containing a brief agenda or list of speakers 1-2 days in advance of the meeting. The subgroup organizer is also responsible for moderating the meeting to make sure everyone who asked to speak gets time to do so.

  • Members are expected to make an effort to listen, ask questions, and provide feedback to their peers, even if their peers’ projects are not directly related to their work. Learning to communicate across gaps in one’s own knowledge is an important skill!

  • All group members are expected to regularly attend at least one research subgroup meeting every 2 weeks. You may drop in and out of different subgroups on different weeks as you see fit, as long as you are meeting attendance criteria.

  • Subgroup meetings occur bi-weekly and will be posted on the perssongroup calendar along with the big group meeting. To subscribe to the perssongroup calendar, access the aforementioned link (make sure to be logged in using your LBL account) and click the "+" button in the bottom right-hand corner. If it doesn't automatically add to your calendar, temporarily sign out of any other Google accounts in your browser.

  • Every subgroup will be attended by at least two postdocs or staff members.

  • Kristin’s attendance is not mandatory, but will typically be indicated ahead of time by calendar invite.

  • As long as working remotely is the norm, subgroup meetings should include ~15 min of unstructured social time at the start or end as a way of maintaining our sense of community and fighting isolation.

  • If subgroups get too large (regularly attended by more than ~8-10 people), they will be split into smaller subgroups.

  • Research subgroups are organized by theme according to different methods (see below)

Research Subgroups and leads (as of June 2022)

  • Periodic Bulk DFT (i.e., VASP): Jianli Cheng

  • Nanostructure DFT (i.e., 2D/1D/0D materials, inorganic clusters, surfaces, defects): Ruoxi Yang

  • Molecular DFT (i.e., Gaussian/QChem): Evan Spotte-Smith

  • MD and Electrolytes: Orion Cohen

  • Machine Learning: John Dagdelen

  • Interfaces: Evan Spotte-Smith

  • DFT for Diffusion: Qian Chen

4) Group Time

  • The group holds an optional (although attendance is encouraged!) "Group Time" meeting where we discuss non-research matters that are of value for our group culture. The purpose of Group Time is to help group members bring the Persson Group Agreements into their daily work and reflect upon the agreements on a regular basis. For convenience, Group Time is scheduled to take place on the same day as group meeting.

  • During the fall and spring, Group Time meetings rotate through various topics that relate to the following themes which have been selected based on our Group Agreements.

    1. Wellness (#5, #1)

    2. Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (#1, #2, #3, #6, #9)

    3. Learning & Help (#4, #7, #9)

    4. Science Best Practices (#1, #6, #8, #9, #10)

  • During the summer, Group Time is dedicated to supporting various group roles and other functions that help the group run smoothly (e.g. hackathon to update the group handbook, preparing for the MP workshop, revisiting and reflecting on the group agreements, etc.)

  • Group Time meetings are scheduled in a similar manner to group meeting where there is a schedule of organizers/presenters assigned by the Group Time Coordinators which can be found in the Group Time google drive folder.

  • Every group member is expected to contribute to planning (at least) one Group Time session approximately once a year. When the Group Time Coordinators plan the schedule, each session is assigned one of the four themes and at least one lead organizer. Organizers can work individually or in small groups of 2-3. Organizers are then responsible for selecting a specific topic within their assigned theme for their session.

  • Here are some examples of possible Group Time activities that reinforce our group values.

    • Non-work related socializing builds community and role models taking breaks to enhance individual wellness (#5)

    • Learning about diversity, equity, and inclusion topics provides exposure to perspectives different than our own to cultivate a open worldview (#2)

    • Coding power hours create a welcoming environment to ask for help and space for learning together (#4, #7)

    • Sharing papers and articles that may not come up in our regular research interactions offers is a way to explore the context in which we perform our work (#9)

  • If you have an idea for a future Group Time topic, we invite you to share it here! This is a living document of ideas for brainstorming Group Time topics for organizers to reference.

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