Through Geo-Hydro we organically developed a support network for collaboration, peer mentorship, and informal opportunities for research feedback. As Jorge San Juan notes, ‘most of our first unofficial meetings occurred in hallways’ and we grew organically by booking rooms to meet on a weekly basis. Through time, members like Dimitrios Fytanidis and Heng Wu started encouraging other students to join the group, often fueled by wanting to gain insight from others perspective or to engage in informal discussions but still have formal resources like a white board or a projector. Heng explains her main motivation for joining and consistently going to the group meetings was "I [Heng] think we had the right amount of diversity in research topics." This research diversity allowed us to find a fine balance between different perspectives from inter-departmental peers beyond closer colleagues from the same research group. Ari Felman, one of Geo-Hydros new leaders, says working with students from different, overlapping disciplines allowed him to step away from the “echo chamber” of similar methodologies and engage in a “treasure trove” of new tactics towards approaching his research. This feeling is also shared by many members, like Dimitrios, in that Geo-Hydro offers "a very informal, friendly way to get feedback from your work and get new ideas"
Geo-Hydro group amplifies students with underrepresented, minoritized or first generation identities and offers real opportunities for support and mentorship. The group also offered a safe and supportive place where people could be themselves. One founder, Julia Cisneros from Geology, notes that Geo-Hydro offered an opportunity to engage with a diverse group of people who had shared experiences as her. “It was a guaranteed one time a week where I [Julia] knew I could be around people who were genuinely there to support me." Other students agree and recognize that this environment is not granted in other institutions. In fact, most students who have moved on “really miss” the Geo-Hydro group and wish they had something similar in their current institution. From Jorge San Juan’s perspective, Geo-Hydro provided a safe place to discuss the common insecurities of graduate students and he developed more confidence through sharing his work. Interestingly, the purpose of Geo-Hydro wasn't explicitly to create a safe place for minoritized individuals, but because it was created from the perspective of marginalized students, Roberto Fernandez notes “it just happened”.