The National Institute for Computational Sciences

NICS Engages with Students at Conference Encouraging Graduate Studies

The National Institute for Computational Sciences (NICS) participated Feb. 28 – March 2 in the Emerging Researchers National (ERN) Conference in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, which focuses on helping undergraduate and graduate students enhance their science communication skills and better understand how to prepare for science careers in a global workforce. The conference took place in Washington, D.C., at the Renaissance Hotel.

The main sponsor for the event was the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Education and Human Resources Programs (EHR), along with the National Science Foundation (NSF) Division of Human Resource Development (HRD), within the Directorate for EHR.

The ERN Conference — a combination of talks and workshops — is aimed at college and university undergraduate and graduate students who participate in programs funded by the NSF HRD unit, including underrepresented minorities and persons with disabilities. The main emphasis of the conference is on encouraging undergraduate students to continue on to graduate studies.

For NICS and the NSF’s Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE) the conference presented an opportunity to engage with Minority Serving Institutions (MSI) and share with them the manifold career opportunities in the realm of high-performance computing (HPC).

NICS HPC consultant Dwayne John presented a talk on “Introduction to High-performance Computing: It’s Not Only for Computer Scientists” and shared with students one-on-one about XSEDE internship possibilities and how scientists, engineers, social scientists and humanists around the world improve our planet through access to the supercomputers, data collections, leading-edge computational tools and consultative support provided by XSEDE.

John’s presentation was part of a workshop that included Linda Akli, XSEDE MSI outreach lead; Michael Smith of Intel; and Sam Moore, education, outreach and training program coordinator at the Texas Advanced Computing Center and XSEDE training lead.

NICS HPC consultant Dwayne John (right) shares information on XSEDE with a student at the Emerging Researchers National Conference (Feb. 28 – March 2) in Washington, D.C. Linda Akli, assistant director of training, education and outreach for the Southeastern Universities Research Association and lead for XSEDE Minority Serving Institutions outreach, organized the XSEDE exhibit.

The two-and-one-half-day conference consisted of plenary and keynote talks; student poster and oral presentations; and workshop activities focused on strategies for applying for, and succeeding in, graduate programs and finding funding for graduate school; career preparation (with a focus on employment searches and retention); understanding science, technology, engineering and math careers in a global context; and identifying international research and education opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students and faculty.