CISL hosts diversity students at 2015 SEA conference

By Brian Bevirt
05/07/2015 - 12:00am

For the third year in a row, CISL supported undergraduate and graduate students attending the annual conference of the UCAR Software Engineering Assembly (SEA), this year in partnership with NCAR’s Advanced Study Program. This technical meeting is a community event that promotes professional development, advocates effective, up-to-date software engineering practices, and fosters collaborations both internally and with our peer institutions. The conference also provides a forum for discussions on aspects of software engineering that support scientific disciplines.

CISL is actively working to broaden diversity among technical and scientific communities related to the computational geosciences. This year, travel support enabled 12 students from 11 institutions – both Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) and universities in EPSCoR states – to participate in the conference. EPSCoR universities are located in states that are deemed to be underserved by federal research and education funding, so the National Science Foundation (NSF) increases support for research and education in these states to improve its funding balance across the U.S. These 12 students met and made connections with engineers, researchers, and other professionals during the conference’s presentations, tutorials, social events, meals, and at the CISL-sponsored luncheon with NCAR staff. CISL staff also introduced the students to the many internship opportunities throughout UCAR, with the goal of attracting these motivated young scientists and engineers to begin their careers at NCAR or UCAR.

Students at SEA with CISL staff
Undergraduate and graduate students shared their career interests and educational experiences with NCAR scientists, engineers, and other SEA participants during a conference luncheon. Carolyn Brinkworth, NCAR Director of Diversity, Education, and Outreach, is standing at left. Photo by Marijke Unger, CISL

The 2015 SEA Conference on Python in Scientific Computing convened at UCAR’s Foothills Laboratory campus in Boulder, Colorado on 13 April and ran for five full days. Students at MSIs and EPSCoR-state universities were encouraged to apply for travel scholarships that paid their travel costs, housing expenses, and their registration fee. This funding was supplied through CISL’s Research and Supercomputing Visitor Program (RSVP) program and NCAR’s Advanced Study Program. The students contributed their input toward the next conference by reporting their experiences via survey questions.

Committed to NCAR’s core education mission, CISL creates opportunities for students and recent graduates to hone their skills in mathematical and computational science concepts. CISL also works to foster their professional development in fields that rely on advanced cyberinfrastructure. CISL maintains its ongoing dedication to attracting and retaining a diverse and talented staff that will meet supercomputing and computational science needs for decades.

CISL integrates research with education for students by offering progressive and well-targeted education programs to enrich and expand our research community. SIParCS, TOY, and RSVP are mature programs that encourage young scientists and engineers to plan for and succeed at careers in the computational and Earth System sciences. These programs teach the technical skills necessary to apply advanced cyberinfrastructure to scientific problems. CISL’s education programs promote diversity, enhance CISL’s culture of teaching and mentorship, and stimulate collaborations with the university community.