2014 Presenter Abstract and Bios

MONDAY, JUNE 23RD
SESSION 1: AM PRESENTER
 
Diversifying the STEM Enterprise
 

Dr. Denise M. Barnes is currently the Head of National Science Foundation’s Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR). This program seeks to enhance physical, human, and cyber infrastructure and to strengthen academic research competiveness of participating jurisdictions.  Denise has been a member of the EPSCoR Office since 2007 and has served as its Senior Staff Associate from 2009 through 2012. Prior to this, Dr. Barnes was Vice President of New Business Development for Telecommunications and Electronics Markets with ITECS-Innovative. Her past experience also includes Adjunct Professor of Chemistry at Spelman College in Atlanta, GA and Vice President of the Optical Connectivity Division Unit for OFS (formerly Lucent Technologies).  She is the Immediate Past Chairman of the Executive Board of the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers and has served on the Board of Georgia Industrial Fellowship for Teachers (GIFT), an organization focused on enhancing the technical skills of science and math teachers. Dr. Barnes holds an AB in Chemistry from Vassar College and a Ph.D. in Chemistry from Brown University.  She also completed Southern Methodist University’s Executive MBA Program. Through these positions, Dr. Barnes obtained extensive experience with strategic planning, budget management, and program and project management.

Abstract: The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency created by Congress in 1950 "to promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; to secure the national defense…”.

NSF’s commitment to broadening participation is embedded in its Strategic Plan through a variety of investment priorities and strategic outcome goals, including: 1) Preparing a diverse, globally engaged science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) workforce; 2) Integrating research with education, and building capacity and; Expanding efforts to broaden participation from underrepresented groups and diverse institutions across all geographical regions in all NSF activities.

This presentation will address NSF’s efforts to increase participation from underrepresented groups and diverse institutions throughout the United States in all NSF activities and programs.

MONDAY, JUNE 23RD
SESSION 1: AM PRESENTER
 
Challenges and Lessons Learned in Implementing Climate and Geospatial Understanding
 in the K-16 Curriculum and Among Diverse Students
 

Dr. Lesley-Ann L. Dupigny-Girouxis a professor of Climatology in the Geography Department at the University of Vermont, and the Vermont State Climatologist. She obtained her M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in Climatology from McGill University (Montreal).She works with Vermont State Agencies (transportation, emergency management, agriculture, forestry and legislators) to help plan for and adapt to a changing climate. She is an expert in the land-surface interactions of flooding, droughts and severe weather. She also works extensively with K-12 teachers and students, bringing the use of satellites and understanding climate to all levels of the pre-university curriculum. Nationally, she serves on two NOAA Science Advisory Board Committees related to climate research across the US. She is also a contributing author to the Climate Change in the Northeast: A Sourcebook, for the NorthEast Region chapter of the 2013 National Climate Assessment report, US Global Change Research Program.

Abstract:  Climate literacy involves an understanding of the interconnectedness of various components of the climate system over space and time, as well as the influence of humans on that system and the ability to use that understanding to “act accordingly”. Understanding the climate system relies on techniques that include statistics, modelling, visualization and geospatial technologies such as remote sensing and geographic information science (GIS). The melding of these geospatial technologies with the atmospheric and climate sciences has become increasingly common and ubiquitous from the nightly weather news to the weekly U.S. Drought Monitor synthesis. This presentation will delve into the challenges and lessons learned for a climate literate society that exist at the trans-disciplinary border of the atmospheric and geospatial sciences. Two National Science Foundation (NSF) funded programs will be highlighted. The first is the Satellites, Weather and Climate (SWAC) professional development program for K-12 teachers and the second is the Diversity Climate Network (D-ClimNet) for high school to graduate students.

MONDAY, JUNE 23RD 
SESSION 2: PM PRESENTER
 
TRENDS IN THE TRANSITION OF GEOSCIENCE GRADUATES INTO THE WORKFORCE
 

Carolyn E Wilson is the Geoscience Workforce Data Analyst at the American Geosciences Institute (AGI).  Ms. Wilson received her BA from Austin College in Sherman, Texas in Biology in 2003 and her MS from Texas A&M University in Oceanography in 2009.  She is currently working toward her PhD in Science Education Research and Policy at George Mason University.  At AGI, Ms. Wilson organizes national data and internally collected data about the geosciences workforce and presents this information to the community at large.  She recently wrote AGI’s Status of the Geoscience Workforce 2014 Report.  In addition, she directs the updating and publishing of the Directory of Geoscience Departments, and she collects survey data from students graduating with geosciences degrees and entering the workforce about their experiences, skills, and career aspirations.  Previously, Ms. Wilson spent two years at the National Science Foundation working within the Directorate for Geosciences with the Education and Diversity funding program.

Co-authors: Christopher M Keane, Director of Technology and Communication, American Geosciences Institute; Heather R Houlton, Workforce Development, Education, and Outreach Specialist, American Geosciences Institute

Abstract: For years, the American Geosciences Institute Workforce Program has been the key source for information about the condition of the geoscience workforce and the preparation of future geoscientists.  The main objectives of the Workforce Program are to inform the geoscience community about workforce trends and make predictions for future workforce needs, as well as engage the next generation of geoscientists by supporting student recruitment at the collegiate level and by informing students, faculty, and parents with geoscience career information.  Over the years, AGI has been at the forefront of information dissemination about the status of the geoscience workforce, compiling comprehensive directories of geoscience departments nationally and internationally, and developing recruitment materials for students providing engaging career information.

Recently, AGI started collecting data from graduating students investigating their educational experiences and future plans after graduation.  This study is followed up by a longitudinal study investigating trends in the early-career geoscience workforce.

With the years of data analysis conducted by AGI’s Workforce Program, trends in student preparation leading into this transition have become more apparent, along with the issues faced by departments and students in these postsecondary programs.  This presentation looks at some of these trends, as well as provides recommendations for departments on how to best prepare their students for the transition into the workforce.

MONDAY, JUNE 23RD                                                                                                        
SESSION 2: PM PRESENTER
 
CISL’s Approach to Diversity
 

Dr. Richard Loft of the National Center for Atmospheric Research, has worked in high performance computing since joining Thinking Machine Corporation in 1989, and has worked at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) since 1994. Dr. Loft is currently Director of the Technology Development Division (TDD) in the Computational and Information Systems Laboratory (CISL) at NCAR. In this capacity he oversees CISL’s R&D efforts, in areas such as applied computer science, visualization and enabling technologies, and earth system modeling infrastructure. Recognizing the need to engage the next generation in high performance computing, in 2007 Dr. Loft created the Summer Internships in Parallel Computational Science program (http://www2.cisl.ucar.edu/siparcs) at NCAR, and is currently developing an HPC curriculum based on small, affordable Raspberry Pi clusters.

Abstract: Many of the best jobs and innovations in the 21st century will come from the information technology sector, and one of the greatest challenges to humanity is the application of digital technology to the task of achieving a better understanding our environment, and our impact on it. Yet in an increasingly diverse America, many elements of our society go missing in this critical intersection of opportunity and societal benefit. In this talk I will give an overview of our attempts to bring about a transformation of the Computational and Information System Laboratory (CISL) at the National Center for Atmospheric Research into a more inclusive and diverse organization. The integration of specific programs like research internships, visitor support and diversity outreach will be discussed.

TUESDAY, JUNE 24TH                                                                                                      
SESSION 3: AM PRESENTER
 
The SOARS Center for Undergraduate Research-Broadening Participation in the Geosciences
 

Rebecca Haacker-Santos is the Director of the SOARS program and manages the Undergraduate Education group at the UCAR Center for Science Education. The SOARS program is an NSF-funded undergraduate-to-graduate bridge program with a mission to increase participation in the geosciences. Rebecca holds a Masters in Geography and Cultural Anthropology from the University of Hamburg in Germany and has extensive additional training in employment law, diversity issues, student mentoring, counseling and mediation. She is particular interested in program evaluation and sharing evidence-based practices. Rebecca has taught community college, undergraduate and graduate students in Germany, the US and Central America. Before moving to the US, she managed field projects in Central America and served as co-director of Marine Wildlife Refuge Punta de Manabique, Guatemala. Ask her about swimming with manatees!

Abstract: Research experiences for undergraduates have been shown to be very successful at engaging students in science and can provide pathways for students from traditionally underrepresented groups to gain practice in professional skills, to think like a scientist, and to take interest in graduate school. The SOARS Center for Undergraduate Research is building on the long-standing success of the SOARS Program, a multi-year undergraduate-to-graduate bridge program that focus on summer research experience, multifaceted mentoring, and strong learning communities.  The Center builds strong partnerships with universities and research labs for support in recruitment, sharing of best practices and lessons learned from evaluations and research. We specialize in evidence-based best practices in developing and running undergraduate research experiences, including diversity recruitment, mentoring, faculty support, evaluation and publication.

TUESDAY, JUNE 24TH                                                                                                      
SESSION 3: AM PRESENTER
 
Partnership with Minority Professional Organizations to Increase Diversity
 

Dr. Linda Hayden is a professor in the department of Mathematics and Computer Science and Director of the Center of Excellence in Remote Sensing Education and Research (CERSER) on the campus of Elizabeth City State University. CERSER works in partnership with federal agencies, other universities and corporations on education and research projects, which includes The Center for Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets (CReSIS).  CReSIS focuses on radar and seismic mapping of rapidly changing glacier zones in Polar Regions to determine impact on global warming and sea level rise. She is education director for the CReSIS.  She also serves on the Advisory Committee for the National Science Foundation’s Directorate for Geosciences.  Dr. Hayden was presented the 2003 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring by the National Science Foundation. Her two part interview "Renaissance People with Dr. Linda Hayden" is available on YouTube and on the Renaissance Computing Institute website http://www.renci.org.

Abstract:  Minority Professional Organizations (MPOs) have a long history of mentoring and nurturing the professional development of underrepresented students. They provide a rich source of expertise and commitment.   This session is devoted to understanding which MPOs have a focus that is immediately related to Computational Geoscience disciplines and to developing a strategy for partnering with these MPOs.

TUESDAY, JUNE 24TH                                                                                                      
SESSION 4: PM PRESENTER
 
My Career as an Example and the Role of Professional Societies

 

 

Warren M. Washington is a senior scientist, former head of the Climate Change Research. Section and former director of the Climate and Global Dynamics Division at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colorado. His expertise is in atmospheric and climate research. He has engaged in research for nearly 50 years, and he has given advice, testimony, and lectures on global climate change. Dr. Washington has been a member the President’s National Advisory Committee on Oceans and Atmosphere and has had presidential appointments under the Carter, Reagan, Clinton, and Bush administrations. More recently, he served on the National Science Board as a member (1994-2006) and as its chair (2002-2006). He has more than 150 publications and co-authored with Claire Parkinson a book that is considered a standard reference on climate modeling, An Introduction to Three-Dimensional Climate Modeling, and an autobiography, Odyssey in Climate Modeling, Global Warming, and Advising Five Presidents. Dr. Washington has many awards, including being a member of the National Academy of Engineering, the American Meteorological Society (former president), the American Philosophical Society, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is a past President of the American Meteorological Society. Dr. Washington has honorary degrees from Oregon State University, Bates College and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst as well as the Vollum award from Reed College. He is also Principal Investigator and Chief Scientist for the University for Atmospheric Research and U. S. Department of Energy Cooperative Agreement that carries out climate research. In 2010, he was awarded the National Medal of Science by President Obama, the nation’s highest science award. Dr. Washington earned a B.S. in physics and a M.S. in meteorology from Oregon State University and a Ph.D. in meteorology from Pennsylvania State University. He has served on a number of National Research Committees of the National Academies, and is currently serving as chair of the Committee to Advise the U.S. Global Change Research Program.

Abstract:  As my bio indicates I have had a long career in the computer modeling of atmosphere and climate. Along the way I have learned a lot about how to succeed and the various programs to increase diversity which I will discuss.

TUESDAY, JUNE 24TH                                                                                                      
SESSION 4: PM PRESENTER
 
Expanding Diversity: Best Practices for Supporting LGBTQ Students, Staff and Faculty
 

Dr. Carolyn Brinkworthis the Deputy Lead for the Communications and Education Team at the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center (IPAC), based at Caltech. The team is responsible for education and outreach for a number of missions, including NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. Carolyn is currently in the final semester of her MA in Education, with a focus on minority access to STEM education. In 2013 she was awarded the NASA Equal Employment Opportunity Medal for her work with minority and dropout students, and for her volunteer work with The Trevor Project - a non-profit dedicated to crisis intervention and suicide prevention for LGBTQ youth. She recently co-authored a Best Practices document for astronomy departments wishing to improve support for their LGBTQ students, postdocs, staff and faculty.

Abstract: In a recent campus climate survey conducted in the US, 90% of heterosexual students rated their institutions as “friendly,” while 74% of LGBTQ students at those same institutions rated them as “homophobic” (Rankin, 2003).  Over a third of LGB students report harassment on campus, a fifth reported fear for their physical safety, and over half had concealed their sexual orientation to avoid intimidation. These numbers are even higher for transgender and non-gender-conforming students. Moreover, studies consistently show that LGBTQ staff and faculty rate their campuses as less supportive than students do, with around half reporting institutionalized discrimination. Despite this, efforts to improve campus climate for the LGBTQ community are patchy, poorly researched, and often neglected by institute administrations through ignorance, lack of LGBTQ community visibility, concerns about how the “promotion” of LGBTQ issues will be viewed by stakeholders, or simply due to hetero- and gender-normative assumptions. I will discuss some of the issues facing the LGBTQ community in higher education, and describe some of the best practices that can be applied at the individual, classroom, departmental, and institutional levels to better support the community and allow our LGBTQ colleagues to thrive.

TUESDAY, JUNE 24TH                                                                                                       
SESSION 4: PM PRESENTER
 
Universal Design in Education: Promoting Student Success through Accessibility in Learner-Centered Experiences
 

Dr. Wendi J. W. Williams is faculty with NorthWest Arkansas Community College and University of Arkansas at Little Rock, facilitating in-person, hybrid and online courses ranging from core science to graduate-level geoscience and science teacher education courses. She advocates for better inclusion of Persons with Disabilities, and deliberately uses Universal Design. Williams serves on the National Association of Geoscience Teachers Executive Committee, Triangle Coalition for STEM Education Board of Directors, GSA SC Section Board, The International Association for Geosciences Diversity, AGU, NSTA, and NESTA. She is also a member of the Arkansas Governor’s Earthquake Advisory and Pre-Disaster Mitigations Councils, NWACC Diversity Task Force, and UALR Disability Advisory Council. Wendi has reviewed for Einstein Fellowships, NSF, NASA, and U.S. Department of Education. She served as a CUR Geosciences Councilor and as a member of two GSA Standing Committees on Education (served as Chair) and Geology and Public Policy.

Abstract:  Many programs seek success strategies for working with students representing overlapping kinds of diversity, such as learning preference, first generation college-bound, Persons with Disabilities, English Language Learners, and military active duty/veteran status. Universal Design (UD) techniques are deliberately applied in geoscience and physical science learner-centered lessons to address this diversity in order to reduce barriers for the majority of students. UD for education uses three overarching principles covering multiple means of representation, action and expression, and engagement. Participants will learn about current thinking regarding Universal Design (UD) for their classroom instruction and management. UD will be introduced in terms of working with a variety of learners, including those requiring legal accommodation for disability. I will present strategies for in person, hybrid and online courses by providing several examples of ways I have worked with my students in those varied formats during the past decade. We will consider current research and select article excerpts in support of this session as part of what I model of learner-centered best practices (e.g. AHEAD, CAST and DO-IT Access STEM). We will also consider the use of 3D printing to enhance the application of Universal Design. 

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 25TH                                                                                                           
SESSION 5: AM PRESENTER
 
CompGeo: A Multidisciplinary Graduate Program in Computational Geoscience
 

Dr. Shela J. Aboud is a Senior Research Engineer in the Energy Resources Engineering Department at Stanford University and is the Executive Director of a new multidisciplinary graduate program in Computational Geoscience (CompGeo). Her research interests focus on the development and use of sophisticated computational modeling techniques to study electronic properties of solid-state materials with applications in nano-electronics, energy, and environmental science. Shela received a B.S. in physics and a B.S. in engineering physics from Oregon State University, a M.S. and a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Arizona State University and completed a joint postdoctoral research fellowship at Rush Medical Center and the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago. Prior to her appointment at Stanford, she was a Senior Corporate Applications Engineer at Synopsys, Inc., and taught at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts. She has also co-authored more than 40 peer reviewed journal articles and book chapters.

Abstract: The increasing role that accurate and efficient modeling tools will continue to play in scientific disciplines will result in more young professionals aspiring to develop technical expertise in high-performance computing. Unfortunately, both nationally, and worldwide, there is a fundamental lack of graduate-level programs focused on the integration of computation and the geosciences. Through the development of a graduate level program at Stanford University in Computational Geoscience (CompGeo), the Institute of Computational Mathematics and Engineering (ICME) and the School of Earth Sciences (SES) is hoping to take a leadership role in shaping the next generation of computational-based educational programs. The CompGeo curriculum is based on four fundamental areas: 1) modern programming methods, 2) applied mathematics with an emphasis on numerical methods, 3) algorithms and architectures for high-performance computing and 4) computationally oriented Earth Sciences courses.  Courses in these fundamental areas are offered in ICME, the department of Computer Science, and within the various departments in the SES, including Geological and Environmental Sciences (GES), Geophysics (GP), Energy Resources Engineering (ERE), and Environmental Earth System Science (EESS). Through this multidisciplinary approach the goal is to attract a diverse group of students, including both earth science students who want to develop expertise in computational research and computationally-oriented students who are looking for a specific focus area.

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 25TH                                                                                                           
SESSION 5: AM PRESENTER
 
Reaching out: Challenges in Recruiting Veterans and People with Disabilities 
 
Nancy Wade joined the Human Resources Department at the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) in 1995, and served as UCAR’s Employment Administrator from 2002 to 2013. Currently she works as a Human Resources Generalist for several NCAR labs. Nancy is committed to increasing diversity in the workplace and has played an active role in mentoring students and interns. She served on the SOARS Steering Committee for five years and helped implement the recruitment and selection process for a summer internship program for local high school students. She has been active on the NCAR Diversity Committee and serves as co-PI for a diversity committee funded proposal: Proposal for Hiring People with Autism Spectrum Disorders.  Since 2011, Nancy has collaborated with local Workforce agencies to organize and host an annual Job Fair for Veterans and People with Disabilities designed to assist local employers in finding qualified workers from these two groups.  Nancy completed her undergraduate degree in Communications from Regis University in 2000 and her Master’s degree in creative writing, also from Regis University in 2009.
 
Abstract: If NCAR is to achieve its goal of creating a workplace that reflects the overall population, we need to hire people with disabilities who can contribute to NCAR’s mission. A subset of this group includes people with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), which includes the high-functioning group named Asperger Syndrome. The majority of people with ASD functions at high levels and have unique skills that can be applied very effectively to computational and scientific jobs. Common characteristics include an exceptional ability to focus on topics of high interest combined with strong memory and pattern recognition skills. These characteristics make them well suited for various jobs at NCAR. The NCAR Diversity Committee has funded a proposal with three goals:
  • To provide funding to pay the wages of one member of this population to continue her work in the Computational and Information Systems Laboratory (CISL).
  • To increase the familiarity of NCAR staff with the mission-appropriate contributions this population can provide.
  • To partner with local community colleges to identify students with ASD who have the potential to be part of the NCAR workforce.
Beginning in March 2014, the Office of Federal Contacts Compliance Programs (OFCCP) now requires federal contractors to include statistics on the hiring and promotion of disabled individuals and veterans in its Affirmative Action Plan (AAP). Our organization is committed to outreach to these two groups as evidenced by the diversity committee proposal and the hosting of an annual job fair for veterans and people with disabilities. There are challenges which are inherent in outreach to these two groups and we believe building ongoing relationships as well as local grassroots efforts are both key to success in this area.
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 25TH                                                                                                       
SESSION 5: AM PRESENTER
 
Achieving Diversity in (Computational) Geosciences – A Roadmap for Moving Forward

Marilyn Suiter is a geologist and educator with more than twenty-five years of experience. She is a program director in the Education and Human Resources Directorate (EHR) at the National Science Foundation (NSF). Her responsibilities are in (geo) science education and diversity issues as they are implemented in K-12, undergraduate, and graduate education. Marilyn’s career has included positions as Director of Education and Human Resources at the American Geological Institute, and educator positions at American University and in the Philadelphia Public Schools, as well as Geologist in the oil and gas industry and for the U.S. Geological Survey. Her wide-ranging interests and experience include low temperature geochemistry, surficial mapping, geoscience education and workforce demographics. In addition to her wide-ranging interests and experience in geoscience education and workforce issues, she retains a special interest in activities in professional societies and has held offices in and is a fellow of the Association for Women Geoscientists, the Association for Women in Science, and the Geological Society of America. Suiter is also a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Abstract: Broadening participation in STEM ideally can be achieved through increasing the successful participation of individuals from historically underrepresented groups in STEM. Strategies for consideration may include use of evidence-based practices, critical review of project results to assess impact, continuous improvement that is driven by (formative) data, and broad dissemination of project findings that can be used for wide adoption or scale-up of effective strategies. One significant outcome would be a diverse, highly capable STEM workforce that can lead innovation and sustain U.S. competitiveness in the science and engineering enterprise. How do we achieve that goal?