CISL Hosts Diversity Students at 2014 SEA Conference

By Brian Bevirt
05/29/2014 - 12:00am

For the second year in a row, CISL’s Diversity Coordinator brought new computing and engineering students to NCAR for UCAR’s Software Engineering Assembly (SEA) conference. This technical conference updates software engineers with modern practices and fosters collaboration within UCAR and NCAR, and with our peer institutions. The conference is also a forum for broad discussions on multiple aspects of software engineering that are focused on scientific disciplines. Part of the SEA mission is to foster a sense of community for software engineering professionals. CISL is actively working to broaden diversity among staff in our technical and scientific research community.

Damian Rouson's Fortran tutorialDamian Rouson, Director of the Stanford Center for Computational Earth and Environmental Science, presented "Programming Paradigms in Modern Fortran" at the SEA conference. Dr. Rouson's presentation used two sessions to cover modern Fortran: the only internationally standardized language with a platform-agnostic, parallel-programming model that scales from single-socket, multicore, chip-level parallelism to beyond 100,000-core, massively distributed parallelism. The tutorial emphasized the functional, object-oriented, and parallel programming paradigms enabled by Fortran’s 95, 2003, and 2008 standards.

Stephanie Barr
Stephanie Barr, CISL Diversity Coordinator, describes two new diversity projects launching in May and June 2014. Stephanie's 21 May 2014 presentation informed CISL staff about these projects that are supported by CISL diversity funds. The first project helps interns learn parallel programming fundamentals using clusters of Raspberry Pi computers. The second project is a June 2014 workshop exploring Diversity in the Computational Geosciences.

As the Diversity Coordinator in CISL’s Outreach Sevices Group, Stephanie Barr has a key role in advertising funding opportunities that allow students, staff, and faculty to attend conferences and training events. The SEA Conference and Scalable Profiler Workshop is an annual technical conference that convenes at UCAR’s Center Green campus in Boulder, Colorado, and the 2014 event was held on 1-5 April. Stephanie recruited interested students at qualifying Minorty-Serving Institutions (MSIs) and EPSCoR-state universities, and some were offered scholarships that paid their registration fee and travel expenses through CISL’s Research and Supercomputing Visitor Program.

Using new connections made in recent months, she enrolled 10 students from four institutions -- Universidad del Turabo in Puerto Rico, Salish Kootenai College, Elizabeth City State University, and Prairie View A&M University -- to participate in the conference. The meeting offered hands-on computing tutorials and opportunities for students to meet and make connections with professionals in attendance. In addition, Stephanie coordinated and co-facilitated participation by students in internship opportunities and in an informal lunch with NCAR scientists and engineers.

Lunch with StephanieUndergraduate and graduate students share their experiences and interests with NCAR scientists, engineers, and other SEA attendees during a conference luncheon.

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. As Diversity Coordinator, Stephanie supports CISL’s vision of building a collaborative network to increase student and educator awareness and participation.

The focus of diversity and inclusion efforts is often placed on underrepresented groups of a specific race, ethnicity, or gender. For this reason, Stephanie aims to meet the needs of other underrepresented populations having significant barriers to access and retention, including those from nontraditional backgrounds, community college and two-year college students, and people from rural areas. The term “nontraditional student” refers to those who have one or more of the following characteristics: delayed enrollment into postsecondary education, part time enrollment, working full time while enrolled, being a single parent, or didn’t obtain a high school diploma.

Diversity GroupCISL hosted a luncheon for the diversity group where students met CISL staff to develop their professional networks.