Informal education: A valuable CISL resource

Sep 29, 2016

CISL engages in educational activities on many levels, from participating in science fairs and community outreach events, to running successful internship programs and advanced training and career development courses. Another important aspect of CISL’s educational efforts is informal education through its visitor center at the NCAR-Wyoming Supercomputing Center (NWSC).

The NWSC welcomes several thousand visitors each year, many of whom are children visiting the facility as part of field trips or summer camp and community group activities. The center also hosts adult professional society visits and occasional special events related to science, supercomputing, or facility engineering and design.

Excellence in Service award winners, the Securitas personnel

Securitas personnel receive an award honoring them for outstanding service. Pictured from left to right: Misty Savage, Securitas Branch Manager, Maryann Palmer, Securitas NWSC Site Supervisor, Melissa Barnes, Security Officer, and Donna Whitmire, Security Officer. 

Photo by Gary New, CISL.

While the exhibits in the educational visitor center were designed to engage the public as a self-guided experience, visitors are often fortunate to be guided through the public area by Maryann Palmer, NWSC Security Supervisor, when she is on duty. Though not a part of her official duties, she enjoys interacting with the public in this capacity, and her skill and enthusiasm routinely enrich the visitor experience. We frequently receive notes of gratitude and kudos about her in visitors’ feedback.
“Our security staff really go above and beyond on a regular basis,” said Gary New, Operations Manager at the NWSC. “It’s not something you often see from a contractor service, and speaks to their professionalism and level of personal engagement with the center and with NCAR’s mission.”

Excellence in Service award plaque

Excellence in Service award presented to Securitas staff at the NWSC.

Maryann and her Securitas colleagues received an award in recognition of their excellent customer service earlier this year.

The NWSC now also has a part-time docent to engage visitors. Nick Campbell is a student at the University of Wyoming planning to major in computer engineering, and he will expand CISL’s ability to showcase leading-edge science and technology in Cheyenne. We look forward to working with Nick to develop exciting new activities and engage our visitors and the community more effectively.

Group visits can be scheduled via the NWSC website at