Sustainable Research Pathways 2016
After success in 2015, SHI and LBNL again came together in 2016 to hold the second SRP Program. The positive results from the previous year led to the 2016 SRP Program being expanded to two additional labs: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratory. The expansion provided an opportunity for new DOE labs to access great talent that they might not have otherwise found. “We are delighted that LLNL and Sandia have decided to join in the SRP program”, said Dr. Mary Ann Leung, President of SHI. With two new labs, the opportunity for faculty and staff to build collaborations on exciting research projects was even greater.
The expansion allowed the SRP program to significantly expand meeting attendance. In December 2016, SHI brought 28 faculty from multiple institutions and HBCUs, including Spelman College, Hood College, and Fort Valley State University to name a few, to participate in the two-day matchmaking workshop in Berkeley, CA. The format of the workshop was similar to the previous year. To start, faculty participants shared their research in a poster-blitz and poster session, allowing lab staff to explore the faculties research for possible areas of collaboration. After the poster blitz, the faculty and lab staff took part in speed-meetings where lab staff were able to meet with faculty to make connections and discuss their collaboration interests. The matchmaking workshop concluded with a number of promising collaborations made. Nine faculty/student groups are currently participating in the summer research program at LBNL.
Dr. Wai Lau, a math professor at Seattle Pacific University, is currently participating in the summer research program with three of his students. Dr. Lau decided to involve his students in the summer research program because he knew it would be a valuable experience for them. One of Lau’s students, Elise Bishoff, shared that her experience in the summer research program has been advantageous to her so far. “[My participation] has opened my eyes to all the varying career paths available. Also, it has been a great networking tool” shared Bishoff. “I never thought I would get this awesome opportunity to do research at a national laboratory. I just wish I knew about this stuff earlier” she continued. Another one of Dr. Lau’s students, Delsey Sabu, has also seen many benefits because of her participation.
The summer research internship is a great way for me to extend my network. After this internship, I expect to walk away with not just more skill, but also with a better idea of how my degree is going to be able to help more people and be of influence in this world
Another 2016 faculty member, Xinlian Liu, was also excited to involve his students in the summer research program. Liu brought two students with him to Berkeley lab, and says they are having an experience unlike any other. “My students are awed and thrilled. They will likely pursue a scientific research career path because of this experience” he shared. However, his students are not the only ones benefiting from the experience. Liu says he has also found the summer research project to be rewarding. “I got to enter a very interesting field (protein structure) that I have not looked into in detail before. This will help with my teaching and research after I return to my regular teaching job” said Liu.
Although the SRP Program participants will finish up their summer research experience in the next few months, their experience will continue to impact them for years to come. Dr. Sally Ellingson first got involved in the SRP Program in 2015, and has been a visiting faculty member at LBNL for the past two years. Dr. Ellingson met Dr. Bert de Jong, a highly distinguished computational chemist at Berkeley Lab, as a result of her participation in SRP. Since 2015, Ellingson and de Jong have co-authored a research proposal, and Ellingson has recently presented a peer-reviewed paper on their collaboration at the International Conference on Computational Sciences in Switzerland.
Participant testimonials and stories (found below) provide evidence that the SRP Program significantly impacts all faculty and students who are involved. We hope to continue holding the SRP Program in following years so we can expand the positive impact to more deserving faculty and students, making for a brighter scientific future.