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Sustainable Research Pathways 2016

A group of SRP faculty participants ready for the fast-paced matchmaking workshop.

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.

A faculty participant viewing research during the poster session.

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. 8 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.

A faculty participant sharing his research during the poster blitz.

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. 

Rafael Zamora-Resendiz

I first got involved with the SRP Program through my college professor, Dr. Xinlian Liu. He was planning to participate in research project at LBNL over the summer, and he invited me to come with to work on the project as well. So far, I am really enjoying my experience! The SRP Program has allowed me to expand my skills in High Performance Computing while also allowing me to make connections to experts who can lead me in regards to the current research project and possible future work. I feel very fortunate to have the ability to work on large scale problems with all the resources available i[Read more]

Elise Bishoff

I first discovered the opportunity to participate in the SRP Program’s summer research internship through my math professor, Wai Lau. Before participating, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but now that I am here, I am having the best time! I really appreciate having the opportunity to learn about a new subject and to participate at national laboratory with full time researchers. Participating in the summer research internship has inspired me to look into more research opportunities and think of ways I can start working on my own research projects now. Also, I never knew this kind of stuff exi[Read more]

Tom Corcoran

I first became involved in the SRP Program when my advisor, Dr. Xinlian Liu, recommended me for the summer research internship at Berkeley lab. So far, my experience at the lab has been great. I feel very fortunate to be able to work on real-world applications of distributed machine learning on supercomputers with the HPC professionals at LBNL's NERSC! There is no doubt that this program has positively impacted me. The most beneficial parts of this program so far have been interacting with the professionals at the lab, learning from their expert code base, learning to use the supercomputing ha[Read more]

Dr. Sally Ellingson

Participating in the SRP Program has been a very beneficial experience to me! The SRP matching workshop allowed me the unique opportunity to meet with a number of esteemed researchers at LBNL and understand how their expertise could advance my own research. The best part of the workshop was making several matches and being invited to participate in the summer research program with my students. I was not expecting to make so many matches during the workshop, and it was rewarding to see so many scientists interested in collaborating with me! Since my first experience with the program in 2015, I[Read more]