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Sustainable Research Pathways 2017

After two incredibly successfully years, SHI and LBNL embarked on the third year of the SRP Program. The positive outcomes of SRP 2015 and SRP 2016 allowed the SRP program to continue its efforts to increase the breadth and quality of the scientific workforce and to encourage the development of research collaborations. In December 2017, SHI brought 28 faculty from colleges including independent liberal arts colleges and HBCUs such as: Spelman College, Hood College, and Fort Valley State University to participate in a fast paced one-day matchmaking workshop in Berkeley, CA. At the workshop, faculty participants shared their research in a poster-blitz and poster session, allowing lab staff to explore the research for possible areas of collaboration. After the poster blitz, participants engaged in speed-meetings, where lab staff were able to: meet with faculty, to make connections, and discuss the possibility of enhancing faculty research as collaborative partners. Many promising connections were made during the workshop, and ultimately, faculty/student groups participated in the summer research program at LBNL.

Dr. Alina Lazar (SRP 2016 & SRP 2017) is a Professor of Computer Science and Information Systems at Youngstown State University. This is her second year participating in the SRP program. She understands the impact that active participation in well-developed research projects can have on undergraduate students. Dr. Lazar says of her teaching style, “I have always worked hard to support students and to mentor them to stay in the field”. Through the SRP program, Dr. Lazar has provided a realistic research experience for her undergraduate students: Alyssa Pawluk (SRP 2016) Alexandra L. Ballow (SRP 2017) and Tyler J. Liebengood (SRP 2017). Mr. Liebengood has this to say about his SRP experience:

I am extremely thankful for the opportunity to perform research at one of the top scientific facilities in the world, and with enormously supportive mentors. At Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, I have been able to collaborate and take recommendations from scientists from more diverse backgrounds than my own. This significantly impacted the success of my work.


Alyssa, Alexandra, and Tyler worked together with Dr. Lazar at Youngstown State University and Berkeley lab to apply their computer and programming skills to the investigation of scientific problems. Their SRP summer research has allowed the students a chance to make a significant contribution to the discovery of new knowledge.

After a highly productive first summer at Berkeley, during which Dr. Xinlian Liu of Hood College was able to bring two of his students (Tom Corcoran and Rafael Zamora-Resendiz) to Berkeley lab, Dr. Liu returned to Berkeley for a second summer research experience. Dr. Liu is pleased with the SRP program and how it has inspired his students. He offers these comments on SRP: “This program is instrumental to workforce development in computational research”.

After completing undergraduate degrees in Computer Science at Hood College, and participating in the SRP program, his students have gone on to pursue careers in science. Mr. Zamora-Resendiz now works at LBNL in the Computational Research Division, and Mr. Tom Corcoran found a job at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. Dr. Liu is at LBNL this summer conducting his research with Xiange Wang, a Computer Science undergraduate from Hood College. His multi-year commitment to scientific excellence at Berkeley has been inspirational and instructive for first-year SRP faculty-student research teams. Dr. Liu is excited to be back at Berkeley working with Dr. Silvia Crivelli on what he refers to as “a really important project with tremendous social impact”. Of his collaborators at Berkeley, he says:

Our mentor Dr. Crivelli has been instrumental in any progress we achieved as she meticulously guided the project. There are many scientists who are passionate about developing cutting-edge research, and there are many teachers who are dedicated to education. However, it’s rare to find researchers who are so enthusiastic about teaching and collaborative work as we see from our mentors at LBL.


Dr. Henry Boateng is a Mathematics Professor at Bates College and a first-year participant in SRP. As an SRP 2017 researcher, Dr. Boateng is able to provide his student, David Akinyemi with a focused research experience in high performance computing and the opportunity to work alongside scientists at a national lab. Reflecting on his SRP experience he says:

The program is excellent. I was able to meet LBNL scientists and see potential areas for collaboration. I cannot overemphasize the sense of belonging that this diverse professional network has provided for me. I was also able to bring a student with me to LBNL for the summer.


More SRP participant stories can be found below. These stories provide evidence that the SRP Program significantly impacts all faculty and students who get involved. We look forward to future SRP cohorts extending the positive impacts of this exceptional program to even more faculty and students, making for a brighter scientific future.