The goal of the Sustainable Research Pathways (SRP) program, a partnership between Lawrence Berkeley National Lab and SHI, is to connect computing sciences faculty and students from underrepresented groups (minorities, women, smaller colleges & universities) with staff at Berkeley Lab for research collaborations.
The process began in October 2015 as faculty applications were submitted to the program to attend a matching workshop at Berkeley Lab. A team of lab staff reviewed applicants and invitations were sent to faculty based on the potential for a research match. Sixteen faculty members were funded to attend the workshop at Berkeley Lab in December 2015. During this fast-paced two-days, invited faculty heard from lab staff about possible areas of research collaboration and then faculty had the opportunity to showcase their research and abilities during a poster blitz and poster session. The workshop concluded with mini-meetings between interested lab staff and faculty to facilitate partnerships during a summer research experience in 2016. After matches were made, Sustainable Horizons Institute (SHI) assisted the matched faculty and their students prepare for the summer research program, which began June 6th.
Sustainable Horizons Institute’s President, Dr. Mary Ann Leung, traveled to Berkeley Lab and visited with the SRP program members to inquire about the experience. The comments were overwhelmingly positive and many cannot believe the summer went so fast. Dr. Sally Ellingson, from the University of Kentucky College of Medicine Markey Cancer Center had this to say, “If it wasn’t for Mary Ann encouraging me to apply for the SRP workshop I wouldn’t have even known or thought about opportunities to work at Berkeley Labs for the summer… I am greatly thankful to our mentors, the Computational Research Division, and Sustainable Horizons for enabling this great opportunity for us!”
Samar Swaid, Ph.D., from Philander Smith College feels that the program was “well designed and planned and supported her efforts to build links with the lab to have on-going summer research opportunities.” The students also feel this summer research program has been beneficial as Dr. Swaid’s student, Mnsa Maat noted, “My experience here at the lab has been a great one. Through the program I’ve been exposed to a lot of new and interesting topics and ideas that I never would have known about were it not for this program. I’ve met some outstanding people here who were kind enough to listen and impart some knowledge on me that will last with me long after my stay here.”
The Sustainable Research Pathways program has been successful in attaining its goals of connecting underrepresented groups with institutions usually out of reach to them and Sustainable Horizons Institute is looking forward to following the partnerships created this summer at Berkeley!