After success in 2015, Sustainable Horizons Institute (SHI) and Lawrence Berkeley National Lab (LBNL) came together again in 2016 to hold the second SRP Program. The SRP 2015 program was a great success. As a testimony to this success, the SRP 2016 program was expanded to include two additional labs: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and Sandia National Laboratory. This expansion provided an opportunity for two more Department of Energy (DOE) national 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 workshop”, said Dr. Mary Ann Leung, President of SHI. With two additional labs, the excitement and opportunity for faculty and staff to build research collaborations was even greater.
The expansion allowed the SRP program to significantly increase meeting attendance. In December 2016, SHI brought 28 faculty from multiple colleges including independent liberal arts colleges and Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) such as: Spelman College, Hood College, and Alcorn 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 probe the research for possible areas of collaboration. After the poster blitz, the faculty and lab staff took part in speed-meetings: lab staff were able to meet with faculty to make connections and discuss ways of enhancing faculty research through collaborative partnerships. The matchmaking workshop concluded with several promising connections made.
Dr. Wai Lau, a math professor at Seattle Pacific University completed the summer research program with three of his students. Dr. Lau knew the summer research program would be a valuable experience for his students One of Lau’s students, Elise Bishoff, shared that her experience in the summer research program has been advantageous to her. “[My participation] has opened my eyes to all the varying career paths available. Also, it has been a great networking tool. 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” exclaimed Bishoff. Another one of Dr. Lau’s students, Delsey Sabu, has also seen many direct benefits resulting from her participation in SRP. She had this to say about the summer research experience at Berkeley Lab:
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 I can use my degree to help more people and be of influence in this world.
Dr. Xinlian Liu, of Hood College was also excited to involve his students in the SRP 2016 summer research program. Dr. Liu brought two students with him to Berkeley lab, and says they had an experience unlike any other. He states: “My students are awed and thrilled. They will likely pursue a scientific research career path because of this experience”. His students are not the only ones benefiting from the experience. Liu says the summer research project was very 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. SRP allows faculty and lab staff to identify and develop the commonalities and intersections of their research interests. Dr. Liu and his team returned to SRP in 2017. They will be continuing their collaborative research with Berkeley lab staff, returning to the Berkeley lab in the summer of 2018.
Although the SRP program participants finished up their summer research experience in a few short months, their experience continues to propel them. Dr. Sally Ellingson first got involved in the SRP Program in 2015, and returned to the SRP Program at LBNL as visiting faculty in 2016. As a result of her participation in SRP, Dr. Ellingson met Dr. Bert de Jong, a highly distinguished computational chemist at Berkeley Lab. Since 2015, Ellingson and de Jong have co-authored a research proposal, and in 2017, she presented a peer-reviewed paper on their collaboration at the International Conference on Computational Sciences in Zurich, Switzerland.
Participant testimonials and stories (found below) provide further evidence that the SRP Program significantly impacts all faculty and students who get involved. We look forward to future SRP program activities and extending the positive impacts of this exceptional program to include greater numbers of faculty and students, making for a brighter scientific future.