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December 10, 2008
AUSTIN, Texas, Dec. 8 -- Educators and students from Ohio, Oregon, Maryland, Illinois, Iowa and New Jersey were honored at the recent SC08 conference here for their outstanding accomplishments in computational science among undergraduate faculty, K-12 teachers and students at all levels.
The awards were presented during the SC08 Education Program, which was held in conjunction with the conference in November. The program focuses on engaging teachers and students across every level in learning about the latest technologies and applications for advancing scientific discovery. The program supports educators in bringing emerging technology and techniques into the classroom to better prepare the future workforce.
The SC Education Program is supported by the SC Conferences, ACM, the IEEE Computer Society and TeraGrid. Numerous academic and industrial organizations also provide financial and volunteer support. See www.sc-education.org for more information.
The Undergraduate Computational Engineering and Sciences (UCES) Awards were presented at a November 18 luncheon to Steven Gordon, Ohio Supercomputer Center, and Rubin Landau, Oregon State University.
Gordon was honored for developing an innovative undergraduate minor program in computational science that spans nine Ohio colleges, including community and liberal arts colleges and large research universities.
Faculty at the colleges were interested in computational science but most would not have been able to start a complete program on their own, Gordon said. "By collaborating across institutions, we were able to make it feasible for all those participating to implement the program without needing the faculty and other resources for every course," he said.
The program has been well received, with about 100 students participating in courses in the first full year. The award "will help us accelerate the momentum for computational science education in Ohio," Gordon said.
Landau was recognized for developing a textbook with coauthors Manuel. J. Paez and Cristian Bordeianu. "A Survey of Computational Physics: Introductory Computational Science" provides comprehensive coverage of modern issues in computational physics at the upper-division collegiate level.
Landau said one goal of the book -- a rewritten and extended version of a 1997 text -- was to move computational engineering and science (CES) into the educational mainstream. "Response around the country has been wonderful," he said. Faculty "want to know about it and be convinced so they can convince their fellow faculty" to adopt undergraduate CES courses.
Landau, an emeritus professor at Oregon State for the last five years, said the award "means the world," especially since it came at the end of his career. "You like to look back and think you have had an impact, so when your peers recognize you, that's very gratifying," he said.
Created to promote and enhance undergraduate education in CES, the UCES awards encourage further development of innovative educational resources and programs; recognize the achievements of CES educators; and disseminate educational material and ideas to the broad scientific and engineering undergraduate community. The Krell Institute administers this program. For more information, go to http://www2.krellinst.org/uces_award/.
Dr. Mary Ellen Verona Computational Science Teacher Leader Award
The Verona awards were presented to Scott Sinex and John Meinzen on Nov. 15.
Sinex, of Prince George's Community College in Largo, Md., received the 2008 Verona Computational Science Outreach Leader Award for his outstanding record in conducting workshops that have empowered K-12 teachers to use computational tools with their students.
Sinex said he turned to computational science out of frustration at teaching "dynamic topics in a static nature."
"Computer tools allowed the dynamic nature of topics to be addressed in a very interactive fashion," he added. Teachers are drawn to that interactive nature, the ability to ask "what if" questions and the ability to bring mathematics alive, Sinex said. The Maryland Virtual High School and the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center have been vital partners, he said, in helping him spread computational science to high schools in Maryland and Pittsburgh.
Meinzen, of Edwardsville High School in Illinois, received the 2008 Verona Computational Science Teacher Leader Award for his exemplary integration of computational models in his own computer science courses and his leadership in demonstrating applications of computational tools to teachers in other disciplines.
Students have reacted enthusiastically to the introduction of computational science applications in classes, said Meinzen, who also teaches math at Southwestern Illinois College. "As soon as they see a well-designed application, they start exploring and brainstorming ideas on how they can use the application and how far they can 'push the envelope,'" he said. That inevitably leads to students driving the discussion and learning.
The award has made community college administrators, community leaders and others more aware of the computer-driven transformation of science and technology, Meinzen added. He's now creating a new high school computational science computer lab where more science educators also can come to learn and teach.
The Verona Award Program recognizes individuals who demonstrate computational science leadership through their use of computational tools to enhance student learning in K-12 classrooms or after-school settings and honors their active participation in sharing their strategies and methods.
Dr. Robert M. Panoff Award
The Panoff awards also were presented on November to 15 to James Dean, an aerospace engineering senior at Iowa State University, and Ryan Suleski, a junior in computer science at Kean University in Union, N.J. They were recognized for their creative use of computer-based models, simulations and visualizations as problems-solving tools.
Dean said the award is "not a recognition of finding an answer or solution to a problem, but a recognition of exploration through high-performance computing, which helps lead to a solution." After graduating in May he will work for Hawker Beechcraft Corp. in Wichita, Kansas.
Suleski said the award was an unexpected honor. "It makes my hard work over the last nine months worthwhile," he said. He plans to continue working in networking and programming during a summer internship and will graduate in the fall of 2009.
The Panoff Awards promote excellence in student-driven explorations in science made possible through the use of computation. This program is intended to encourage science exploration at all academic levels and to recognize students who have woven insight and discovery together through the use of computational modeling, simulation, and/or data analysis.
SC08, sponsored by the ACM (Association for Computing Machinery) and the IEEE Computer Society Technical Committee on Scalable Computing and the IEEE Computer Society Technical Committee on Computer Architecture, will showcase how high performance computing, networking, storage and analysis lead to advances in research, education and commerce. This premiere international conference includes technical and education programs, workshops, tutorials, an exhibit area, demonstrations and hands-on learning. For more information, visit http://sc08.supercomputing.org/.
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