Computer Science/STEM Leaders Explain How to Spark STEM Interest in Youth

November 1, 2016

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Nov. 1 — The future demands a large, diverse pool of innovative scientists, engineers and mathematicians who can work together to solve big problems. The working scientists who lead SC16, the premier international conference showcasing high performance computing coming up this November, envision and advocate for a future talent pool that looks far larger and more diverse.

“Teams are always more successful at solving problems when they include thinkers with many life experiences and perspectives,” said Trish Damkroger, Acting Associate Director for Computation at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, who directs a 1,000-employee workforce enabling scientific discovery through large-scale computational analysis, visualization and mathematical modeling, and serves as one of the members of the SC16 leadership team. “I am saddened that there are not more women scientists and engineers. I can no longer believe it will just happen. I realized we have to work together to change the demographics.”

“In 2016, many of us encourage our children, girls and boys alike, to pursue whatever studies and careers call to them. We like to believe we are living in more egalitarian times,” said Damkroger. “However, I have found that students still experience discrimination in the classroom and beyond,” she said.

“Recent studies have shown that scientists of both genders are more likely to hire male applicants for laboratory positions than equally qualified female applicants,” Damkroger said. “The ways that our biases play out may be subtle. My female friends and I call each other when we start acting ‘too female,’ like questioning whether we are capable of a new role. Using the talents and styles of all minds is imperative if we are going to have the workforce of tomorrow.”

“Of course we all know that not every engineer or theoretical mathematician needs to look the same or conform to a rigid set of gender or personality expectations,” said Jeanine Cook, [email protected] Chair from Sandia National Laboratories. “More of us have to act on that knowledge—that diversity makes us stronger and more effective,” she said.

“There’s no doubt we have a long way to go,” Cook said. “My female colleagues and I still witness and experience professional slights, both overt and subtle. The oft-repeated jokes about gender. The lack of diversity in many leadership positions. It all adds up to a steady drumbeat that can drive people out of science study and work,” she said. “But I see reasons to hope that the culture of scientific work environments both outside and inside the academy are slowly evolving to become more inclusive,” Cook said. “As a woman in the field, I share the responsibility to help ensure that our future talent pool is both deeper and wider.”

The motivation is high, as the future is bright for people who are interested and qualified for lucrative and rewarding careers in science, technology, engineering and math. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the average wage for all STEM occupations is $85,570, nearly double the average for all occupations ($47,230), and only five of the 100 STEM jobs pay below the average for all occupations. The outlook is bright for STEM jobs.

STEM is coming into our national consciousness as a priority, and everyone agrees that we need to encourage our youngest innovators. Education and government are putting the vision into action, and all over the country, coding clubs, robotics classes, maker spaces and other hands-on STEM experiences for all age groups are popping up. The Obama administration has spearheaded a nation-wide effort to prioritize STEM education, garnering $700 million in public-private partnerships, working to preparing 100,000 new and effective STEM teachers over the next decade, showcasing and bolstering federal investment in STEM, and broadening participation to inspire a more diverse talent pool for STEM jobs. The first ever White House Science Fair was hosted by Obama in 2010, in an effort to hold up our scientists in as high a regard as we do our athletes and entertainers.

So what’s a parent to do? The leaders of SC16 suggest that parents can help open the door to STEM learning and eventually fulfilling, rewarding work and lucrative careers in STEM fields. The following tips are drawn from SC16 leader experience as well as a variety of community organizations working to enhance STEM learning opportunities for girls and boys of all ages. For more information, visit Project Lead the Way (www.pltw.org), Girls Who Code (https://girlswhocode.com/) or a local STEM educator near you, such as Bricks 4 Kidz (http://www.bricks4kidz.com) or C&A Robot Factory (http://carobotfactory.com).

Six Tips For Parents to Open STEM Doors

  • Consider and reckon with your own experiences with math, science and academic achievement. Did you personally struggle with these classes as a young student? Do you have preconceived notions about what “kind of person” succeeds in science and math? Even the most egalitarian people can have deep-seated ideas about gender “norms” and it’s helpful if you are honest with yourself. Resolve to leave any antiquated notions behind and refrain from allowing your personal biases or experiences to constrain your own or any other child.
  • Read to your young children about science, math and technology, no matter what interest you have on the subjects personally. Make it part of your mission to expose your children to simple science experiments, shows and museum exhibits. Visit the nonfiction stacks at the library and stock your home with lots of books about animals and the natural world, as well as biographies about famous scientists. Read newspaper and magazine articles about science topics together.
  • Encourage curiosity and reward it from a very young age. Scientists and engineers seek out answers for a living, and 65% of scientists & STEM graduate students say they developed their interest in elementary school.3 Encourage your child’s questions and efforts to find the answers. Set up your home environment to be conducive to your child’s experimentation. Your kitchen, basement, garage and yard are excellent starter laboratories—treat them that way, allowing your learners to make (and clean up) their own messes. Ask the children you meet what they are reading, what problems they’re solving and what questions they’re asking. Engage all the children you meet as fellow thinkers.
  • Tap into after-school enrichment activities and experiences to kindle a child’s interest. Sign them up for coding clubs and robotics classes. Take them to a workshop at a maker space or hands-on STEM experience at your local library. Subscribe to mail-order STEM activity kits (Tinkercrate.com) to get your child playing and thinking. Keep exposing them to new experiences, but don’t stop there—watch for where their excitement is sparked and keep feeding the flames with related books, museum visits, and new learning experiences that build on each other.
  • Identify and seek out mentors and teachers who work in the fields and find ways for your older student to learn from them. Many people who have become successful in STEM fields cite the inspiration of a family member or good teacher who propelled them to keep asking questions and solving problems and coached and supported them along the way. Recruit parents from your child’s school who work in the sciences, engineering and technology to participate in a STEM career day. Arrange for you and your child to spend time with your friend who works as a chemist. Keep seeking out supportive relationships, especially for older students who have demonstrated interest and aptitude. All young scientists benefit from mentor relationships, but young women pursuing undergraduate, graduate and doctoral science and math studies are especially wise to seek out female classmates and mentors to help them navigate and thrive.
  • Most importantly, know that many students give up on math and science before they’ve had a chance to understand, appreciate and fall in love with their true beauty and interconnectedness. Keep encouraging your child to grapple with hard problems and do the work necessary to understand science and math, at all ages. Invest time and money in good academic coaching if your child is struggling to stay with these subjects. Encourage them to persist—the rewards will be great.

For more information, or to connect with these professionals about STEM industry diversity or other related topics, contact Brian Ban, SC16 Communications, (773) 454-7423.

About SC16

SC16 is the premier international conference showcasing the many ways high performance computing, networking, storage and analysis lead to advances in scientific discovery, research, education and commerce. The annual event, created and sponsored by IEEE Computer Society and the ACM (Association for Computing Machinery), attracts HPC professionals and educators from around the globe to participate in its complete technical education program, workshops, tutorials, a world class exhibit area, demonstrations and opportunities for hands-on learning.


Source: SC16

Subscribe to HPCwire's Weekly Update!

Be the most informed person in the room! Stay ahead of the tech trends with industy updates delivered to you every week!

RIKEN Post-K Supercomputer Named After Japan’s Tallest Peak

May 23, 2019

May 23 -- RIKEN President Hiroshi Matsumoto announced that the successor to the K computer will be named Fugaku, another name for Mount Fuji, which is the tallest mountain peak in Japan. Supercomputer Fugaku, developed b Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Cray’s Emerging Market & Technology Director Arti Garg Peers Around HPC/AI Corner

May 23, 2019

In her position as emerging market and technology director at Cray, Arti Garg doesn't just have a front-row seat to the future of computing, she plays an active role in making that future happen. Key to Garg's role is understanding how deep learning scientists are using state-of-the-art HPC infrastructures and figuring out how to push those limits further. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Combining Machine Learning and Supercomputing to Ferret out Phishing Attacks

May 23, 2019

The relentless ingenuity that drives cyber hacking is a global engine that knows no rest. Anyone with a laptop and run-of-the-mill computer smarts can buy or rent a phishing kit and start attacking – or it can be done Read more…

By Doug Black

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

HPE and Intel® Omni-Path Architecture: How to Power a Cloud

Learn how HPE and Intel® Omni-Path Architecture provide critical infrastructure for leading Nordic HPC provider’s HPCFLOW cloud service.

For decades, HPE has been at the forefront of high-performance computing, and we’ve powered some of the fastest and most robust supercomputers in the world. Read more…

IBM Accelerated Insights

Who’s Driving Your Car?

Delivering a fully autonomous driving (AD) vehicle remains a key priority for both manufacturers and technology firms (“firms”). However, passenger safety is now a top-of-mind concern due in great part, to fatalities resulting from driving tests over the past years. Read more…

TACC’s Upgraded Ranch Data Storage System Debuts New Features, Exabyte Potential

May 22, 2019

There's a joke attributed to comedian Steven Wright that goes, "You can't have everything. Where would you put it?" Users of advanced computing can likely relate to this. The exponential growth of data poses a steep challenge to efforts for its reliable storage. For over 12 years, the Ranch system at the Texas Advanced Computing Center... Read more…

By Jorge Salazar, TACC

Cray’s Emerging Market & Technology Director Arti Garg Peers Around HPC/AI Corner

May 23, 2019

In her position as emerging market and technology director at Cray, Arti Garg doesn't just have a front-row seat to the future of computing, she plays an active role in making that future happen. Key to Garg's role is understanding how deep learning scientists are using state-of-the-art HPC infrastructures and figuring out how to push those limits further. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Combining Machine Learning and Supercomputing to Ferret out Phishing Attacks

May 23, 2019

The relentless ingenuity that drives cyber hacking is a global engine that knows no rest. Anyone with a laptop and run-of-the-mill computer smarts can buy or re Read more…

By Doug Black

Cray – and the Cray Brand – to Be Positioned at Tip of HPE’s HPC Spear

May 22, 2019

More so than with most acquisitions of this kind, HPE’s purchase of Cray for $1.3 billion, announced last week, seems to have elements of that overused, often Read more…

By Doug Black and Tiffany Trader

HPE to Acquire Cray for $1.3B

May 17, 2019

Venerable supercomputer pioneer Cray Inc. will be acquired by Hewlett Packard Enterprise for $1.3 billion under a definitive agreement announced this morning. T Read more…

By Doug Black & Tiffany Trader

Deep Learning Competitors Stalk Nvidia

May 14, 2019

There is no shortage of processing architectures emerging to accelerate deep learning workloads, with two more options emerging this week to challenge GPU leader Nvidia. First, Intel researchers claimed a new deep learning record for image classification on the ResNet-50 convolutional neural network. Separately, Israeli AI chip startup Hailo.ai... Read more…

By George Leopold

CCC Offers Draft 20-Year AI Roadmap; Seeks Comments

May 14, 2019

Artificial Intelligence in all its guises has captured much of the conversation in HPC and general computing today. The White House, DARPA, IARPA, and Departmen Read more…

By John Russell

Cascade Lake Shows Up to 84 Percent Gen-on-Gen Advantage on STAC Benchmarking

May 13, 2019

The Securities Technology Analysis Center (STAC) issued a report Friday comparing the performance of Intel's Cascade Lake processors with previous-gen Skylake u Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Nvidia Claims 6000x Speed-Up for Stock Trading Backtest Benchmark

May 13, 2019

A stock trading backtesting algorithm used by hedge funds to simulate trading variants has received a massive, GPU-based performance boost, according to Nvidia, Read more…

By Doug Black

Cray, AMD to Extend DOE’s Exascale Frontier

May 7, 2019

Cray and AMD are coming back to Oak Ridge National Laboratory to partner on the world’s largest and most expensive supercomputer. The Department of Energy’s Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Graphene Surprises Again, This Time for Quantum Computing

May 8, 2019

Graphene is fascinating stuff with promise for use in a seeming endless number of applications. This month researchers from the University of Vienna and Institu Read more…

By John Russell

Why Nvidia Bought Mellanox: ‘Future Datacenters Will Be…Like High Performance Computers’

March 14, 2019

“Future datacenters of all kinds will be built like high performance computers,” said Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang during a phone briefing on Monday after Nvidia revealed scooping up the high performance networking company Mellanox for $6.9 billion. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

It’s Official: Aurora on Track to Be First US Exascale Computer in 2021

March 18, 2019

The U.S. Department of Energy along with Intel and Cray confirmed today that an Intel/Cray supercomputer, "Aurora," capable of sustained performance of one exaf Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

ClusterVision in Bankruptcy, Fate Uncertain

February 13, 2019

ClusterVision, European HPC specialists that have built and installed over 20 Top500-ranked systems in their nearly 17-year history, appear to be in the midst o Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Intel Reportedly in $6B Bid for Mellanox

January 30, 2019

The latest rumors and reports around an acquisition of Mellanox focus on Intel, which has reportedly offered a $6 billion bid for the high performance interconn Read more…

By Doug Black

Looking for Light Reading? NSF-backed ‘Comic Books’ Tackle Quantum Computing

January 28, 2019

Still baffled by quantum computing? How about turning to comic books (graphic novels for the well-read among you) for some clarity and a little humor on QC. The Read more…

By John Russell

Deep Learning Competitors Stalk Nvidia

May 14, 2019

There is no shortage of processing architectures emerging to accelerate deep learning workloads, with two more options emerging this week to challenge GPU leader Nvidia. First, Intel researchers claimed a new deep learning record for image classification on the ResNet-50 convolutional neural network. Separately, Israeli AI chip startup Hailo.ai... Read more…

By George Leopold

Leading Solution Providers

SC 18 Virtual Booth Video Tour

Advania @ SC18 AMD @ SC18
ASRock Rack @ SC18
DDN Storage @ SC18
HPE @ SC18
IBM @ SC18
Lenovo @ SC18 Mellanox Technologies @ SC18
NVIDIA @ SC18
One Stop Systems @ SC18
Oracle @ SC18 Panasas @ SC18
Supermicro @ SC18 SUSE @ SC18 TYAN @ SC18
Verne Global @ SC18

The Case Against ‘The Case Against Quantum Computing’

January 9, 2019

It’s not easy to be a physicist. Richard Feynman (basically the Jimi Hendrix of physicists) once said: “The first principle is that you must not fool yourse Read more…

By Ben Criger

Deep500: ETH Researchers Introduce New Deep Learning Benchmark for HPC

February 5, 2019

ETH researchers have developed a new deep learning benchmarking environment – Deep500 – they say is “the first distributed and reproducible benchmarking s Read more…

By John Russell

IBM Bets $2B Seeking 1000X AI Hardware Performance Boost

February 7, 2019

For now, AI systems are mostly machine learning-based and “narrow” – powerful as they are by today's standards, they're limited to performing a few, narro Read more…

By Doug Black

Arm Unveils Neoverse N1 Platform with up to 128-Cores

February 20, 2019

Following on its Neoverse roadmap announcement last October, Arm today revealed its next-gen Neoverse microarchitecture with compute and throughput-optimized si Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Intel Launches Cascade Lake Xeons with Up to 56 Cores

April 2, 2019

At Intel's Data-Centric Innovation Day in San Francisco (April 2), the company unveiled its second-generation Xeon Scalable (Cascade Lake) family and debuted it Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Announcing four new HPC capabilities in Google Cloud Platform

April 15, 2019

When you’re running compute-bound or memory-bound applications for high performance computing or large, data-dependent machine learning training workloads on Read more…

By Wyatt Gorman, HPC Specialist, Google Cloud; Brad Calder, VP of Engineering, Google Cloud; Bart Sano, VP of Platforms, Google Cloud

Nvidia Claims 6000x Speed-Up for Stock Trading Backtest Benchmark

May 13, 2019

A stock trading backtesting algorithm used by hedge funds to simulate trading variants has received a massive, GPU-based performance boost, according to Nvidia, Read more…

By Doug Black

In Wake of Nvidia-Mellanox: Xilinx to Acquire Solarflare

April 25, 2019

With echoes of Nvidia’s recent acquisition of Mellanox, FPGA maker Xilinx has announced a definitive agreement to acquire Solarflare Communications, provider Read more…

By Doug Black

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!
Share This