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Sustainable Research Pathways: Collaborations Across Communities to Diversify the National Laboratory Workforce

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2019 CoNECD - The Collaborative Network for Engineering and Computing Diversity


Crystal City, Virginia

Publication Date

April 14, 2019

Start Date

April 14, 2019

End Date

April 22, 2019

Conference Session

Track: Learning Spaces, Pedagogy & Curriculum Design Technical Session 10

Tagged Topics

Diversity and Learning Spaces, Pedagogy & Curriculum Design

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Paper Authors


Mary Ann E. Leung Sustainable Horizons Instittute

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Dr. Leung is a nationally acclaimed leader in the design and implementation of innovative programs aimed at developing the next generation of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) leaders. As an accomplished scientist, Mary Ann honors and treasures the process of scientific discovery. As the director of major STEM-focused educational programs, Dr. Leung nurtured her passion for connecting students and science by developing and implementing novel and measurably impactful initiatives. At Sustainable Horizons, her combined experience base in science and education formulates the presence that is shaping STEM futures.

As program manager for the Department of Energy (DOE) Computational Science Graduate Fellowship (CSGF) program, Dr. Leung evangelized the use of high performance computing by developing workshops, arranging for large allocations coupled with training and mentoring, and increasing usage of DOE supercomputing resources. During her tenure, the program achieved an unprecedented level of recruitment and fellow and alumni engagement, represented by a strategic, multifaceted integration of online, regional, professional society, and annual conference activities. As a result of her efforts, in five years DOE CSGF doubled the number and overall quality of applicants, including a doubling and in some cases quadrupling the number of underrepresented minority applications.

Under her directorship, the National Science Foundation STEM Talent Expansion Program at Miami Dade College witnessed development and implementation of novel programming for cross-engagement of women and under-represented minorities in STEM. She initiated a rapid start, and then engaged and retained students through online and learning communities, specialized courses, virtual and traditional seminars, peer and faculty mentoring, field trips, and other activities.

A computational chemist by training, Dr. Leung is an experienced author and researcher. Her research interests include the development of scalable, parallel, scientific codes for the investigation of quantum mechanical phenomena. Her research is published in several peer-reviewed journals and she remains in-demand as a speaker and contributor at national STEM-based initiatives. She chaired the SC14 Broader Engagement committee, served on the American Association for the Advancement of Science Committee on Opportunities in Science and was an Iowa delegate for Vision 2020, a national gender equity imitative. She also worked with middle and high school girl outreach programs. She graduated with honors from Mills College, earning a B.A. in Chemistry with a Math minor. Dr. Leung holds a Ph.D. and an M.S. in Computational Physical Chemistry from the University of Washington.

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Silvia Crivelli

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Silvia Crivelli is a computational biologist who has been working on protein folding for 20 years. She has led various teams of students and post-doctoral researchers to compete in CASP (Critical Assessment of techniques for protein Structure Prediction) which is a community-wide, worldwide, multidisciplinary competition that challenges the best labs to submit blind predictions of protein structures every other summer. She recently started the WeFold coopetition (collaboration and competition) experiment that brings together research scientists and citizen scientists to solve one of the 100 top outstanding challenges in science. This large-scale open online coopetition is mediated by the homonymous science gateway ( She wants to leverage the unique character of the social-media-based collaborative research community created by WeFold to develop next generation STEM researchers and to help those young researchers further their professional networks and scientific expertise.

Silvia was born in Argentina, graduated in Applied Math at Argentina’s National University, and came to the United States to pursue a PhD in Computer Science at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Her interest in applying math and computer science to the solution of scientific problems took her to Berkeley where she completed two post-doctoral research positions, one at NERSC (National Energy Research Scientific Computing) center at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and another in the Bioengineering Department at University of California Berkeley. During her Berkeley years her interest in science became a passion that she currently shares with the students and postdocs that work with her at the Lawrence Berkeley Lab.

As a member of the selection and steering committees for the Department of Energy (DOE) Computational Science Graduate Fellowship (CSGF) program, Silvia has tirelessly worked on the mission to diversify the list of awardees to include more women and people from underrepresented groups. She believes that progress in science will come from the rich combination of ideas that only a highly diverse community can create and that the current generation has the responsibility to provide the means to open doors to individuals from all walks of society.

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The Sustainable Research Pathways (SRP) program is a partnership between the Computing Sciences Division of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, a Department of Energy National Laboratory, and Sustainable Horizons Institute. SRP aims to create research opportunities for students and faculty from under-represented, low-income, and first-generation communities that lead to long-term, fruitful relationships and research collaborations with DOE Laboratory researchers. To initiate and realize the full potential of these relationships the program organizes an annual matching workshop followed by summer internships at the laboratory packed with research and educational activities focused on computational science and high-performance computing. Visiting faculty and students are recruited from a variety of institutions including minority serving, women’s, liberal arts, community colleges and other educational institutions. Selected qualified faculty applicants attend a matching workshop in which both, faculty and Laboratory researchers briefly present their work, learn about potential research collaborations, engage in one-on-one discussions, and develop collaborative research proposals. Faculty who are matched to laboratory researchers engage in an intensive summer research experience at the laboratory with a few of their students or in some cases send students to engage in a summer laboratory research experience. Visiting faculty often extend the impact of the program by using their research experience in the classroom at their home institutions, and many of them continue their collaborations at the laboratory during subsequent summers with a new group of students. We present data on recruitment, the matching workshop, and research experiences, illustrating how the program has successfully created opportunities that changed the professional trajectory of many participants, infused a new dimension of diversity awareness among laboratory staff, brought people together that would probably never have met otherwise, started new productive collaborations, and provided vibrant research experiences for faculty who otherwise have scarce opportunities for research.

Leung, M. A. E., & Crivelli, S. (2019, April), Sustainable Research Pathways: Collaborations Across Communities to Diversify the National Laboratory Workforce Paper presented at 2019 CoNECD - The Collaborative Network for Engineering and Computing Diversity , Crystal City, Virginia.

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