This proposal seeks to engage and prepare more undergraduate and graduate students from EPSCoR institutions in the use of computing to advance science, engineering, and scholarly studies. In addition, the project seeks to establish and build on relationships between students and mentors to assist in the retention of students in CI activities and studies. The proposal notes the need of ?a comprehensive plan for education and outreach in computational science to support learning and workforce development? presented in the NSF?s Cyberinfrastructure Framework for 21st Century Science and Engineering seeks and thus, seeks to develop student oriented education, outreach, and training programs that support, utilize and advance the CI ecosystem. A key component of the proposal is the goal to establish a strong CI presence of a more diverse undergraduate and graduate cadre of students within EPSCoR jurisdictions.
Intellectual Merit: The intellectual merit centers on the creation of a student CI engagement program across EPSCoR jurisdictions designed around workforce development to meet 21st century CI needs. This includes proposed efforts to expand the awareness of, ability to deploy, and access to CI resources and services locally, regionally, and nationally. Broader Impacts: Enabling a diverse cohort of students from EPSCoR jurisdictions to join the national CI ecosystem as users, champions, and mentors through CI outreach, education, and training addresses a national priority of developing the CI savvy workforce needed to address 21st century challenges. By modeling the education and training successes of Campus CI Champion programs in several EPSCoR jurisdictions, the proposers seek to build a national framework to increase the number and diversity of undergraduate and graduate students within EPSCoR jurisdictions who are prepared CI practitioners and mentors.
The principal project goal of the "National EPSCoR Student Engagement Program" served to introduce advanced cyberinfrastructure (ACI) to undergraduate and graduate students from institutions located in EPSCoR jurisdictions in order to prepare them for their future in a technology driven world. This program was designed to provide students opportunities to explore ACI, including advanced computing, campus wide grid environments (HTCondor), and national grids (XSEDE, OSG), virtual organizations, data science (mining, management, file systems/storage), visualization, networking and cloud services (SaaS, IaaS, PaaS). By expanding the awareness of, and ability to access and deploy CI resources and services (provided on and between campuses, as well as those provided by federal agencies and other state, regional, national and international CI providers) student participants were able to begin their journey in becoming a CI student champion/mentor within their CI community. Initially, A two-day face-to-face on site orientation held at Clemson University in February 2012, was attended by all 82 program participants. The program consisted of several sessions on cyberinfrastructure, a tour of Clemsonâ€™s Data Center, and a tour of Clemsonâ€™s International Center for Automotive Research. Building upon the CI orientation at Clemson and the online webinar experiences, students were provided the opportunity to attend SC12 in Salt Lake City followed by a workshop held at the University of Kentucky. These activities increased student engagement with one another and with several of the webinar speakers. Students at the UK workshop had the opportunity to share his or her campus CI evaluation with the other attendees. Continuing the successful experience from Clemson kickoff, SC12, and UK workshop, 18 students were able to explore cyberinfrastructure at the national level by attending the XSEDE13 conference, www.xsede.org/web/xsede13. At XSEDE13 students were able to expand on the CI awareness/knowledge gained through the XSEDE webinar and hands on tutorials by face-to-face interactions with people within the XSEDE community. Thirteen online webinars were conducted from March through November 2012. All sessions were recorded and made public for later viewing by interested parties. In addition to the students participating in our program, other parties became aware of the webinars and joined the presentations and discussions. External groups included students and coordinators within the XSEDE Student Engagement Program, students within a cyberinfrastructure course at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, participants within the SC12 Education Program, and NSF EPSCoR staff. Typically exhibitors at the SC conferences do not invite students to participate in booth activities, especially if they are not affiliated with the organization. This project included a trial run of a booth-mentoring program at SC12. Each booth assignment included a booth mentor. The goal of this activity was to have each student becoming an integral member of the team. As a result, the booth mentor program was very successful in that (1) students provided each booth with additional resources; (2) students had expanded interaction with CI experts? and (3) exhibitors had a mentoring experience. Students and exhibitors both indicated that it was a positive experience and encouraged continuing the program in future years.