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Led by the the Shodor Education Foundation, EMPOWER ( Expert Mentoring Producing Opportunities for Work, Education, and Research ) is an undergraduate student program whose goal is to expand the community of advanced research computing by recruiting and enabling a diverse group of students who have the skills – or are interested in acquiring the skills – to participate in the work of the E xtreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment ( XSEDE ) project, funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation ( NSF ).

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Participant Highlights

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February 1 –

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April 30, 2022

  • Students attending the 2021 Sustainable Horizons Institute Sustainable Research Pathways Workshop
    • Sudha Vaishnavi Nannur, Wayne State University
    • Wenhuan Tan, Bellevue College
  • Nicole Avila, California State Polytechnic University-Pomona:
    • "I completed and participated in the SACNAS conference using my XSEDE EMPOWER research. After I spent much time practicing presenting my research, I finally presented to two judges. I was able to answer questions about the science behind my project and even questions regarding the spectra I have generated. I am happy to announce that I won the Inorganic Chemistry award. I plan to present my XSEDE EMPOWER research with more judges at the SCURR conference on November 20th. I have already begun writing a new outline considering questions I was asked at the SACNAS conference." (written November 2021)
  • Damien Cooper, University of Southern Mississippi:
    • "At the beginning of November, I presented research based on this project at the Southeastern Regional Meeting of the American Chemical Society (SERMACS) in Birmingham, AL." (written December 2021)
  • Ciara Richardson and Madison Winkeler, Murray State University:
    Winkeler, M. & Richardson, C. (2021, November). Exploring the Geometric and Electronic Properties of Palladium Doped Silicon Clusters. Poster presented at Murray State University Fall 2021 Scholars Week. https://digitalcommons.murraystate.edu/scholarsweek/Fall2021/GeneralPosters/2/Anonymous student feedback:
    • "XSEDE Empower has offered me throughout the last year early exposure to areas in the computational world such as machine learning, neural networks, etc that most students would be exposed to at a higher level in their academic career." (written spring semester 2022)
    • "Everything I have learned during the XSEDE EMPOWER program was towards my educational, research, and research development. I am able to conduct so much more computational science than I ever imagined. The conferences that I was able to attend with my research generated from the XSEDE EMPOWER program have granted me friendships, knowledge, public speaking skills, and more confidence. I feel more confident and assured after my year with XSEDE." (written spring semester 2022)
  • Ermias Assefa, Bluffton University:
    • Accepted to summer 2022 internship at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory as part of Sustainable Horizons Institute Sustainable Research Pathways Program.
  • Juan David Campolargo, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign:
    • 15-minute oral presentation at National Conference for McNair Scholars and Undergraduate Research, March 17, 2022.
  • Qili (Samuel) Chen, Michigan State University:
    • "I learned so much from the project I am working on, such as the professional way of organizing a project, working on a Git project with group members, advanced machine learning concepts, and advanced coding skills. Those skill sets are typically not taught in my school. I am so glad I learned those skills. Now I am able to start my personal projects in a professional way." (written April 2022)
  • Yingrong Chen, Emory University:
    • "I am preparing for the research symposium in my school at the end of the semester. I will host an oral presentation." (written April 2022)
  • Dirk Colbry, EMPOWER mentor from Michigan State University:
    • "This program is amazing.  I wish it was still going on as it has been a great source of connection and momentum for my research. The students and I are making good progress on our research. We have submitted papers and gotten the software to a level that will enable me to go after some funding and even hire a graduate student (or two). Working with students from schools other than my own is very helpful.  It broadens the impact of my research and helps me set up connections. My students and I have submitted a publication to PEARC on the work with our SEE-Classify project." (written April 2022)
  • Filipe Correia, EMPOWER mentor from University of Georgia:
    • "Participating in EMPOWER got me and students more acquainted with supercomputing and the XSEDE interface. Also, as someone in the social sciences, it is not very common for us to use this environment, but I think it has promising uses, and this realization would not be possible without EMPOWER and XSEDE. It has enabled me to manage large scale datasets in a manageable time frame and provide students with the opportunity to experience and learn about supercomputing, as it is outside my domain." (written April 2022)
  • Hannah Crouse and Alyssa Van Fossen, Mount Vernon Nazarene University:
    • 20-minute presentation at SURC symposium at Mount Vernon Nazarene University.
  • Stephanie DeCarvalho, University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth:
    • "I compiled my data into a powerpoint and a presentation for two different conferences where I will be presenting this project." (written April 2022)
    • "Under Dr. Jun Li, I was able to apply for the MA Space Grant through MIT. I am studying the computational investigations of additively manufactured polymer composites.  This research has given me more knowledge about computational analysis. I have also been accepted into three different conferences: COExperience in New Orleans, ASEE Northeast 2022 Conference in Boston, and the Northeastern Regional Student Symposium of Society for Experimental Mechanics conference taking place at UMass Dartmouth." (source: https://www.umassd.edu/engineering/features/stephanie-decarvalho.html)
  • Jessica Egleston, Michigan State University:
    • "Figures I created were highlighted in a poster presentation at the 2022 Biophysical Society annual meeting which was held in San Francisco, California." (written March 2022).
    • Egleston, J. (2022, April 8). Structural Comparison Between Small Multi-drug Resistance (SMR) Transporter Family Members through Molecular Dynamics Simulations. Poster presented at 2022 Michigan State University Undergraduate Research and Arts Forum. Winner of first-place honor. https://natsci.msu.edu/news/natsci-undergraduates-impress-at-2022-uuraf/
  • Tim Hartman, University of South Dakota:
    • "Academically, I have been able to learn much more about available hardware and software related to biofilm image analysis. While assisting others in the lab I have been able to brainstorm new approaches to solving problems related to optics and data capture, transmission, analysis, and storage; and the performance requirements for all of these. Professionally, I have been exposed to a variety of tools made available to computational science researchers in the United States. The University of South Dakota’s resources are small compared to many other institutions in the U.S., and simply knowing that these powerful resources exist helps me set the bar higher for what I want to achieve in my career. My EMPOWER work contributed to our bio-image analysis package which is currently under review for publication. I am the paper’s first author. Our hardware limitations and software debugging hindered us from publishing earlier, but my EMPOWER work has taken us that much closer to being approved by a computational biology journal." (written April 2022)
  • Devon Hood, San Diego State University:
    • "EMPOWER has allowed me to utilize powerful hardware to greatly improve the computation speed of my models which has directly aided in my ability to quickly iterate through experiments. It has also exposed me to a wonderful amount of resources, both with personnel and technical resources, which has improved my abilities as a successful computer scientist. EMPOWER has allowed me to focus more intently on my work which would have been difficult otherwise.  The resources EMPOWER offers is an opportunity to not only increase my productivity, but also my focus." (written April 2022)
  • Dorothy Najjuma Kamya, Swarthmore College:
    • "An important part of a career in research is understanding the work of others in your fields of interest, and the first part of my XSEDE project involved reading and understanding (at a high level at least) some research papers and related code, enough to edit it to run on XSEDE's servers. As an aspiring graduate student, I believe this has prepared me for engagement with others' research, an essential element of graduate school. EMPOWER introduced me to researchers working on very relevant cutting-edge work which I would not have been exposed to otherwise. Being able to make a contribution to a project that predicts the severity of COVID-19 strains without being a bioscientist was a significant achievement for me." (written April 2022)
  • Lisa Liang, University of Connecticut:
    • "Thank you so much for this amazing opportunity to learn about computational chemistry and participate in research on it as a first-year undergraduate. I am so lucky to have been able to be part of the XSEDE program this past academic year!" (written April 2022)
  • Abdullah Al Maruf, South Dakota State University:
    • "XSEDE EMPOWER has enabled me to pursue my passion in computational materials science research, where I was able to computationally design novel energy materials for solid-state electrolytes (SSE) and study/tune their properties (using DFT) for Li-ion batteries application. I also studied electrode materials for Li-ion batteries to optimize the condition for suppressing the dendrite growth (needle-like-structure) which is detrimental for such energy storage device performance. Finally, this research experience allowed me to start pursuing my graduate studies at Dartmouth College in computational geophysics in the upcoming Fall-2022 semester, where I aim to investigate magnetic properties of Fe-S based ancient earth and mars minerals, as well as hydrite formation at extreme conditions, which cannot be studied experimentally (with current technology). Participating in XSEDE EMPOWER has enabled me to gain valuable research experience utilizing XSEDE resources and mentorship (at my university). I gained hands-on experience in high performance computing and parallel programming, and learned to run and debug full scale simulation for research. I presented my research at the Sustainable Energy Materials and Device group at the Electrical Engineering Department of South Dakota State University, and plan to present it at upcoming ACS national conference in Fall. There's a manuscript currently in its final stage of preparation for submissions as well." (written April 2022)
  • Sudha Vaishnavi Nannur, Wayne State University:
  • Dayna Olson, Michigan State University:
    • "My participation in EMPOWER has catalyzed me falling in love with computational sciences. Without EMPOWER, I would not have had as much time or resources to continue exploring my interest in the Vermaas lab, where I was able to learn about molecular dynamics simulation and other forms of computational biology.  Since participation in the program, I have added a minor in Computational Mathematics, Science, and Engineering and plan to pursue this path in grad school. I have presented my work from this semester at my colleges undergraduate research symposium. We are in the process of writing up last semester's project, which I will be a co-author on." (written April 2022)
    • Presentation at 2022 Michigan State University Undergraduate Research and Arts Forum.
  • Maria Pantoja (EMPOWER mentor), Cal Poly Pomona:
    • "I was able to work with one student at UCSD on Distributed HyperParameter Optimization and based on this research, I did submit a visiting scholar proposal to Argonne National Lab that was accepted and I will start this July working there. I was able to work for a longer period of time with an undergraduate student to do research. I do work for a teaching institution with a very small master program so most of the time we need to do research with undergraduates. Undergraduates are very busy with school work and smaller stuff , so what xsede allowed me to do is to work with a student that is supported by this grant (so doesn't need to look for extra work) and did also allow a continuity. Plus Xsede Empower did the main job of searching for students interested and super motivated in HPC."
  • Tyler Prine, University of Alabama:
    • "I have submitted my first conference abstract on the topic of the fully compressible Rayleigh-Taylor Instability to the International Workshop on the Physics of Compressible Turbulent Mixing (IWPCTM). The workshop will be held in Atlanta, Georgia in July 2022." (written April 2022)
  • Ciara Richardson and Madison Winkeler, Murray State University:
  • Briana Sobecks, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign:
    • "Participating in EMPOWER helped me discover a passion for computational research, specifically for applications in chemical engineering and biophysics. As I have gone through my undergraduate career, I continue using the computational skills I developed during my time in EMPOWER. This experience inspired me to pursue a doctoral degree in chemical engineering." (written April 2022)
    • Sobecks, B., Chen, J., & Shukla, D. (2022). Dual Role of Strigolactone Receptor Signaling Partner in Inhibiting Substrate Hydrolysis. Journal of Physical Chemistry B, 126(11), 2188–2195. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.jpcb.1c10663
  • Wenhuan Tan, Bellevue College:

November 1 – January 31, 2022

  • Students attending the 2021 Sustainable Horizons Institute Sustainable Research Pathways Workshop:
    • Sudha Vaishnavi Nannur, Wayne State University
    • Wenhuan Tan, Bellevue College
  • Nicole Avila, California State Polytechnic University-Pomona:
    • Inorganic Chemistry Undergraduate Poster Presentation Award at the 2021 Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) National Diversity in STEM Conference.
    • "I completed and participated in the SACNAS conference using my XSEDE EMPOWER research. After I spent much time practicing presenting my research, I finally presented to two judges. I was able to answer questions about the science behind my project and even questions regarding the spectra I have generated. I am happy to announce that I won the Inorganic Chemistry award. I plan to present my XSEDE EMPOWER research with more judges at the SCCUR conference on November 20th. I have already begun writing a new outline considering questions I was asked at the SACNAS conference." (written November 2021)
  • Spencer Bryngelson (EMPOWER mentor), Georgia Institute of Technology:
    • "It has been invaluable to work with students at different universities and from different backgrounds. At the same time, the students are selected such that the pool is filled with folks interested in my research. This makes things very convenient for me, and seems like a smart way to link up students and researchers. Having extra students available and their ability to interact with the group has been valuable for everyone involved." (written January 2022)
  • Yingrong Chen, Emory Oxford College:
    • Presented research at the 2021 Southeastern Regional Meeting of American Chemical Society (SERMACS) (LinkedIn post), Georgia Undergraduate Research Conference, and Oxford Research Scholars Spring Symposium.
    • "I feel that computational tools can accelerate and open new perspectives for my scientific research, and I have decided to be a computational biochemist in the future. I have gotten to learn computational chemistry in a systematic way. This is a valuable opportunity since most colleges do not offer computational classes at the undergraduate level." (written January 2022)
  • Damien Cooper, University of Southern Mississippi:
    • "At the beginning of November, I presented research based on this project at the Southeastern Regional Meeting of the American Chemical Society (SERMACS) in Birmingham, AL." (written December 2021)
  • Luis Cueva Parra (EMPOWER mentor), University of North Georgia:
    • "My participation in the XSEDE EMPOWER program has impacted positively my academic career. My supervisor values this effort with our students, and it is reflected in my faculty evaluations. In addition, the Computer Science Department, which I am a faculty for, is recognized for these opportunities for the students. The XSEDE EMPOWER program provided the structure and financial support for students, who helped me to make progress in my research agenda. Without this support, it would be difficult to find students who devote time and effort to this extracurricular activity (learning HPC and contributing to a research project). Most students have a full schedule including part-time or full-time job that limit their availability. The support of XSEDE EMPOWER program is particularly important in non-research universities and predominantly teaching institutions with no Graduate programs." (written January 2022)
  • Sudha Vaishnavi Nannur, Wayne State University:
    • "I have learned a lot throughout this semester at XSEDE. I am quite grateful for this program because it has given me such an incredible foundation in my machine learning and data science journey. Thank you so much for letting me be a part of this." (written December 2021)
  • Tanya Nesterova, University of Delaware:
    • Ni, T., Zhu, Y., Yang, Z., Xu, C., Chaban, Y., Nesterova, T., Ning, J., Böcking, T., Parker, M.W., Monnie, C., Ahn, J., Perilla, J.R., & Zhang, P. (2021, November). Structure of native HIV-1 cores and their interactions with IP6 and CypA. Science Advances, 7(47). https://doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.abj5715
  • Bianca Ortega, Kean University:
    • "I have acquired such a generous amount of knowledge and skills in less than a year that I would not trade for anything. I am honored to be an intern for such an amazing program that has inspired me for the future." (written December 2021)
  • Ciara Richardson and Madison Winkeler, Murray State University:
  • Nitin Sukhija (EMPOWER mentor), Slippery Rock University:
    • "This project allowed me to further my research skills related to working in the data provenance, machine learning, cybersecurity, and high-performance computing areas. From the beginning of finding and reading academic papers, to how to develop and execute provenance workflows, how to utilize new tools such as Apache hop on HPC systems, and the overall provenance data framework, I have gained immense of experience in domain of cybersecurity and data lineage research field. Moreover, the research work has lead to collaboration with Lawrence Berkeley National Labs researchers and having diverse experience in multiple domains was extremely rewarding.  Furthermore, the research work has also resulted in a potential paper which might be presented at PEARC22 or other peer reviewed ACM or IEEE conference. This project also facilitated the students to collaborate and network with research scientists from different domains from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL)  which will aid in achieving student's goal of attending a high research graduate school in coming years. The participation in EMPOWER program enabled me and my student to work with scalable provenance data analysis tools on XSEDE systems which was not possible at my current institution due to scalabilty challenges." (written January 2022)
  • Wenhuan Tan, Bellevue College:
    • "EMPOWER gave me a chance to wake my dream and confidence up.  I never thought I could get connected with science before I joined EMPOWER. I realized my passion for research and curiosity for the truth behind data and phenomenons. I decide to continue pursuing further education after finishing the undergraduate program. EMPOWER enabled me to participate in a research project, which was beyond my expectations. From EMPOWER, I found my potential talent in data science and machine learning, which also enhanced my interest and confidence in the IT field. I joined the SPR workshop and submitted a poster and a proposal for the summer internship with the help of my mentor." (written January 2022)
  • Josh Vermaas (EMPOWER mentor), Michigan State University:
    • "The real power for the EMPOWER program has been in increasing accessibility of my computational research to new and emerging researchers. I'm a new assistant professor, with no grants but enough time to devote to meeting with a handful of undergraduates a few times a week to help them along in their first steps as computational scientists. Without the support the EMPOWER program provides, only the well-heeled students can access this tremendous undergraduate research experience, as they'd be doing the same work for college credit alone. Having the EMPOWER program offer this kind of hands on training democratizes the types of undergraduate researchers I can recruit. This means that my lab is bigger than it otherwise would be, and my postdocs have the opportunity to gain mentoring experience that a newly started lab would not be able to provide. Concretely, I think that the EMPOWER program has doubled the number of undergraduates working in the lab." (written January 2022)
  • Benjamin Walls, Northeastern University:
    • From Michael Cianfrocco, Benjamin's EMPOWER mentor from University of Michigan:
      • "The EMPOWER program has helped us make critical steps towards developing an open source web platform for cryo-EM software. Prior to EMPOWER, we had several approaches but were unclear as to the best approach. Our EMPOWER student Ben Walls helped us create a plan and execute key steps towards creating a Java-based web platform. He brought significant expertise in Node.js and React to show us that the future of our web platform should use these tools for an intuitive software platform. We could not have done this without Ben." (written January 2022)
  • Raquel Yupanqui, University of North Georgia:
    • Yupanqui, R. (2021, November). Developing and Implementing Machine Learning Models to Analyze EEG Data Using MNE Libraries. Poster presented at Georgia Undergraduate Research Conference (GURC) 2021. YouTube video

August 1 – October 31, 2021

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