NWSC education and outreach

Students learn NWSC facility design
Students explore the inner workings of the NWSC and its systems through an interactive display in the visitor center. The material covers electrical, cooling, and networking systems that enable the supercomputer to run and support NCAR’s science mission. Students gain important hands-on exposure to multiple facets of science and technology through the exhibits at the NWSC.

The Wyoming-NCAR partnership’s NWSC education and outreach strategic goals are derived from an understanding of the national and regional challenges of STEM education and are designed to leverage the unique strengths of the founding NWSC partners. NWSC’s high-level strategic EOT goals are to:

  • Integrate university research with K-16 education.

  • Build cyberinfrastructure and computational science capacity in Wyoming, regional EPSCoR states, and Front Range institutions.

  • Train the next generation of computational scientists.

  • Complement and enhance programs at community colleges to prepare students for careers in related technical fields.

  • Broaden participation by enhancing the capabilities of community colleges to train students in technical fields that better prepare them for careers in HPC-related technical fields.

  • Broaden diversity by engaging minority-serving institutions, particularly regional tribal colleges and historically black colleges and universities.

  • Build strong foundations and foster innovation to improve K-12 computational thinking, mathematics, and computational geosciences.

  • Engage and inform the public about NWSC science through informal education.

In FY2015, CISL’s Outreach Services Group collaborated with the University of Wyoming and UCAR’s Center for Science Education (SciEd) to materially advance each of these goals. For example, CISL’s Outreach Services Group supported K-12 STEM enrichment by participating in the Wyoming State Science Fair for the fifth consecutive year. This summer, as part of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Douglas, Wyoming’s “Brain Gain” summer activities, nearly 70 members participated in hands-on activities to learn about extreme weather and related topics at the NWSC. In the past year, the NWSC has hosted over 30 school groups and nearly 400 other groups, including adult professional organizations, military, and industry groups, and received a total of over 7,000 visitors since opening in 2012. In FY2015, the NWSC has hosted 28 school groups, 32 adult professional organizations, and a total of 1,736 visitors.

CISL’s contributions to the Wyoming-NCAR partnership’s NWSC education and outreach strategic goals are supported by NSF Core funding.