Expand diversity-tailored education and training opportunities

CISL lowers barriers for students and staff from underrepresented groups and underfunded states through participation at diversity-oriented conferences, staffing a full-time Diversity Specialist, providing student travel support to attend training courses, workshops, and conferences, and offering diversity-focused internships and externships. Diversity outreach and engagement activities in the computational and data sciences are designed to foster strategic diversity-enhancing conversations and collaborations in mutually beneficial areas in general and at NCAR specifically.

In FY2016, NETS manager Marla Meehl served as Principal Investigator of the Women in IT Networking at SC (WINS) program, which funded five women to attend and participate in SCinet and SC15. Aimed at increasing diversity in the national network engineering field, the WINS program leverages the annual SCinet activity to help train and mentor women faculty and staff from institutions across the U.S. in the use of advanced technologies and the national scientific infrastructure. Meehl received a three-year grant to continue the WINS project, which has awarded eight women to attend and participate in SCinet at SC16, which will be held in early FY2017.

Women In Networking at SC
Marla Meehl and Jason Zurawski (on left) and Mary Hester (far right) were instrumental in making the WINS program possible. Here, they visit the new NCAR booth at SC15 with the five WINS recipients: (from left) Sana Bellamine, Kathy West, Amy Liebowitz, Debbie Fligor, and Megan Sorensen.

Marla Meehl is also the co-chair for the Internet2 Gender Diversity Initiative, which has been charged by Internet2 to create and implement a program that provides support for emerging information technology women professionals to attend Internet2 technical conferences, thereby supporting their entry into the information technology field and the Internet2 community.

CISL provided funding for 13 students to attend the UCAR Software Engineering Assembly (SEA) conference on 4-8 April 2016 that focused on data science. Selected students demonstrated engagement with data science and a desire to learn the skills being taught in the sessions. Funded attendees were from Minority Serving Institutions and received a full travel grant including airfare, hotel, meals, and conference registration. Three future SIParCS interns were among the awardees. MSIs represented included Florida International University, Claflin University, Grambling State University, and New Mexico State University. In addition to attending the conference, awardees attended a luncheon with NCAR and UCAR scientists to learn about careers at NCAR.

Diversity participants and CISL staff at SEA conference
Travel scholarship awardees had the opportunity to meet with several NCAR and UCAR scientists during lunch at the SEA Conference in April 2016.

NSF Core funds and grant funding support the SEA conference travel and WINS programs, respectively. The Internet2 Gender Diversity Initiative is funded by Internet2.