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14 Students Awarded SIGHPC/Intel Computational and Data Science Fellowships

sighpc_logoToday SIGHPC announced the first-ever recipients of the ACM SIGHPC/Intel Computational and Data Science Fellowship. The fellowship is funded by Intel and was announced at the high performance computing community’s SC conference in November of last year. Established to increase the diversity of students pursuing graduate degrees in data science and computational science, the fellowship is designed to help students from racial/ethnic backgrounds that have not traditionally participated in the computing field. The fellowship provides $15,000 annually for study anywhere in the world.

Investments such as this one are critical in creating long-term change in the demographics of the computing workforce,” explains Cherri Pancake, Vice President of ACM and professor and Intel Faculty Fellow in EECS at Oregon State University. “Efforts to raise awareness, to educate organizational leadership about the business case for diversity, and to raise interest among possible students are all necessary components of change, but they only take life with investment. We are incredibly grateful to Intel for their leadership, and to ACM for the commitment and dedication they’ve shown in making these fellowships a reality.”

Students were nominated by their graduate advisors. Nominees spanned 21 disciplines and represented large, mid-sized, and small institutions in 23 countries. 80% of nominees were female, and 20% were identified as an underrepresented racial or ethnic minority in their country of study. The nominations were evaluated and ranked by a panel of 18 experts (who were themselves diverse with respect to race, gender, discipline, and nationality) based on nominees’ overall potential for excellence in data science and/or computational science, and the extent to which they will help to increase diversity in the workplace.

Of the 14 students named as winners this year, twelve are women and four are underrepresented minorities in their country of study. They are pursuing MS and PhD degrees not just in computer science, but also in a variety of applied fields:

  • Courtney Armour, PhD candidate, Bioinformatics, Oregon State University
  • Michael Barrow, PhD candidate, Computer Science, University of California San Diego
  • Monica Chelliah, MS candidate, Scientific Computing, University of Cambridge
  • Dimah Dera, PhD candidate, Computational Biology and Bioinformatics, Rowan University
  • Cylita Guy, PhD candidate, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, University of Toronto
  • Samniqueka Halsey, PhD candidate, Ecology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Deborah Hanus, PhD candidate, Computer Science, Harvard University
  • Jaye Harada, PhD candidate, Materials Science & Engineering, Northwestern University
  • Irish Medina, MS candidate, Computer Science, University of Waterloo
  • Heather Peacock, PhD candidate, Geography, Western University
  • Tahiry Rajaonarison, PhD candidate, Geodesy and Tectonophysics, Virginia Polytechnic and State University
  • Meena Subramaniam, PhD candidate, Bioinformatics, University of California, San Francisco
  • Victoria Tolls, MS candidate, Biomedical Informatics, Queen’s University
  • Anna Wright, PhD candidate, Astrophysics, Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey

SC16Funding will be awarded in August. The winners will receive travel support to the SC16 conference in Salt Lake City, Utah (USA), where they will be recognized at an awards ceremony. They will also receive a complimentary membership in SIGHPC for the duration of their fellowship.

As an industry that values innovation and different perspectives, improving diversity in the HPC ecosystem will not only open up exciting careers to talented women and under-represented populations, but will also bring alternative perspectives to solve some of society’s greatest challenges,” said Hugo Saleh, director of marketing, High Performance Computing Platform Group at Intel Corporation. “Through this fellowship, ACM SIGHPC and Intel are building a stronger and more inclusive HPC community. We’re encouraged by the progress made so far and look forward to the impact that these new data and computational scientists will make on the HPC ecosystem.”

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