Six years ago, like most sixteen-year-olds, I had no idea what I wanted to do for a living. I knew that I liked math and science, but outside of solving word problems, I had only a vague notion of what STEM looked like in the so-called “real world.” Then, in the summer of 2013, I attended the Summer Institute (SI) at the Ohio Supercomputer Center.
According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration, women make up less than one-quarter of those employed in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) occupations in the United States. Not only does this mean that women in STEM remain a disproportionate minority, but it also contributes to STEM field underemployment in the U.S., with not enough properly trained candidates to fill science and technology jobs.
Over the past five years, I have had the privilege of working with the Summer Institute program at the Ohio Supercomputer Center. Summer Institute, SI for short, is “a two-week residential program that gives gifted Ohio high school students project-based, hands-on learning,” and each year is a unique experience for both myself and the students who participate in this program.
This year, 2014, marks the 25th anniversary of OSC’s Summer Institute program for high school students. Since the Ohio Supercomputer Center grew from academic roots, it was only natural for the center’s founders to develop a program through which they could share with students the fascinating and empowering computational resources they’d assembled. It also was logical that they would create a pipeline to help educate and inspire future scientists and engineers.