Announcing the STEM-Trek Gap Fund!

Thanks to a recent Cray donation, STEM-Trek established a small gap fund to help students and professionals, and we will continue to raise more money for this purpose. Please tell others to give; donations are tax-deductible since STEM-Trek is a 501.c.3 public charity. The gap fund will first be used to support U.S. scholars who attend the Practice & Experience in Advanced Research Computing 2017 conference (PEARC) in New Orleans, Louisiana, July 9-13, 2017.

For PEARC17, apply by June 15, 2017.

What’s a gap grant?

Some students and professionals feel like they can’t take time off to attend technical conferences — even if their travel and/or wages are covered while they’re away — they’re simply spread too thin. Extra money would help bridge important financial gaps, and give them peace of mind.

Awards are confidential–we won’t publicize who or why the funds are needed. Each case, however, will help us shape the program for the future. Unique needs could become trends!

Following are examples of meritorious need that a gap grant could help with. Again, if you have a unique situation, please tell us about it:

  • Child and eldercare: According to the National Association of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies (NACCRRA), the average cost of center-based, licensed daycare for children in the United States is close to $12,000 per year; eldercare costs can be twice as much. A gap award would help with licensed caregiver fees–above what would normally be spent–so scholars can take time off from daily obligations knowing that loved ones are in good hands while they’re away from home.
  • Lost wages: In today’s economy, it’s not unusual for people to be over-employed; many hold two or more jobs, and some don’t have vacation benefits. A gap award would help replace lost wages.
  • Back-fill: Many colleges and universities operate “one deep” in tech and teaching roles, and employees are hesitant to take time away for fear conditions will deteriorate in their absence. A gap award might support a student to help grade papers, or other temp help while they’re away.
  • Other: There will be unique cases that merit individual consideration, and each will help us develop the program for the future.

Photo by Elizabeth Leake, STEM-Trek. Taken at the UrbanCCD meeting at UChicago, 2016.Who may apply for a gap grant this time?

Students whose submissions were accepted by the Practice & Experience in Advanced Research Computing (PEARC17) Student Program, and any XSEDE Campus Champion who attends PEARC17.

The eXtreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE) is supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation.  XSEDE Campus Champions help scientists and engineers make use of NSF resources and services. When students and tech facilitators are well trained, the research they support makes universities, states and governments more competitive!

How and when should they apply?

By June 15, 2017, applicants should submit a letter of interest to that describes the need. Attach a budget, pay stub or receipt from a licensed provider (an invoice describing future services also works–basically evidence that the applicant has expenses while attending the conference that normally wouldn’t be incurred).

Include a brief (300-word) pay-it-forward proposal that describes how the applicant intends to help others with what they learn at the conference, or how they could help STEM-Trek achieve its goals.

Thank you, Cray!

Applications will be reviewed by a STEM-Trek panel. Meritorious proposals will be ranked and notifications sent by July 1. Awards will be disbursed as a reimbursement following the conference, funded in ranked order; we will award as many as funds allow–again, we’re still fundraising.

Questions? Please write to



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