Relationships can be formed in virtual spaces, or through face-to-face engagement. A combination of the two reinforces a lasting bond among STEM scholars that will yield future interdisciplinary and multinational research collaborations.
At the 2011 US-EU HPC Summer School, each of the 60 participants from 20 countries were provided a sheet of color-coded stickers (different colors represented various research arenas). The object of the activity was to gather as many stickers as possible, and to remember something unique about the person each sticker represented (in addition to their field of study). Adam Sullivan (UTennessee-US) won the competition when he was able to recall something unique about 17 people (from ten countries and five research domains). His prize was a donated fleece jacket, but the relationships he made, and continues to foster on FaceBook and LinkedIn, are his true reward.
STEM-Trek’s Knowledge Network
STEM-Trek’s knowledge network is a multidisciplinary, global community of performance technology enthusiasts that grew from the social media channels of its founder and advisory board. It is a grassroots community without borders and all STEM scholars, graduate level and beyond, are welcome to join regardless of institution, research domain, geographic region, or country.
The knowledge network is the perfect arena from which to identify like-minded individuals for research collaborations. By leveraging geographic information, STEM-Trek can identify prospective volunteers (ambassadors) to help with nearby events, and determine the best location to hold meetings so that the majority of stakeholders have fewer miles to travel. Geographic attributes are also helpful when pairing mentors with scholars who would benefit from face-to-face interaction.
For more information about mentoring, visit the STEM-Trek Mentoring page.
A practical application for STEM-Trek’s Knowledge Network
Doctoral Researcher Anne Meade (The Irish Software Engineering Research Centre) attended the 2011 EU-US High Performance Computing (HPC) Summer School. Since then, she has kept in touch with many of the 60 attendees from 20 countries. Recently, her lab conducted a survey of HPC experts. Meade sought help from STEM-Trek’s robust knowledge network to solicit input from the HPC arena. Their feedback added value to the survey that will be useful to the entire global HPC community which she has agreed to share with STEM-Trek.