twenty hikers from EU-US HPC Summer School (Ben Payne fourth from left)

The infinite satisfaction of giving

infinity sign graphicSTEM-Trek beneficiaries are encouraged to pay-it-forward. Once funded, the debt weighs heavily on their mind until it’s satisfied. It doesn’t have to be repaid immediately—most early-career scholars are extremely busy. However, the opportunity will present itself at some point, and the debtor will find great satisfaction when the score is settled. In fact, it’s so gratifying, that philanthropy and volunteerism could become second nature to them. Many will become lifelong givers and helpers of others and good fortune will return to them time and again. That’s why our icon is an infinity sign.

Of course, it’s not necessary to be a STEM-Trek beneficiary to give. Even for the most successful professionals, the best cure for a bad day is to improve someone else’s day. The transaction can happen anonymously through STEM-Trek, if anonymity is important. STEM-Trek has many silent partners.


  1. Develop a tool or resource that can be used by STEM-Trek and other NGO’s that have similar objectives (professional networking, employment services, educational opportunities, mentoring, etc.). Our first beneficiary, Wa Yuan, developed Scitivate.
  2. Design technology (hardware or interfaces) that will help the emerging workforce that must deal with disability. Assistive technology helps people with disabilities compete in the workforce. Keep STEM-Trek’s focus groups in mind, which include veterans, baby-boomers who can’t afford to retire, and STEM scholars from underrepresented groups and regions.
  3. Volunteer to mentor a less advanced scholar at a conference, or in the region where you live or work.
  4. Visit unemployment or veterans’ resource centers–ask how someone with good technical skills can volunteer to help others. What do they need? If you identify a need, tell us so we can tell others.
  5. Seek opportunities to present on a computational science topic at a local school’s STEM fair. Hone your presentation skills so the content makes sense to the audience. It sounds like a basic concept, but it’s a challenge for most high-level STEM professionals. If our message doesn’t resonate with the audience, it won’t be relevant (or funded).
  6. The next time a homeless person asks for money, offer to buy them lunch or give them yours in exchange for their story. If there’s a relevant theme (aging workforce, veteran, person with disability, or STEM background) get permission to share their story with STEM-Trek.
  7. Interview a senior who is working well past the traditional retirement age. Share their photos and pearls of wisdom in a STEM-Trek blog post (with their permission, of course).
  8. Once employed fulltime, become a mentor or extend internships for emerging scholars and advertise them to STEM-Trek’s social communities.
  9. Design STEM education content that STEM-Trek and its affiliates can use for free.
  10. When you begin working, if you travel often, save and donate points so another scholar can attend a conference for free.
  11. When you serve on a conference committee, advocate on behalf of free registration and room-sharing for STEM-Trek scholars.
  12. Propose a unique way to satisfy the debt. Everyone has different skills and interests and should feel comfortable thinking of new ways to serve the STEM-Trek community.
  13. Donate cash, or ask the company you work for to sponsor STEM-Trek. Join the ranks of STEM-Trek friends, donors and others who know–their generosity has inspired others to give.
  14.  Ask STEM-Trek how you can help. Be there when we post stuff—share your ideas!


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    • Stem Trek

      Thank you for your kind words. Please tell your colleagues about STEM-Trek and look for us on FaceBook and LinkedIn. Kindest regards, Elizabeth Leake

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