HPC Postdoc Ben Payne in Tanzania

HPC Postdoctoral Scholar Ben Payne in Tanzania, Africa

As a child, I wanted to pursue a college degree in a science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM) field. I also wanted to travel. Because my academic path was expensive, and veterans’ benefits include tuition, I eventually joined the U.S. Air National Guard and served two tours of duty.

The schools I attended lacked supercomputing expertise, so I quickly realized conferencing and travel would be necessary so that I could learn from experts. My career goals didn’t fully gel until I was in graduate school and was selected to attend the first EU-US HPC Summer School. From that moment, I knew that an HPC career was in my future. Now that I work as an HPC specialist, I see firsthand how quickly technology evolves. Continuing education and travel are crucial for all who work and study in STEM fields.

Photo of Ben Payne (center)

Ben Payne (Center) at the EU-US HPC Summer School in South Lake Tahoe, California.

Although I was fortunate to attend several events funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation, with so many federal budget cuts, I worry that future scholars won’t be as lucky. I hope their path to success will be made easier by STEM-Trek. By partnering with US and EU federally-funded programs to bridge gaps, they will also help scholars from under-represented groups and geographic regions who lack access and opportunity.

Read the full interview with Ben Payne.