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.
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.