No matter where you are in your career, there is a way that you can participate in STEM-Trek — you ARE STEM-Trek!

STEM-Trekker (beneficiary)

STEM-Trekkers are graduate or postdoctoral scholars who have submitted meritorious proposals (see Opportunities). Scholars may request  support for travel, tuition waiver, conference fee waiver, mentoring experience, internships, cultural exchange, or other opportunity–as long as it falls within the scope of STEM-Trek’s mission. For example, someone might want to job-shadow an expert at a national lab for a week but they need to cover their part-time job while they are away. The cost for coverage can be included in the proposal. Perhaps the scholar seeks a mentor who has years of experience in a commercial role. STEM-Trek, and the knowledge network, make it happen.

Proposals must be submitted at least two months before the proposed activity according to the schedule on the STEM-Trek Opportunities page. If a proposal isn’t supported in the next cycle, it may be retained for future consideration. This is a grassroots approach to the traditional solicitation process, and one that will most likely evolve with time.

Photo of Filippo Spiga (ICHEC) and Jiayuan Meng (Argonne)Filippo Spiga (left) visiting Italian scholar (Irish Center for High-End Computing) met STEM-Trek Adviser, Jiayuan Meng (Argonne National Laboratory-US) to discuss GPU-accelerated architectures. The next day, Spiga visited with GPU experts at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (about two hours south) and saw NCSA’s Blue Waters supercomputer. 


STEM-Trekkers Pay it Forward–Volunteer!

“No one cares what you know, unless they know that you care.” – Unknown

Beneficiaries of STEM-Trek’s education and travel awards, or STEM-Trekkers, are encouraged to ‘pay it forward’ by volunteering to serve as technology evangelists in their home communities. By helping others, they will learn how people of all ages and varying levels of aptitude and ability use technology in the workplace. While they are at it, they have an opportunity to help job-seekers understand how research innovation impacts their lives. Most importantly, the exchange will inspire STEM-Trekkers to be more considerate of the needs of those who will benefit from future research innovation.

STEM-Trekkers, STEM-Trek subscribers, and STEM-Trek’s advisory board agree to promote STEM-Trek through their social networks by sharing news and ‘liking’ the FaceBook, LinkedIn, and STEM-Trek’s web site. Each of these tools will feed the STEM-Trek knowledge network, and the knowledge network is the glue that binds them. STEM-Trekkers share front-line challenges with others who have registered, or subscribed, to participate in the knowledge network.

Once STEM-Trekkers have completed a journey, they are asked to provide a brief photo-essay about their experience and are encouraged to participate in online symposiums where they share what they have learned with others. They may also be asked to promote STEM-Trek at professional conferences and meetings.

The burden of proof of their volunteerism is placed on the beneficiary. They must arrange a related volunteer activity, to be verified by someone who works for an existing facility (that person offers a letter of recommendation in support of their initial proposal). Some may neglect the pay-back, but others may become so engaged that they exceed all expectations. In the end, the collective social conscience is improved, which benefits many levels of society.

Volunteerism can addictive, but in a jobless culture, those who are working put in such long hours that they may not have the opportunity or luxury to volunteer. STEM-Trek offers credit for the activity and illuminates the value to society.


Mentor/Mentee relationships will be identified from members of STEM-Trek’s social networks. If you would like to find a mentor in the performance technology arena, contact (include the word MENTOR in the subject line).

Advisory Board

STEM-Trek’s diverse advisory board includes 12-15 members. According to STEM-Trek’s bylaws (section 3.1 General Powers), the management and control of the affairs of the Corporation are vested in its board. Members are not employees or otherwise compensated for their duties except for out-of-pocket expenses as determined by the Board. Advisers must be at least 18 years of age and are experienced in areas such as technology, vocational training, military science, data management, communication, dissemination, labor relations, labor law, disability support, event management, or STEM research. Advisers serve three-year terms. If you would like to serve on STEM-Trek’s advisory board, contact (include the word ADVISER in the subject line).


Individuals or organizations may contribute points, cash, or merchandise that would be useful to STEM-Trek beneficiaries. Donations, or the value of the donation, will be tax-deductible in the US once STEM-Trek’s nonprofit status is granted by the US federal government. Visit the donation page.


To minimize travel costs, STEM-Trek’s social and knowledge networks will be leveraged to seek Ambassadors (volunteers) from regions served by STEM-Trek outreach. Volunteers, or Ambassadors, will represent the organization at conferences, workshops, meetings, etc. They will inform others about STEM-Trek, in an effort to extend its global impact. Ambassadors may also be Advisers, Donors, Beneficiaries, and members of STEM-Trek’s social or knowledge networks. STEM-Trek will inform members of their social network when ambassadors are needed in a specific region.

Knowledge Networks

STEM-Trek has a combined presence on FaceBook and LinkedIn of ~900  global STEM enthusiasts. Open interaction and dialogue is encouraged via the social networks.

COMING: Registered knowledge network. When people register for participation in the Knowledge Network, they will be asked to complete a survey about their home institution, location, experience, skills, interests, and hobbies.  Once registered, they will be required to login to  a separate space where anonymity will prevent their skills from being exploited by other participants. STEM-Trek will use the information to suggest mentoring relationships, targeted training and travel opportunities, job opportunities, and more.

How it will work…

Members of the community are invited to register for a free (donations graciously accepted) annual subscription which provides many benefits, including STEM-Trek online symposiums, the opportunity to apply for travel scholarships, and more.

A standing solicitation for proposals allows registrants to apply for scholarships that accommodate their specific needs, access whitepapers that have been written by participants, and attend online symposiums. For more information, visit the opportunities page.

Who may apply, what does it cost, and how are STEM-Trekkers chosen?

All members of the STEM research community who hope to leverage performance technologies for their research are encouraged to participate. Participation is free, but cash donations are accepted and encouraged via STEM-Trek’s PayPal portal.

Proposals are reviewed on a quarterly basis by STEM-Trek’s multinational advisory board (12-15) or their delegates.

What and where can I donate?

STEM-Trek will accept tax-deductible* donations of cash via STEM-Trek’s PayPal donation portal. You may also donate spare airline and hotel points, and merchandise that can be raffled to generate funds. Contact for more information.

How is it funded?

STEM-Trek is funded by tax-deductible* donations, grants, and fundraising efforts.

Since STEM-Trek illuminates gaps that exist in federally-funded initiatives, specifically travel and conferencing for STEM researchers, and vocational technology training for job-seekers, it will not directly compete for federal funds. STEM-Trek will, however, collaborate with federally-funded organizations on proposals that are in the best interest of all stakeholders.

When will STEM-Trek begin?

STEM-Trek took steps to form a nonprofit organization (US Federal 503.c.3 status pending) in March of 2012. The advisory board was completed in July, 2012 and a global FaceBook community was formed. A fundraising effort is scheduled to be launched Q4 2012. For more information, visit the Opportunities page.



*Donations will be tax-deductible (where applicable) once STEM-Trek’s US Federal Nonprofit Organization designation is approved.