National Nuclear Security Administration

Summer computational modeling workshop enriches minority students’ education

September 10, 2018

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Students from Prairie View A&M University and Tennessee State University discuss the group project.
Students from Prairie View A&M University and Tennessee State University discuss the group project.
Dr. Neil Henson from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory talks to Prairie View A&M University senior Chibuzo Isikwe about career paths.
Dr. Neil Henson from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory talks to Prairie View A&M University senior Chibuzo Isikwe about career paths.

Earlier this summer, students from Prairie View A&M University and Tennessee State University spent two weeks exploring the digital world while learning from National Laboratory scientists.   

Both Universities are historically black institutions equipping students with the skills and knowledge necessary for a successful career.

The training included the fifth annual computational modeling workshop. This event is funded through the NNSA’s Minority Serving Institution Partnership Program (MSIPP).

The 29 undergraduates in the workshop are part of the Consortium for Materials and Energy Security—which aims to enhance national security while preparing the next generation of science, technology, engineering, and math experts.

Dr. Lizhi Ouyang, a physics professor from Tennessee State University gives a lecture to the computational workshop participants.
Dr. Lizhi Ouyang, a physics professor from Tennessee State University gives a lecture to the computational workshop participants.

A mixture of lectures, hands-on activities and group projects rounded out their experience. Students were introduced to topics like high performance computing, while delving into VASP (Vienna Ab initio Simulation Package), a computer program for atomic scale materials modelling, and Linux, an open-source software operating system.

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory summer intern Ali Rafique says she has benefitted greatly from the MSIPP program and her participation in the consortium.

“Starting with the summer modeling workshop, I have enhanced my skills in the computational chemistry field, been able to significantly further my works in the research field, and have been presented with many opportunities to grow and establish myself in the world of academia,” said Rafique, a biology major and chemistry minor, who expects to graduate this May.

“This was a great experience for me, as I got to contribute significantly to a project as well as build and enhance my professional network along the way.”

Final presentation winners, from left: Alvin Ibeabuchi, Huajun Fan, Adedapo Adetayo, Ali Rafique, Iyanuloluwa Olalumade, Joelle Tshikuta, and Prevailer Mba.
Final presentation winners, from left: Alvin Ibeabuchi, Huajun Fan, Adedapo Adetayo, Ali Rafique, Iyanuloluwa Olalumade, Joelle Tshikuta, and Prevailer Mba.