Student Program

Student Program: Welcome Undergraduate and Graduate Scholars!

Apply for the ACM PEARC21 Student Program by Wednesday, June 30, 2021

The ACM PEARC21 virtual student program (SP) begins Sunday, July 18, 2021, one day ahead of the general conference. Following training and orientations on Sunday, students can then attend workshops, tutorials, panels, and more on Monday through Thursday. Among SP highlights are an introduction to CI for beginners, a résumé clinic, mentor-protégé pairing, exhibitor Q&A, charity gaming, internship spotlight, and more. It’s five full days of professional development designed to help students envision themselves in research computing and data science (RCD) careers with academia, industry and government.

Registration for this virtual conference is an excellent value at $50.00. The U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) has provided support for a limited number of applicants who are enrolled full-time at U.S. colleges and universities, plus spring 2021 graduates. Scholars who submit posters, papers or other sessions via the general conference call for participation, and all who reflect demographics that are under-represented in RCD academics and careers, will receive priority consideration. 

Students who don’t think they will qualify for NSF support should ask their supervisor or academic adviser if their institution has a budget for training. If they do, it’s likely that they will support students who are actively engaged with research, or that work with research computing. 

Applications will be accepted until 10:00 a.m. Pacific time on Wednesday, June 30, 2021. ents who are


After a welcome and brief orientation to the conference, Eric Shook (University of Minnesota) will present, “Hour of CI,” which is a selection of hour-long, self-paced lessons created by cyberinfrastructure (CI) experts from across the federation, and financially supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation. After Dr. Shook, we will learn about high throughput computing and the Open Science Grid (OSG) from Lauren Michael (U-Wisconsin at Madison).

photo of Eric Shook U-MinnesotaEric Shook is an Associate Professor in the Department of Geography, Environment, and Society at the University of Minnesota and the Domain Champion for GIS for the NSF-supported Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE). His research is focused on geospatial computing, which is situated at the intersection of geographic information science and computational science, with particular emphasis in the areas of cyberGIS, data-intensive spatio-temporal analytics and modeling, and spatially-explicit domain-specific languages. He is the lead for the Hour of Cyberinfrastructure project focused on helping learners build cyber literacy for GIScience (

Hour of CI with Eric Shook (U-Minnesota):

The Hour of CI project is a nationwide campaign introducing hundreds of diverse undergraduate and graduate students to cyberinfrastructure. Modeled on the “Hour of Code,” the Hour of CI project is building a sustainable learning community and scalable training environment to train learners at institutions ranging from R1 universities to two-year teaching colleges. The project is developing 17 interactive, online lessons for students and creating supplementary curriculum materials for instructors.  Hour of CI lessons expose learners to cyberinfrastructure, establish conceptual foundations, and build a core set of skills to help them achieve Cyber Literacy for Geographic Information Science, which requires learners to be knowledgeable in eight core areas: cyberinfrastructure, parallel computing, big data, computational thinking, interdisciplinary communication, spatial thinking, geospatial data, and spatial modeling and analytics. The project lowers the barrier to entry for educators and students by building on a science gateway called the GISandbox to provide a cyberinfrastructure-enabled training environment accessible through a web browser for all Hour of CI lessons. See more information at

Lauren Michael has worked for eight years as a Research Computing Facilitator at Center for High Throughput Computing at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and leads Research Facilitation at UW-Madison and for the Open Science Grid. She serves as co-PI and lead of Facilitation Services for the NSF’s new Partnership to Advance Throughput Computing (NSF #2030508). Lauren is also the founding co-Coordinator of the CaRCC People Network for professionals in research computing and data, serves as co-Chair of the Logistics group and co-PI for the CaRCC project (NSF #1620695), and previously served as lead ACI-REF and co-PI on the ACI-REF project (#1341935).
Open Science Grid, High Throughput Computing and more with Lauren Michael (U-Wisconsin at Madison):

The Open Science Grid (OSG) is a consortium of researchers and research computing providers, aligned around the common vision to advance research through distributed high-throughput computing (dHTC) capabilities. In addition to developing technologies that large collaborations use for their own pools of distributed capacity, the OSG core team supports the Open Science Pool, a virtual cluster of capacity from more than 100 institutions available for open science. In the last year, researchers used more than 360 million core hours of computing via the Open Science Pool, where individual users have accessed up to thousands of concurrent cores and up to millions of annual core hours. Researchers with computations executable as numerous independent tasks can use this capacity from access points at their campus or via the OSG-operated OSG Connect service for US-based researchers. Features and capabilities include easy expression and management of large numbers of compute jobs, support for large datasets and various software, and an obligate initial meeting with an OSG Research Computing Facilitator when requesting an OSG Connect account. Those interested in learning more about the OSG are encouraged to view the OSG User Documentation, materials on YouTube and from the latest OSG User School (virtual in 2020), and to request an account on OSG Connect. The OSG team also provides services for campuses to share their local computing or data resources, and for supporting their own research community to use the Open Science Pool.

In the afternoon, students who have completed internships will share highlights about their experiences. Internship sponsors and PEARC21 exhibitors are welcome to attend; anyone who can’t make it on Sunday can still catch the Exhibitor Q&A on Tuesday. After lunch, students who requested a mentor will meet theirs for the first time, and all can participate in a speed networking exercise!

Mentoring Program: A PEARC student program favorite, the mentoring program is designed to groom the next generation of science and technology leaders. Students who choose to participate are introduced to experienced RCD professionals, and the relationship is encouraged to continue after the conference concludes. The mentors’ primary role is to help students reach career goals; much is learned through testimony as the mentor describes their personal career ‘arc.’ Mentoring can take many forms; for example, mentors may help protégés prepare an internship or grad school application, acquaint them with useful professional development resources, and/or expand their professional networks through introductions to new colleagues in their field of interest. Mentors facilitate learning while protégés reflect on personal challenges and accomplishments.


7:30-8:00 a.m. PST Morning and Evening Check-in Meeting (after conference concludes)

Student program committee members will be available to answer student questions, collect feedback, and record lessons learned. All who participate in the PEARC21 student program are required to attend these brief sessions.

Student program sessions are not scheduled on Monday so that all can take advantage of workshops and tutorials. Registering as early as possible is recommended. Anyone new to research computing will be comfortable participating in sessions that are marked appropriate for beginners.  Education and outreach programs will appeal to grads and postdoctoral scholars who have teaching obligations. 


7:30-8:00 a.m. PST: Morning and Evening Check-in Meeting (after conference concludes)

Student program committee members will be available to answer student questions, collect feedback, and record lessons learned. All who participate in the PEARC21 student program are required to attend these brief sessions.

4:00-5:00 p.m. PST: Exhibitor Q&A

Time TBD: PITCH IT Workshop (optional; limited seating)

Students who select to attend this program can fine-tune their elevator pitch with the help of student program committee members. An elevator pitch is a quick synopsis of someone’s background and experience. The reason it’s called an elevator pitch is that it should be short enough to present during a brief elevator ride. This speech is all about you: who you are, what you do, and what you want to do (if job hunting or pitching an idea). It’s useful at job fairs, networking events, mixers, poster presentations, conferences, and more! It is also a great way to introduce yourself to hiring managers. During this workshop, you will have the opportunity to craft a unique elevator pitch and “PITCH IT” to committee members and invited guests. 


7:30-8:00 a.m. Morning and Evening Check-in Meeting (after conference concludes)

Student program committee members will be available to answer student questions, collect feedback, and record lessons learned. All who participate in the PEARC21 student program are required to attend these brief sessions.

12:30-2:30 p.m. PST: Student Posters

Time TBD: Résumé Clinic

Are you preparing your application for graduate school, an internship program, or perhaps a full-time position? Would you like to have your résumé critiqued by a professional in the field? If so, you’ll enjoy our résumé clinic which will take place on Wednesday, 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. PST. Thirty-minute time slots will be available on a  first-come, first served basis. Be sure to upload your résumé when registering; failure to do so could jeopardize your place in the queue if this activity is popular. Additional instructions will be sent to anyone who selects to participate when registering. 


Social Networking/Gaming



7:30-8:00 a.m. PST: Morning Check-in Meeting

Student program committee members will be available to answer student questions, collect feedback, and record lessons learned. All who participate in the PEARC21 student program are required to attend these brief sessions.

Wrap-up Meeting following the conference general sessions!

What is a virtual conference experience like? Ask Ana and Alexa!

A person smiling for the camera Description automatically generated“I was excited to attend the PEARC20 conference for the first time in 2020. Even in a virtual mode, the week was intense – almost as if I had attended in person,” said Ana Luisa Veroneze Solorzano (Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, left). For a day-by-day, first-hand account of PEARC20’s student program, read Ana’s blog on the STEM-Trek website.

PEARC20 Student Organizer Alexa Salsbury (Virginia Tech, right), when interviewed by Science Node, recognized that the virtual format may appeal to a broader range of personalities. She explained that most who attend PEARC have some computational skills, but the virtual format is especially comfortable for the more introverted conference-goers who may find that engaging others via instant message is easier than approaching them in person. PEARC uses a wide range of communication tools, including the toolkit within the conference platform, back-channel Slack, and Discord.

Watch this page for updates as they are announced, including the student program call for participation and submission deadlines.

Student Program Leadership

PEARC21 Student Program Co-Chairs: 

Elizabeth Leake (University of Iowa)
Alana Romanella (Virginia Tech)

Student Program Committee: 

Alper Kinaci (Northwestern University; Mentor-Protégé Chair); Mandy Terrill (Oregon Health & Science University; ExtraLife Chair); Ashley Barker (Oak Ridge National Laboratory; Résumé Clinic/PITCH-IT Workshop Chair); and Ron Payne (NCSA Program Manager, Project Management  Coordination Office; Exhibitor Q&A Chair). 

Training Subcommittee: 

Sai Ramadugu (University of Iowa); Bryan Johnston (Centre for HPC South Africa); David Macleod (Centre for HPC South Africa); Linda Hayden (Elizabeth City State University; SGCI; Hackathon); Veronica Vergara Larrea (Oak Ridge National Laboratory); Je’aime Powell (Texas Advanced Computing Center; SGCI; Hackathon); and Eric Shook (University of Minnesota; Hour of CI)


If you have questions, or require more information, please contact:

image from PEARC20